Nathan Beckord--Founder's Suite
Nathan Beckord bills himself as a Wingman to startup CEOs providing much needed business development, M&A and financing help to start-up founders as they navigate their way through the complicated ecosystem.
Nathan’s career started in finance as a CFA covering some of the hottest tech companies and IPOs during the first dotcom boom. Nathan leveraged this experience into consulting for new start-ups and helping them get funded. That work consisted of extensive research, hunting down the right contacts at the right VC, tracking conversations and follow-up actions to get to a positive funding outcome. Now with Foundersuite he is building upon that experience to build a new solution that takes advantage of the recent technological innovations and offerings such as cloud, professional social networks such as Angelist, LinkedIn and more to create a robust and centralized platform that acts more like a CRM to centralize, manage and track conversations more effectively.
Just as CRM solutions such as Salesforce look at sales conversations as a funnel and five a visual view into the pipeline, Foundersuite also applies a similar framework to funding using a Kanban board metaphor to visualize stages of investment such as the pitch phase, diligence etc.
As Nathan explains “The Kanban metaphor is great because humans by nature are visual and essentially everything is a funnel.” The old way of managing so many conversations is a spreadsheet not exactly a great solution when things falling through the cracks could mean life and death for a start-up seeking funds. In contract, Foundersuite provides an elegant solution to the problem.
The platform went through a recent face lift and was relaunched in March, and to date tracks over $61 million being raised from startups using Foundersuite. Another feature unique and recently launched is an Investor Update tool which helps founders update their investors by producing quarterly investment reports One startup received an additional $200k of funding from an angel that had previously invested within 10 minutes of sending it out
“Getting the attention of an investor and looking good and standing out is really key” It’s surprisingly hard to make things simple”
Some of the more interesting startups currently using Foundersuite include a technology product that washes, drys and folds your laundry (I want), an environmentally friendly car and a co. called Puca Trade that is based on Magic the Gathering game. Mostly companies are reflective of what’s hot in the marketplace, which means there’s a lot of drone companies, wearables, and IOT.
Having worked with so many founders along the way as well as in his own endeavors means Nathan has seen the qualities in founders that lead to success…In his eyes those traits are total grit and persistence to make it through the tough times and passion – “just starting a company because you see a market opportunity without the passion is not going to carry you through the tough times.” It’s OK to be motivated by money but you need more than that, you need an irrational stubbornness to pursue your goals which goes beyond what most sane people will do. You have to be obsessed.
As founder himself, Nathan has his own issues that keep him up at night… the right KPIs, growth and fundraising.
Lastly, Nathan advises founders to recognize that the journey is going to be a lot harder than you imagine. So for those people wanting to get into the start-up game, buckle up because it’s a bumpy ride!