Deciding how to go about getting your initial funding is always a tricky subject, as the wrong move could adversely impact your young company. At Disrupt 2020 this September 14-18, we’ll showcase three amazing investors and experts who’ve shepherded multiple companies during their earliest stages.
The process of raising your first dollars looks simple from the outside, but there are many a misstep that can happen along the way. Just understanding how to approach investors in the first place can be so easily fluffed.
Three people who know all about this, and who’ll be appearing at Disrupt, are Alexa von Tobel, founder and managing partner of Inspired Capital Partners; Hunter Walk, co-founder and partner at Homebrew; and Ted Wang, investment partner at Cowboy Ventures.
Alexa founded LearnVest in 2008, which went on to be acquired by Northwestern Mutual in May 2015 in one of the biggest fintech acquisitions of the decade. As well as steering that company’s digital transformation, she went on to be an inaugural member of President Obama’s Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship and has received numerous accolades, including Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Fortune’s 40 Under 40 and being named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
Inspired Capital Partners launched last year when von Tobel teamed up with former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and billionaire heiress Penny Pritzker to raise $200 million for their first fund, catapulting it into the top echelons for venture funds started by women. They led the $4.9 million seed round in fintech Rho Business Banking and participated in rounds for startups such as Kindur and Umbrella. It also co-led a $22 million Series A investment round in Chief, a private network for female executives.
Hunter Walk co-founded Homebrew, a seed-stage venture fund, in 2013 and went on to invest in startup success stories such as Chime, Plaid, Cruise, Gusto, Bowery Farming, Finix and more. He brings to investing the lessons he learned early at Linden Lab, creators of the first virtual world Second Life, and a decade at Google after that, much of it leading product efforts at YouTube. Most recently Homebrew was involved in the Series A for Hummingbird and Third Wave Automation, and is frequently mentioned in seed and Series A round dispatches.
Ted Wang has particular expertise in consumer-facing products, given he has worked with companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Square, Sonos, Spotify and Jet. That said, he also has enterprise chops, having spent time with Zuora, Apprio, Blue Kai and Adap.tv. As a leading silicon valley lawyer, Ted pioneered much of the base layer of seed investing, creating the Series Seed Documents — a set of open-sourced financing documents posted on GitHub.
Cowboy Ventures probably couldn’t be better positioned for the pandemic, given it invests in products that “re-imagine” work and personal life. Most recently it has invested in LaunchNotes, SVT Robotics, Planet FWD and Crunchbase.
Disrupt 2020 runs from September 14 through September 18 and will be 100% virtual this year. Get your front-row seat to see this panel live with a Disrupt Digital Pro Pass or a Digital Startup Alley Exhibitor Package. We’re excited to see you there.