Last week we provided you with insights on the types of businesses that Intel venture capitalists are looking to invest in. This week, Intel Capital Investment Director, Vibhor Rastogi, shares his thoughts on how Intel® Software Partner Program Premier Elite Partners applying for potential funding can create a successful submission.
Rastogi, who joined Intel Capital in 2010 and has an extensive management and consulting background, shared some straightforward, practical advice for ISVs going through the process of applying for venture funding.
What kind of advice would you give business ventures applying for funding with Intel Capital?
Vibhor Rastogi: Provide as much information as possible. I know some of the ISVs are hesitant about providing financial data, but your financials are not disclosed to anyone and we are open to signing an NDA if the applicant wishes. Applicants should also strive to provide a clear and concise description of the product or service offering, and the problem it addresses in their business plan.
What are your priorities as you’re reviewing submissions?
VR: The ability of the company to generate meaningful revenues in three to five years post-investment is absolutely the top priority. Investors usually like to know that the company is participating in a large, rapidly growing market segment and can generate a meaningful return to the investor via a public offering or a strategic acquisition. We are also looking for clear evidence of a differentiated product or service. If a company has patents pending or granted or has licensed valuable IP, they should include this information as well.
How important is the team behind the product/service?
VR: This is also very important. Investors need to know who is driving the business. Applicants should include relevant details on the executive team, such as their prior professional successes. Prior entrepreneurial experience adds to the credibility of the management team. Knowing the executive team and their passion for solving big problems that will change the world for the better is important to investors.
Should applicants include projected sales numbers?
VR: Sales forecasts in early stage companies have quite a bit of uncertainty and most investors understand that. At the end of the day, what makes companies win in the marketplace is a defensible competitive position which is acquired through a combination of a stellar team, unique product or service offering and top notch execution. There is no substitute for market and customer research, so applicants need to know that it’s very easy for any investor to tell if someone has not done their homework.
Rastogi added that all applications are subject to the same rigorous review and approval process that all potential Intel Capital investments must go through. While submitting an application doesn’t guarantee your business will receive an investment from Intel Capital, following this advice and other best practices for completing an application could better position your company and technology for investment funding with Intel Capital.
Stay tuned for an upcoming live webinar open to all members of the Intel® Software Partner Program. While only Premier Elites can apply to Intel Capital, all Intel Software Partners are able to attend to learn more about venture funding and Intel Capital with Vibhor Rastogi. In the meantime, keep in touch with the latest Intel Capital news by following @IntelCapital on Twitter.