Alliance Blog

Investor Panel Advises Founders to Focus on Fundamentals

For founders currently raising their seed round, the advice from the panel of venture investors assembled last week at the Alliance’s founders event was pretty clear: focus on business fundamentals. The rosy days of 2021 where the mantra was ‘grow at all costs’ has been replaced by a more pragmatic approach to focus on the basics such as customer validation, market fit, meaningful traction, product defensibility, and a solid runway to profitability.

The Alliance organized the event sponsored by Countsy at The Gathering, a conference room and event space located in the Pasarroyo, as part of Innovate Pasadena’s Connect Week. The invite-only event for SoCal-based early stage startup founders supplied invaluable insights on fundraising in today’s market from a four-person panel of venture capitalists and attorneys who shared their inside knowledge of what investors are looking for in venture backable companies. 

The panel included Howard Ko of Morpheus, Brett Queener from Bonfire Ventures, Brad Schwartz from SLP Ventures, Kenji Funahashi from Wilson-Sonsini and was moderated by Mark diTargiani, SVP of Pacific Western Bank which is the lead sponsor of the Alliance’s SoCal Venture Pipeline program. 

The panelists were unanimous in their guidance to focus on business fundamentals before seeking the seed round. The panelists advised the 20 assembled founders to slow down and focus on quality growth since such growth offers a holistic view of the company’s metrics. In this approach, founders can reveal true confidence in the milestones that the raise will help them reach.

Following the panel discussion and questions from the founders, the event shifted to a happy hour with food and drinks for the attendees to meet and mingle.