We spoke to Medtech investor Christian Kumar of Capital Kinetics about what sparks his interest when considering startups (spoiler alert; it’s not the pitch!). In his LinkedIn Live interview, he gives us some insider tips and tells us about a £40,000,000 Medtech fund. He gives an inside view on how he creates business connections and finds his next startup to back at Wolves Summit, and all about his training programme for startups. See the full interview here, and check out our summary of it below!
4 Things Investors Want to See Before They Back Your Startup
In our LinkedIn Live chat with Christian Kumar, he spilt the beans on four things investors want to see before they back your startup. You might be thinking it’s a great pitch, or a solid, disruptive technology…but you’d be wrong! To learn the 4 things he wants as an investor, and how to get across them in time to meet your next investor at the 11th edition of Wolves Summit, read on!
Who is Christian Kumar Anyway?!
First things first. Before we look at his 4 hot tips for startups wanting to attract investors, we really should introduce this investment guru. Christian Kumar has a 30-year career spanning qualitative analytics, investment banking and wealth management. Over his impressive career, he’s set up specialist companies in commercial and corporate finance, as well as in management consultancy and construction. He’s got a portfolio of six companies and over 32 investments – with which he’s been able to build a modern private equity house, specialising in banking, lending and asset management.
From Capital Kinetics, and Cask Management, to Consortia Partners LLP, Kinetic Technology and Profectus Planning, Chris loves his work and loves helping to. While he’s mainly a Medtech investor, he has a broad range of experience in financial and capital markets. He started out in derivatives and investment banking, before moving into wealth management markets – the hunter turning game-keeper, as he describes it.
He lives in Milton Keyes, spends a lot of his time in Cardiff and London, and has the odd business trip to Poland, where the startup action is at! At his Cardiff incubation centre, they’re attracting small and mid-cap. investment and helping big potential technology businesses to grow.
He’s currently partnering with public and private entities in Wales, writing up a framework for a regulated investment fund that would be joint private-public. He wants to fund, launch and grow brilliant ideas (like yours!), and guide them through on their journey to market. Christian Kumar was at the 10th Edition of Wolves Summit back in October 2019 and had great success in finding and backing startups through B2B meetings there.
In his interview with us, he says that 50% of their shortlist enquiries in the last nine months have been through direct connections from Wolves Summit. Of 21 meetings at the Summit, he progressed to detailed discussions with more than seven. Three of this group of seven are now in the process of coming to Wales to set up. Two companies flew to Wales from Poland for meetings, one from the Czech Republic and two from Poland.
Kumar was pleasantly surprised just how well-prepared these companies were for investment, from a commercial standpoint. He feels that, in terms of market-preparedness, there’s something CEE companies get especially right. They’re ready for a serious round of funding, and they come to those initial meetings, “ready to play ball,” as he puts it. Where normally the preparation for preliminary funding would take months, these CEE startups were already so prepared, it was much quicker.
That’s just a bit about Christian Kumar, his background in investing, and his experience at Wolves Summit. So now that you practically know the guy, let’s check out his advice for startups getting ready to front up to VCs.
What’s a Startup Need to Get VC Funds?
“In the Life Sciences and Medtech sector, the entrepreneur is so focussed on the underlying tech, they can overlook commerciality of it,” says Kumar. Maybe you’re a PhD candidate, used to working in two or three-year cycles. When it comes to That chat with a VC, they want to know how quickly you can get to market.
1. Is There a Need?
Your potential investor wants to know if there really is a need that your product or service is addressing. You might have the most amazing technology ever invented. But if it isn’t meeting a real customer need, it’s not going to turn a profit...and it’s not going to secure investment funding.
2. What’s the Approach?
Once you’ve shown your potential investor that there really is a need for your product in the market, they’ll want to hear what your approach is to meet that need. How long will it take you to get to market, at what price, marketed to what niche, etc? We’re talking a real commercial strategy.
3. What’s the Benefit for Stakeholders?
Next, your VC wants to know what’s in it for their stakeholders. Have you verified if you have the right valuation? The right proposition? Have you considered its carbon footprint? Where do you sit on social impact?
4. What’s the Competitive Landscape Look Like?
Alight, we get it – your tech is phenomenal, and you’re the maverick to lead your team to total market disruption. But, are you so busy looking ahead you haven't taken a sidewards glance at the competition? Show your VC that you've weighed your product/service objectively against the competition. What are the pros and cons of your offering against theirs?
For Christian Kumar, if you’ve thoroughly ticket all those boxes – as internationally-focused, business-ready CEE startups tend to – he’s ready to sit down with you and talk numbers.
The Pitch is Not a Business Plan
Have a great pitch to catch your VC’s attention, by all means. Just don’t be among those that mistake an 8-slide pitch deck for a business plan. As Kumar puts it, he’s thinking, “Is this idea worth parting with my kid’s inheritance for?” You want to show the VC that you’re minimising their risk, by thoroughly thinking your idea through. The detail of your business plan helps make that investment decision for them.
Now you’re ready: you’ve got a flashy pitch and the water-tight business plan behind it. It’s time to get in front of some VCs. But where to do it? The 11th Wolves Summit!
Shmooze with the World’s Sharpest VCs at 11th Wolves Summit
If you’re ready for funding, you need a place you can maximise your chances, with lots of meetings with high-quality businesses and investors, over a short time. If you’re an investor, you want the same opportunity of meeting lots of high-potential disruptors in a way that works with your tight schedule. Wolves Summit is the B2B networking event that supports and propels innovation by linking companies, startups, and investors.
At the 10th Wolves Summit, 400 startups and scale-ups pitched their unique ideas to 200 investors, amidst 1,500 participants. Be part of the action by joining the 11th Wolves Summit in March 2020. For more information, click here!