Daniel talks to us about his experiences as a co-founder of Investabay and provides some insight on how to go about the challenging journey of building a startup from the ground up.
Can you introduce your start-up? What is it, and how did it come about?
Investbay’s platform opens up real estate as an investment opportunity for everyone, by separating property into acquirable tokens, whilst generating attractive returns, reducing risk, and still benefitting from liquidity via a Real Assets backed Payment card.
Where are you in your startup journey?
We have an MVP ready to launch in Q1/23. Currently, we are at our pre-revenue stage. We started SEED round fundraising campaign which we like to close by 31/3/23.
To date, what has been the biggest triumph for your business?
We’ve had several notable moments as listed down below:
Partnering with Mastercard on Card & Payment solution
Having a senior team and experience advisory board ready to fly
Are you a sole founder? If so, how have you found it? And do you have any advice you would give to other sole founders?
I started this business alone, but in the early stages of the company, I invited three other co-founders to help me build this venture.
My advice would be the following:
Believe in your vision. You don’t have to have all the answers to your questions come in at one time.
Make a plan for how you’ll achieve your goals. Consistently work on them one by one and success will eventually come.
Are you a co-founder? If so, how have you found it? And do you have any advice for partners working alongside each other on how to make that business relationship work?
YES, I am.
You have to accept that your co-founders possess their own personalities. Instead of looking at differences negatively, use it to your advantage. Differing points of view are important and having variety in your team is an asset. Just make sure to set up rules around your work, so that you will not encounter much trouble as you work together. Having a ‘good leaver’ and ‘bad leaver’ agreement in place will help you avoid much problems in the future.
How do you manage to balance growing a start-up with having a personal life?
I do my best to spend as much time as I can with my family, but some of my time-consuming hobbies such as golf will have to wait until we are fully operational.
How do you cope with the pressures that come with building a business?
I try to do as much physical activity as possible ideally with family (walking, skiing, ice-skating) sleep as much as possible and don’t drink any alcohol – which might shortly help but then take too much energy in the following days.
Did you pursue investment? If so, what advice would you give on pitching? What was your secret weapon?
Yes. My advice would be to prepare well and put in time to practice and train yourself so that you’re ready to pitch anytime – with our without your pitch materials. You never really know when you’re going to meet your next potential investor. Also, knowing your audience helps.
As for my secret weapon: I found it quite helpful trying to connect with your audience by asking them a question before you present. This helps me a lot in decreasing my stress, especially when doing a big presentation in front of a crowd or onstage.
If you could name one thing that you wish you knew when you started, what would it be?
How to find the right investor easier.
To date, what has been your most important lesson?
Onboarding real senior professionals for each task always pays off – including making a business plan (thanks, Robot Mascot team!), legal, tax, technology, etc. It may look costly at first, but you’ll soon come to realise that this is the more practical way to approach your business. You can save up so much from shortening the time spent on activities whilst getting better quality outputs.
I have learnt to be skeptical of suppliers (warehouse, manufacturers, etc.) and how diligently they perform their tasks until proven otherwise. When we started analysing weekly invoices line by line, we realised many errors were going unnoticed.
Never expect couriers to deliver when they say they will and allow an extra day to be safe!
Don’t work with a supplier where the energy and relationship just don’t feel right from the start.
Keeping brand momentum is key.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone thinking about starting up their own business, or who has just started their journey?
Think twice before onboarding any new partner. Do reference calls even for investors. It’s always good to know what to expect.
Spend money and resources wisely on things that you need at the moment. Try to work with the team as part-time as possible; this prolongs your runway.
What has been the most challenging part of your start-up journey so far?
Looking for investment when we are still in the pre-revenue stage. Also, the legal set up for blockchain company is also difficult because there is still no European regulation in place.
What’s next for your business?
Launching a product to the market. Then finish our fundraising campaign and successfully close deal/s.
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