What are some of the frequent mistakes that startups make in their first steps? What are the biggest challenges that startups usually face in their very first steps? How can startups in the Pre-Seed stage increase their chances of attracting investors’ interest? Investor Fabio Pozzi shares insights significance of startups, investment and also the pre-seed stage of chances to attract investors.
Tell us more about yourself
I am a Business Angel, a Startup Mentor and Advisor, I hold a Telecommunications Engineering degree and an Executive MBA. Today I am working as a digital innovator specialized in Product Management, Business Development, Finance and Marketing strategies. What I am trying to do is to create an impact investing in the younger generations and talents. I love networking and the world of investments and Venture Capital.
What do you usually want to see in a startup before you decide to look into it further?
I like those teams that try to monetize their idea immediately because it means that they are testing their business model on field from the very beginning. There are many startups that obtain their first customers fighting and communicating without having budget to invest in marketing strategies. If they manage to do that, although their metrics are still not consolidated, it means that they have an incredibly good starting point. It proves there is a market and people available to spend money for the proposed product or service. Traction is what I look for. I know that Cost of Acquisition and Lifetime Value are just estimations, which can be wrong for sure (or right in that specific moment and with those specific data) but it is important to start calculating them from the very beginning, even with just a few available data.
Which sections of the pitch deck do you pay more attention to?
Thank you for this question. I attended several pitches, mainly from startups that can be considered in an early stage. What do I look for? A solid Team, vertical in what they propose but with a financial vision. Storytelling regarding the idea is particularly important, but numbers and the first metrics must be solid. Moreover, I usually appreciate concrete financial proposals to the investors. This makes me feel that the startup team and I share the same point of view. There are some startups that managed to surprise me in this sense, which means that the startup movement in Italy is continuously growing.
How did you get into this investment sector?
Definitely participating to networking events. I started in 2016 and I never stopped. I accelerated the activities during these 3 years. Even if not in presence, during the COVID years I had the possibility to increase my network attending hundreds of online events, workshops and pitch day in Italy and abroad, only using my laptop and an internet connection. A huge opportunity to make business. Startup scouting is the best part of this beautiful and full of surprises job.
What is the most interesting aspect of your job?
You always know new persons, sectors, and industries. There is always something to learn regarding new markets. The Startup world is a contamination of skills, people of different background. You can learn something from anybody, I know startuppers and entrepreneurs of all ages. And all of them left something great in terms of hard and soft skills.
Is there a trend that you have observed in the recent years in terms of the direction the startups choose to take?
I like Fintech and all solutions related to finance applications, but I think AI will be an unstoppable trend and technology. We have just started using it appreciating its powerfulness and it is practically the very first version. Our world will change a lot in the next three years. And we must be ready studying and take advantage from this new trend.
Ηow can startups in the Pre-Seed stage increase their chances of attracting investors’ interest?
Transparency and networking are the key together with traction and Team completeness. Presentation skills are fundamental, and the deck must be always refined in the contents and the way to present that is always changing. The goal it to capture the most difficult and the most important users sentiment: attention.
Do you have any piece of advice for startups that are trying to navigate the current environment and present themselves?
Never give up, but always be lucid honest with you. If you test something and doesn’t work, do not be in love with your idea but try to change and pivot. The results will arrive. Never develop a full product without having testing it or without involving and onboarding your early adopters. They must give you answers with data and the data coming from users must be considered even we do not like them. Always present the obtained results and goals but never hide failures. They will help to improve. Business Angel and investors will appreciate that, believe me.
Connect with Fabio on LinkedIn.