It was a phenomenal closing to a glorious Indo German Startup Week 2021 with Investor Day on 24 September. After 4 days of talking about ideas, policies, people, and technology, we lastly touched on funding and investment– something that can make or break your startup dream. Here are some quick takeaways of the day :
Opening, Welcome address, and Keynote
Padmaja Ruparel, Co-Founder, IAN (Indian Angel Network), a key player in the Indian and Asian Startup ecosystem, encouraged German investors, entrepreneurs, corporates to leverage the immense potential in India and invest across sectors in the country. She hopes to see a new India and new Germany as a result of the collaborations happening at GINSEP.
German Investment Fund Pitches
After pitching their funds, the panel discussed emerging opportunities for investors in Germany and India.
- Parul Madan, Founder & CEO of, DueDash introduced the audience to the VC & PE firm which started off as a project launched soon after GINSEP 2020. It is a data-driven tool for investors that helps founders and investors with the due diligence process and helps to identify and mitigate issues before they become irreversible.
- Anne Geuther, Head of Investor Relations, Project A highlighted how the leading VC is an early stage operational fund that is sector agnostic. The firm has a focus beyond capital and can support Startups in Europe with tech. The company also has vast experience in the tech-based business model through its synergistic platform.
- Miguel Encarnacion, Managing Partner, Unifier Ventures is an early-stage cross-border VC tech specialist fund that focuses on internationalization. They play in the corridor of Europe and Southeast Asia to bring deep-tech investment in Asia.
- Dorte Hirschberg, General Partner, Climentum Capital a climate-based VC which aims to prevent climate change through driving investment. They mainly focus on later-stage Startups who have working solutions, first customers and support them to scale up.
Investment Hiccups: Stories of mismatched investments
This session focused on the interpersonal and intercultural issues that occur in cross-border investments. It was a lively discussion that gave us an opportunity to learn from the experiences of seasoned founders.
- Ashish Airon, Co-Founder, CogniTensor relayed his experience of pitching to over 30-40 investors and the mistakes he initially made in focusing heavily on the investor perspective rather than on his own vision and goal. It was a delicate balance to achieve but eventually, he took feedback from investors and stuck to his own ideas to become successful.
- Maria-Liisa Burckert, Co-founder, CCO, Sqin went into how she perfected her pitch for her mobile app that combines beauty and health. She urged founders to understand the audience you are pitching to and be astute in breaking down the context your investors are in. She also shared the challenges she faced during pitching because of gender bias.
- Deeksha Ahuja, Founder, Encubay & Founding Partner, Encubay Angel Network dove into the unconscious biases in the VC sector which lacks diversity despite the scientific evidence that diverse teams outperform binary teams. She shared some tips to urge VCs to bring women into the leadership level and across teams. ♀️🏹
Tips from the founders:
- Focus on the team and talent
- Research your investor
- Communicate your goal, theses, and numbers clearly to investors
- Be thorough in your details when pitching to German investors
- Be open to creating different storylines for your different audiences depending on the goal you want to achieve.
- Have a paid advisory board if possible which can attract funding
- Join an accelerator program if you can
- Do not get bogged down by very critical feedback and small failures
- Keep your team morale up as a leader
- Keep in mind gender bias
- Remember that as a founder your passion for the project may not be the same for everyone in your team and for funders
- Prioritize people and not tech because people take you through tough times
- Look at your investors as a doorway to connections more than just a funder
- Communicate with your investors frequently, openly, and transparently
- Maintain your investor relations by making them feel involved
- Manage expectations realistically
Workshop: The Art of Pitching to Investors
Vikas Kuthiala, Investor, IAN (Indian Angel Network) ran a workshop on how to articulate a winning pitch. He believes that pitching is an art that investors and founders both need to learn. The principles he outlined were relevant in cross-cultural situations because businesses everywhere must have an eye for the global market.
The Investor Day ended with a closed-door session for VCs for the kick-off of the GINSEP investor circle 2021.