Why Startups Need Money… or Not

Fundraising lessons from an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at MIT’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Club

josh forman

MIT Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Josh Forman, leads an early-stage financing session with the top ten finalists of MIT’s E&I Club Silicon Valley Pitch Contest. The SV Pitch Trek launches this Sunday, October 12th. Pitchers meet in Palo Alto and will spend the next two days pitching their ideas to seven of the top Venture Capital firms.

josh forman 2Josh’s advice on startup fundraising comes from extensive experience in early stage financing. As the co-founder of Inkling, Josh raised $55M over six rounds of investing.

Josh led the session today by explaining the potential sources of capital and the pros and cons of each source. “Exude optimism and inevitability. Know more about your customer and the market than the VC does.”

Pitchers listened attentively as Josh spoke about what to focus on and what to avoid when speaking to Venture Capitalists. “Why are you raising money? Set an appropriate milestone that is ambitious but realistic.”

Forman believes that raising capital can legitimize a company and add value if done in the right way for the right reasons. Fundraising can support specific strategies, such as land-grabs (like Uber), vertical integration and heavy R&D investment for biotech startups.

The Entrepreneurship & Innovation Club’s annual VC Pitch Contest is enhanced every year from the contributions of generous entrepreneurs like Josh Forman, and the numerous mentors who have volunteered their time to meet with these student pitchers.

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