FemaleFoundersForumThe most exciting thing to me about last night’s event was the location. While the Pig’s Meow was a wonderful place to be, I was excited by the fact our event was in Phoenix! I was so inspired by the room full of about forty female founders.

The event was modeled after a NYC informal gathering and the attendees were asked to fill in some wants, needs, or asks when they registered.  It was no surprise that the emerging themes were:

  • Connections
  • Cash
  • People
  • Mentorship
  • Scale

The specific company asks were put up on the chalkboard while I spent ten minutes reviewing alternative sources of funding in AZ, provided some tips, and fielded questions. Here are the highlights of the talk.

Funding Sources

Debt  In addition to banks and Small Business Association (SBA) loans, the Arizona Commerce Authority has an AZ Innovation Acceleration Fund where, with collateral, you can secure debt through an Arizona bank.

Equity — Investors include angels (be careful regarding success fees and ensure you are dealing with legitimate accredited investors or platforms). All companies should apply for the AZ Angel Tax Credit for Arizona investors.

Crowdfunding – Rewards-based platofrms (Indiegogo or Kickstarter) can be a lot of work, but they can be great market validation, which is what investors demand.

Equity Crowdfunding – Equity crowdfunding is Arizona-only right now. You can use it to raise money for your company for operations inside Arizona from Arizona investors only.

Tips

Find your crowd. Pitch to those who understand your business.

Ask. Either ask for connections or cash, but ask.

Know your numbers. You can get others to prepare your financials, but you must know them cold.

One tip that I neglected to mention is to tell your story with your voice and be yourself.

After that “Ten Minute Talk”, the founders spent a few minutes helping each other by writing their offer to help beside others’ Asks. We explored the themes briefly and then everyone was encouraged to follow-up directly. There were so many connections made!

Finally, as several people asked about listing and resources: Traklight has a free Business Risk Assessment plus a listing of trusted external resources.

We are looking forward to the next #phxfff on August 17th! #onward


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