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Watch the Replay: SBW2023 Founder & Investor Tracks

Updated: Apr 19

Are you a first-time founder? Or perhaps you’re interested in getting inside the mind of a VC? Maybe yet, you’d like to sit on the other side of the table and build a career in investing. We’ve created some content on-demand just for you!

During Startup Boston Week 2023, our Founder Track was created for first-time founders and serial entrepreneurs. On the other hand, our Investor Track was created for folks who were interested in potentially pursuing a career in venture capital.

Early-Stage Founders

These were our sessions during Startup Boston Week 2023 for our Early-Stage Founder Track.

Data Rooms - What It Is, How to Create One

Funding is already an incredibly difficult task in the startup lifecycle. Factor in the need to keep sensitive information secure - while sharing it with important stakeholders - and the process begins to become a bit of a maze to navigate. So how do you share important data with potential investors as you’re fundraising?

This video will discuss:

  • What is a data room?

  • How much information should I share?

  • What should I include in my data room?

  • What resources do I have to build out this room?

Crafting Your Go-To-Market Strategy

There’s arguably nothing more important in a startup's early years than its go-to-market strategy which is often the difference between success or failure. However, it’s a complex topic with a myriad of factors to consider before settling on the right tactic.

This video will discuss:

  • What “known” variables should I have when launching my GTM strategy?

  • How does the competition play a role in this breakdown?

  • Talk to me about channel partners vs. direct sales strategies?

  • How about pricing models?

  • How does company culture influence GTM?

  • And so much more.

Best Practices for Startup Documentation

Startups with big ideas and plans to disrupt the future can’t overlook the little things like the importance of documenting their work, procedures and project milestones. Getting organized from the get-go is imperative and proves particularly important as a startup scales.

This video will discuss:

  • Why should I be documenting everything I do?

  • What should I use to do so? Internal Wikis, employee handbooks?

  • Who should be running point on documenting all of this?

  • How should I incorporate this into my project management procedures moving forward?

  • How long should I hold on to information / documents?

Managing Vendors for Your Startup

As startups grow and scale their operations, founders find themselves wrestling with questions about taking on vendors. The move can lead to headaches and losses if not done right, or free up precious bandwidth if carried out correctly. The decision is rarely an easy one.

This video will discuss:

  • At what stage should a founder reach out to these services?

  • How should a company prepare itself to work with a particular vendor?

  • What are some examples of companies that have their operation in reasonable order before meeting with you?

  • Conversely, what are some examples of companies who needed a ton of help getting things organized when they came to meet you?

Understanding A VC’s POV (presented by Intel Ignite)

In the fast-paced world of startups and innovative ventures, understanding the VC mindset is crucial for success. This event aims to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and investors, providing valuable insights into the decision-making process of VCs. By gaining a deeper understanding of what VCs look for in startups, you'll be better equipped to create a winning pitch and secure the funding you need.

This video will discuss:

  • What criteria do investors use to evaluate startups?

  • How do investors assess risk?

  • What are common deal-breakers for investors?

  • How can founders make their startup stand out?

  • And so much more!

Tips for Entrepreneurs on Developing a Productive Relationship with Outside Counsel (presented by BrownRudnick)

A good lawyer can be a huge asset to a startup, but most first time founders have never worked with a lawyer and don’t know how to find the right one for their startup. At the same time, fear of running up large legal bills can cause founders to avoid seeking advice from their lawyer when it is most needed. In this session, Benjamin Hron of Brown Rudnick will share tips from his experience helping hundreds of entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses.

This video will discuss:

  • Understanding the Attorney-Client Relationship

  • When you need a lawyer and how to find the right one

  • How to get the most benefit from your lawyer

  • Managing legal fees

Future-Proofing Cofounder Agreements (presented by Peak Counsel)

Starting a company is an exciting, scary, time-consuming, and gratifying experience. It can be especially rewarding when you build it with a team of cofounders. In the world of startups, many companies will be driven towards a strategic exit: a merger or acquisition with or by another company. If you and your cofounders are planning an exit, there will be many decision points along the way which could either enhance or diminish your chances of success.

This video will discuss:

  • Considerations for the capitalization table, purchasing shares, and vesting schedules (and other restrictions that can be useful);

  • How investors and other stakeholders view the founding team and concerns they may have pre- and post-investment;

  • The issues created when a founder wants to leave the company early in its lifecycle but still owns a substantial number of shares; and

  • Possible solutions for working around poorly-written agreements.

Navigating the Path to Market with Freedom to Operate and Other IP Strategies (presented by Lando & Anastasi)

Bringing a new product or service to market successfully requires more than just a brilliant idea. It demands a comprehensive understanding of the market and competitors' business, as well as any potential obstacles and a plan to navigate around them.

This session is designed to enlighten startups by introducing the importance of "Freedom to Operate" (FTO) analyses and efficient approaches and considerations.

While not legally required, undergoing FTO analysis will provide businesses and investors with greater confidence that the production, use, or sale of a new product or service may not infringe a patent of another, and can identify related risks; the FTO study may also provide competitive intelligence that can pay dividends in planning business strategies or identify potential collaborators. Furthermore, a comprehensive FTO study may be helpful for securing intellectual property rights.

This video will provide actionable advice on conducting comprehensive patent searches and analyses, assessing potential risks, and strategizing for maximum IP protection aligned with your business.

Legal Bootcamp for Founders (presented by Touchstone Law)

Are you a startup founder looking to navigate the legal complexities of pursuing your vision? Join Touchstone Law for an interactive and informative Legal Bootcamp designed specifically for founders like you.

This event will provide you with important perspectives and practical strategies for setting up your venture for success, protecting its value, and building a great company.

This video will discuss:

  • Business formation—how to get moving, and minimize headaches

  • How to apply an agile mentality to your contracts and related legal documents

  • How to know when legal counsel can add value and when you should DIY

  • How to recognize and protect the value of your company for that big exit

  • How to make compliance your guide in building a great company instead of a necessary evil

How to Leverage Your Network as a Founder

As founders work around the clock to build their businesses, they’re often forced to sacrifice time with friends and family and rarely make room to fully engage with their professional network. This can create a sense of isolation, cutting them off from the kind of social capital that’s needed to build a healthy ecosystem for their startup and themselves.

This video will discuss:

  • What does networking look like in other spaces/networks/industries?

  • What can I learn from someone who does things differently than me?

  • How can we use our mutual networks to help each other succeed in separate fields?

  • What skills/tools do all startups need to succeed regardless of what their product is?

  • When should I be leaning into my personal network for support / guidance vs. my professional? Vice versa?

Bootstrapping vs. Fundraising

In this economic environment, founders need to be smart and strategic about their fundraising options by carefully weighing the pros and cons of bootstrapping vs. fundraising. There’s no right answer, as different options make sense for different businesses.

This video will discuss:

  • What are the benefits of bootstrapping?

  • What are the benefits of fundraising?

  • How to ensure I don’t give up too much control when fundraising?

  • How can I make bootstrapping work for me?

Navigating the Best Funding Paths for Your Technology Company (presented by J.P.Morgan)

Are you contemplating the optimal approach to fund your company’s growth – seeking investment from angels, raising a friends and family round or heading down the bootstrap path?

As you navigate these critical decisions, there are a few key items you’ll want to consider.

The distinction between these divergent routes, bootstrapping versus external funding for example, is pivotal. While bootstrapping enables you to retain control over your company and shape its destiny, the question arises: How can you effectively bootstrap your company and still grow enough to capture sufficient market share?

But the road doesn’t end there. Once you get product-market fit and have proven traction, you have other decisions you’ll need to make: revenue-based financing, venture debt, venture capital?

Cap Table Best Practices to Help You Close Fast (presented by Fidelity)

So, you’re preparing to raise money to fuel your startup. How confident are you that your cap table and data room are squeaky clean? This question should be top of mind for most founders because a messy data room can drag out your raise and/or cost you tens of thousands in legal expenses.

This video will cover the best practices that will help you close easily and efficiently. We’ll equip you with tips from the legal perspective, the investor perspective, and the founder perspective. Founders will leave this session, armed with tangible, actionable guidance.

Navigating Co-Founder Dynamics

Going at it alone versus with a partner….it can be a huge decision that will make or break your business. For co-founders determining if their startup would be more successful as a solo founder or a co-founder model, this panel is for you. The experts will explore the benefits and challenges of starting a company solo vs in a team.

This video will discuss:

  • What are the advantages / disadvantages to having one or more co-founders?

  • If I’m a solo founder looking for a co-founder, where can I go to find one?

  • What are some best practices for handling co-founder disagreements or differences in priorities?

  • If my co-founder dynamic isn’t working, how should I move forward?

Growth-Stage Founders

These were our sessions during Startup Boston Week 2023 for our Growth-Stage Founder Track.

Hiring Tips for Startups

Hiring is arguably the most important task that startups perform – and the most difficult. With competition for talent still tight, this is particularly true for businesses going through their first phase of hiring.

This video will discuss:

  • How do I balance hiring for a role, hiring for a “fit” and hiring for a culture match?

  • Why hire a jack of all trades vs. a specialist or vice versa?

  • Where should I be looking to find qualified talent?

  • How important is related prior experience?

Supporting Internal Innovation to Achieve Outsized Results (presented by Justworks)

This session dives into Justworks’ approach of seeding new ventures within its larger established organization. This session offers first-hand insights and tactics for spotting opportunities to build "nested startups" within a larger established organization, and how to fuel strategic innovation at both levels. Join Julia D’Amico, General Manager - Insurance Platform, as she shares her journey from Product Manager (with an idea) to an internal "nested startup" leader.

As a fast growing company supporting small businesses, staying true to Justworks' startup roots with consistent innovation puts the company squarely in the mindset of its small business customers, particularly those just getting off the ground. Find out how “nested startups” can inform investment, spark a culture of experimentation, and empower teams to innovate and learn from failure.

How Fundraising Effects Your Startup’s Future (presented by Brown Rudnick)

Raising capital is an important step for many founders, but it is still just a means to an end. While an exit may seem far off now, the decisions you make when raising capital will impact the options available to you in the future.

Join Brown Rudnick for an insightful session exploring the path from investment to exit.

During this video we will discuss how different sources of capital and the amount you raise can impact your exit options; and how the terms of a financing can impact who determines when an exit occurs and how the proceeds of an exit will be distributed among founders and investors.

How to Handle Failure and Learn from It

Failure is often actually an integral part of building a successful business. Founders can expect to face setbacks and let downs as they chase their vision. The trick is to bounce back and learn from mistakes by building a stronger and more resilient business, all without hesitating to take calculated risks in the future.

This video will discuss:

  • When is an idea a “failure” vs. just a moment to pivot?

  • When do you fully call it quits?

  • How do you unwind a company?

  • How do you communicate this to your stakeholders?

  • What are some ways to look back objectively and learn from your mistakes?

  • When / how do you come back from a “failure” to start again?

Talking About Hard Things Through an Inclusive Lens (presented by Suffolk University)

Whether you're dealing with clients, investors, colleagues, or employees, difficult conversations are a necessary part of doing business. In this panel, experts will share their experiences and discuss strategies for having productive conversations on sensitive topics in ways that encourage inclusivity and belonging.

A Conversation on FemTech (presented by Brown Rudnick)

FemTech is a sub-sector of life sciences and technology that brings the spotlight to companies that are created to address medical conditions and issues that principally or differently impact the health and wellness of women, in addition to the funds that support them.

We are at a turning point in the transformation of healthcare, and technological innovation in women’s health and wellness has never been stronger. Sage Revell, Partner at law firm Brown Rudnick LLP and Alice Zheng, Principal at venture capital fund RH Capital, will discuss a number of hot topics and key market trends in the US and UK, and answer any questions you may have.

The Importance of Diverse Mentors, Especially through Turbulent Economic Cycles (presented by Justworks)

Join Justworks' VP of DEIB, Sustainability, and Social Impact, Yrthya Dinzey-Flores, for a discussion with one of Justworks' customers to discuss identifying, building, and nurturing a diversified network of mentors. Yrthya will pose questions about the challenges of starting and running a business, how to leverage a diverse network of mentors, and why surrounding yourself with an array of perspectives can be helpful during tumultuous economic times (when running a business can be particularly challenging).

Recovering from Mistakes and Learning Along the Way

Company culture is critical to employee well-being and business success, and often hinges on leadership’s ability to create a diverse and inclusive environment. But too many businesses fall short and fail to learn from their mistakes, which leads to low morale and the increased risk of conflict.

This video will discuss:

  • What to do if I hired too fast and later found out some of my employees aren’t the best cultural fit?

  • What to do when you realize you haven’t built a very diverse employee population?

  • How to make my job description more attractive to diverse talent?

  • How to reduce discrimination/bias in my hiring process?

  • What to do if I created a high intensity culture and my employees are burning out?

  • What to do if my employees aren’t on the same page because I haven’t set clear enough expectations surrounding goals and performance?

What To Do if Money Runs Low

In today’s economic environment, it’s arguably more important than ever to keep a close eye on your business’ finances, and to assess the length of your runway. While this can be scary and daunting, you’re not alone – countless leaders are struggling with similar doubts and concerns.

This video will discuss:

  • How to make sure we don’t run out of funding?

  • When to begin fundraising for our next round?

  • How to prioritize expenses when deciding what to cut to save costs?

  • What are some short term savings strategies that won’t negatively impact long term business goals?

  • How to accurately assess how long we have until our runway runs out?

Lessons from a Repeat Founder

Nobody said building a startup would be easy, as it’s one of the hardest endeavors you’ll ever set out to achieve. But it can also be incredibly rewarding, and that much easier when you can tap into the experience of a repeat founder who has lived the kinds of the hard fought successes and inevitable failures you’ll likely face along the way.

This video will discuss:

  • What do you wish you’d known on day one of your startup journey?

  • What can you learn from failure?

  • What is one mistake you will never make again?

  • What advice can you give to someone who had to shut down their startup to motivate them to get up and try again?

  • What resources are you now aware of that would have been beneficial when you were just starting out?

  • How would you approach managing a team differently knowing what you know now?

How to Build, Market and Sell Your Startup Post 2022 (presented by Albaloo)

What if you knew how successful your startup could be before you even wrote a line of code? Discover how to validate, scale and exit your startup with the experts at Albaloo and NineTwoThree.

We'll discuss how to measure your startup's potential before fundraising, integrate marketing and sales into your development process, and synchronize product growth with revenue scaling.

Whether you're just starting your company or have healthy revenue, you'll learn from seasoned experts who have worked with hundreds of startups and brought 10 of them to exit!

Uniting Executives Around a Common Goal

As businesses grow and teams expand, it can become increasingly challenging to unite members of the C-Suite around a common goal – especially as departments work toward their own objectives. But a shared vision is critical to any business’ success, which is why executives and department heads must put differences aside and collaborate.

This video will discuss:

  • How to work with other departments whose goals might seem counterproductive to yours?

  • How to get your c-suite on the same page / define your role within the larger suite?

  • What to do when finance wants to cut costs that departments like marketing and HR view as essential to their job function?

  • How to work together with different personality types?

Securing Your Startup’s Infrastructure (presented by Tech Superpowers)

You’re in the process of scaling your startup and there is a lot to keep track of - board meetings, exec team meetings, hiring new employees, payroll, vendor management, the list just goes on and on.

This video will discuss:

  • When in your startup’s life should you start thinking about cybersecurity?

  • What should be in your onboarding and offboarding checklist for company employees?

  • Who on your team should be responsible for managing this process - your CTO, COO, someone else?

  • How can you easily tackle the security changes needed to get certifications like SOC 2 Type 2, HIPAA, HITRUST, and PCI?

  • How much does something like this cost - and how do you know it’s time to invest in this?

Redefining Responsibilities as your Company Scales

Problems don’t disappear once you’ve achieved business success, as it can be difficult to step away from the thriving company you’ve built from the ground up. That’s the challenge that founders struggle with across industries, as they consider how to help their business scale, oftentimes without them at the helm.

This video will discuss:

  • How to think rationally when my emotions are getting in the way of deciding what is best for the company?

  • How to build a solid management structure?

  • When/if is it time to step down and hire a new CEO?

  • What tasks should I delegate, and what should I keep control of?

  • What are best practices for ensuring culture and connectivity is sustained as delegating begins or if there is a change in leadership?

Sage Startup Wisdom from Seasoned Entrepreneurs (presented by Suffolk University)

In this panel we will be exploring entrepreneurial founding stories from successful entrepreneurs in different industries. We will discuss unique experiences and challenges that our panelists have faced.

At the same time, we will explore the common thread that entrepreneurs experience in building their ventures and learn what is important to founders and what is important for founders to do. We seek to provide practical and actionable advice for current and future founders.

Investor Track

These were our sessions during Startup Boston Week 2023 for our Investor Track.

The Secret for Successful Venture Groups

Today’s venture capital industry is entering into a hyper growth period. Historically lean partnerships are ballooning into large venture corporations with verticalized battalions of operators and portfolio services to support entrepreneurs. As a result, a thriving fund or venture capitalist organization is as much a byproduct of its thesis as it is about their strategy to find and engage the talent behind their portfolio companies.

This video will discuss:

  • Who are these operators and why are they so buzzworthy in venture capital?

  • Where do I find my operator-investors?

  • How do I build my reputation as an operator-investor?

  • How do I target and execute my strategic priorities?

Navigating Changing Tech as an Investor

The tech industry is changing. It’s important for investors to understand how to evolve to fit this new landscape.

This video will discuss:

  • What trends are we seeing with traditional tech-based business models?

  • How may market conditions influence your decisions about which industries or teams you fund?

  • How may market conditions influence your decisions about how you offer funds?

  • How often are funds profitable? Is the changing market making it better or worse to get into fund management and allocation?

Delivering and Dealing with Bad News About Investment Offers

Founders and investors are often looking to find a mutual fit in one another. While we more often hear about startups hunting for funds, there may be situations in which an investment offer is extended to a team that elects not to accept it.

This video will discuss:

  • What are some reasons founders / startups may not elect to accept an investment offer?

  • What should an investor do if a startup passes on an investment offer?

  • Conversely, what are some reasons an investor may pass on a founder / team / startup?

  • What are some best practices for saying “no” to a team of Founders?

  • What follow up is recommended after acceptance or rejection?

  • What terms typically make for mutual wins?


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