What Not to Do:
Advice From STAN Investors to Startups
Here are some key takeaways on what not to do when pitching your startup idea to investors, based on the insights shared by our guest speakers during a recent info meeting prior to the 12th STAN Pitching session.

These successful founders, entrepreneurs, and investors provide valuable advice to help you attract the right investor for your startup.

Jesus Lozano (Chus Jan), EU Senior Expert on Digital Economy and Digital Transformation, ICT Ecosystem Builder, Business Angel & Advisor

Suren Aloyan, Co-Founder & CEO of PopUp School Ed Tech Company, Founding President & CEO of Dasaran Ed Tech Company

Vahag Karayan, STAN angel, Co-Founder & CEO of BrandLens Inc, Former NASA System Engineer, and entertainment industry executive
Mistakes to avoid in selecting an angel investor

Chus Jan emphasizes the importance of understanding investors and knowing what they want to hear. This includes being well-prepared with financial projections and identifying potential obstacles. It's crucial to come up with traction and a clear marketing strategy. Additionally, Chus mentions the scarcity of investors in Armenia who truly understand the field.

Suren Aloyan advises that angel investors should be individuals who share your vision and mission, demonstrating their dedication and support. Research the startups the angel has previously invested in and inquire about their reasons for wanting to be involved with your venture.
How not to value your startup

Chus highlights that valuation varies among investors and depends on the stage of your startup. It's essential to choose the appropriate instrument or tool, such as a convertible note or partnership agreement, for each investor.

Vahag Karayan shares his opinion that if the idea and founding team are strong, the valuation can be agreed upon.
Common pitfalls in building financial models for your startup

Chus recommends having someone with financial expertise on your team to manage investments if you lack knowledge in financial models. In any case, he advises against going more than 6 to 8 months without sales or proof of concept.

Vahag emphasizes that Armenian startups often struggle to understand the global market and financial trends. He suggests having a team member with an international background to provide valuable insights.
Mistakes to avoid when choosing the founding team

Vahag suggests that founders in Armenia should consider team members from Europe or the US to enhance diversity and strengthen the team, and to assess the weaknesses and strengths of the founding team, and bring in a co-founder who can complement them effectively.

Chus evaluates the soft skills (problem-solving, communication) as well as the hard skills and knowledge of the founding team. Factors like network, customer relationships, and experience are also considered, along with the attitude of team members.

Suren chooses individuals who share his vision and are mission-oriented. He creates an environment where they feel like true startup enthusiasts working towards achieving results.
What not to do when pitching your startup

Chus emphasizes the importance of establishing connections on intellectual, emotional, and ethical levels. He also suggests asking yourself important questions during the pitch, such as whether your solution solves a problem, if you have expertise in finance, and if you are generating traction. Remember, business angels invest in growth opportunities.

Vahag advises being confident, enthusiastic, and a good listener during your pitch. Reflect on feedback and address questions appropriately.

Suren highlights the significance of understanding psychology when dealing with potential investors. Adapt your pitch by taking notes and continuously improving it. Focus on describing the problem and selling your vision. Sometimes, you may need to educate people about the demand for your product or service.
Final advice for startup founders

Chus encourages startups to fail fast and fail cheap, recognizing that time is limited in the startup world.

Suren mentions the need to be comfortable with uncertainty and willing to take risks, even if they seem daunting, and to do what others aren’t willing to.

Vahag emphasizes the importance of working through uncertainty to increase the chances of success before depleting all your funds.

By taking note of these insights, you can avoid common pitfalls and improve your chances of pitching your startup successfully to investors.
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