Allan Isfan is a co-founder of FaveQuest, a young start-up. This blog covers start-up topics.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

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prep for founders and funders


Fellow Founders and Funders,

The Founders and Funders Ottawa event is entirely sold out! I'm so glad! Many thanks for James Smith (LaBarge Weinstein), Tim Hember (thinkRF, The Ottawa Network) and Ian Graham (CodeFactory) and a long list of sponsors (LaBarge Weinstein, Ramius, Acorn Partners, Verdexus, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Royal Bank). We took a real chance initially when we pulled the trigger on this, made it official and started taking registrations. There was always a fear that we'd get 20 people coming out and have them all be founders. A great night I'm sure but not exactly what I was looking for. So now to final preparations. If you're not registered already, I'm afraid it is too late.

I've written this blog to help entrepreneurs prepare for the event as it could change your life. Really. Rarely are so many investors and fellow founders together in one place ready to listen to YOU. Don't forget that each one of these individuals is likely very well connected to other investors, customers and partners so your personal network could literally explode in a significant way. You'll also have a few us floating around working hard to help you make connections. It is now up to you to make the best of this event so here are my ten pieces of advice for what its worth:

1) Be punctual: the event starts at 6pm and dinner is at 7pm.

The one hour before the dinner will be the best portion of the evening for working the room so don't be late.

2) Have your elevator pitch nailed solid

If you don't have it down to less than 30 seconds, then I suggest you get practicing with your wife, your dog, the mirror and get people to give you honest feedback.

Here is mine for what it's worth:
FaveQuest is a young start-up that has created a social video platform to help media companies reach out to people in social networks like Facebook and MySpace. We take content they already have access to and make it available through special video portals integrated into the social networks of their choice. The viewers get access to great content but more importantly, they get to create their own channels based on their interests and share videos and channels with their friends. We're launching with a major media company at the end of the year and have several more major ones in the pipeline.

Investors reading this, feel free to provide advice on the elevator pitch above and in general (I'm now devoid of ego ... just want to make it better).

3) Bring decent business cards

In my opinion, the flimsy print at home ones suck. Some people may disagree but when I get a crappy biz card, it takes my opinion of the person down a notch. If you don't have a proper card, it isn't too late. Clean it up and get it printed in low volume at a local print shop. I use http://www.jiffyonline.com/ . They are a small shop in the west end (near Hazeldean & Eagleson) and have been absolutely fantastic to deal with. I send them a jpeg or pdf and they get stuff printed often the next day. I usually get about 30 cards printed at a time. Basically, there's no excuse for a crappy card.

4) Come prepared

You will be getting a list of all attendees and should do some research on each and every investor in attendance. If you want to get a BRIEF note to one of them ahead of time, feel free to do so directly or through me. It is much better to come to the meeting with a well planned mission and if they know your name ahead of time, even better.

Note: the list you'll be receiving is private and for your use only. Please do not publish it or email it to others. I will hunt you down if you do.

5) don't get drunk, at least not until much later in the night when you're by yourself

The open bar at a similar event I went a while back got a bit abused and wasn't good for anyone. For that reason (and the budget), I decided to not have an wide open bar. You'll be getting two drink tickets for the bar and wine with dinner.

I hope the evening works out for you and that you make the connections you hope to make. If there is anything I can do, please let me know.

Lastly, if you agree, disagree or want to add to this blog, please fee free to leave a comment.

Cheers,

Allan Isfan

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