Getting advice and investment for your startup

This article first appeared in the January 2012 issue (#223) of .net magazine – the world's best-selling magazine for web designers and developers.

.net: What does a new business need to do to appeal to you as investor?
JG: It’s about communication and having a clear vision of what your business is, not what the product is. A common mistake technology companies make is that they spend too long telling us about how wonderful the product is, but they forget that investors don’t want the product, they want a piece of the business, and all too often that’s what’s missing. So people need to have a better understanding of how the finances of the business are going to work.
The clich is that venture capitalists are looking for a great innovative product and an investable team, so people forget about decisions such as where to rent offices, or whether to buy or lease a piece of equipment. All those decisions have a financial consequence, and those things are commonly left out.

.net: How should a technology startup in the UK look for incubation?
JG: There’s UK Business Incubation and they will provide things such as office space and reduced rates, and maybe some mentoring and business advice. But high-quality proper incubation, which is the art and science of helping someone with an idea to make a working business, is harder to find.

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