Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur and chairman of VaynerX. He holds dozens of startup competitions every year including the WeWork Creator Global event in Los Angeles. He sat down with Forbes magazine to give an insiders perspective on keys and trends to help any purpose-driven founders and startups.
I don’t like coming into a pitch night with preconceived notions about who should win, so I actually don’t do much research beforehand. Instead of poring through decks, I first have to be there and listen to the pitch where I ask myself three fundamental questions: Do I think it’s a successful business? And if it’s not, the conversation ends there. But if I do believe in the business idea, I next ask myself whether I believe this person has the capability to drive the mission of the business. The last question is, if things go awry, is this founder also capable of adjusting to that reality and correcting the course? I’m judging the person’s grasp of the technology or industry as well as relying on my decade of experience in Internet investing. It’s a mix of intuition and living in the moment of the founder’s live pitch.
Investing is a two way street, and if investors don’t feel that the founder is at the very least capable of creating and maintaining a successful enterprise, the pitch will be dead in the water.
Vaynerchuk outlines four areas that a startup needs to pay attention to in order to build success.
- Social Media – founders need to think diversely so as not to be at the mercy of a short term trend.
- Creating Impact – founders need to be careful about hiding behind the idea of doing good as a PR stunt if they are in a social enterprise. They need to “back up” that they are doing good and creating impact with real numbers.
- Audience Engagement – Social Media is the oxygen to any startup in 2019. In addition to creating prolific quality content, founders need to be thoughtful about how and to whom their ads are posting.
- Fundraising – Venture capital, while important, should not be the only source of funding. Look to high-net-worth investors, angel investors, family and friends, as well as startup grants and competitions.