The first Monday of our elevate61 program was a huge success - without a doubt an indication of what’s to come over the next ten days. Assembled in sunny LA, the eleven participating companies brought their A-game. 

Yesterday, the participants congregated in Santa Monica for their initial welcome session, facilitated by Amanda Price, SVP Innovation of Advance and Tricia Lew, KPMG. 

Jodi Fox, founder of Shoes Of Prey spoke to the group at El Cholo in Santa Monica, and shared a range of thoughts and observations on moving to the US and being based in LA. The timing of these was perfect as Jodi and the Shoes of Prey team had moved in August 2015 and very recently closed a US$15M round, both the move and raise being fresh in Jodi's mind. 

Two key questions we aim to help the elevate61 cohort with – should I move? And what does it take to raise capital in the US? In terms of pitching in the US, Jodi offered the advice of; know your metrics, be prepared to have both high and low capital requests in your back pocket and be prepared to pitch anywhere – the kitchen, the beach, the pool, the supermarket. And expect every pitch to be different!

Her final advice was there is no room for being humble (but don't be arrogant either) as you are constantly selling yourself and your business.

Following a good night's sleep - combatting some jetlag - a Monday has never looked so interesting. After breakfast and introductions in Santa Monica, the seminars began. Here are the key takeaways from the day:   

9:15am: Bringing your A-Game. Nick Bishop, Pioneer - Aussie Pie Kitchen Siimon Reynolds, Founder - Siimon Reynolds Consulting Simon Anderson, Co-founder & Chairman - Akanda.

From the outside the US market can look bigger, more sophisticated and complex but the reality is at its core the business of selling is no different in that you need a funnel, qualification and the ability to close and fulfil orders.  The real difference is in the American Psyche where they have more self-belief. 

10am: Navigating the legal and investment strategy in the US. Chris Shoff, Partner, Cooley

LA has a strong angel scene. Hit your milestones and be clear on the proof points to support your capital raise, when capital raising “take a little more cash than you think you might need”.

11am: LA's Booming Tech Scene: The trends, investors and people you need to know. Edward Wilson, Anthos Capital Tiffany Li, Anthos Capital Erin Shipley, Karin Ventures.

Valuations are becoming more rational and money is still available to good companies and certainly not a bubble bursting at the moment. Founders need to be able to demonstrate flexibility in thinking and good business logic as what will happen from seed to A and B rounds in not knowable and want to see an ability in teams to handle uncertainty.

12:45pm: The LA startup scene, Insights from a LA based early stage investment fund. Dan Dato, Co-Founder, Cross Campus.

1:15pm: Insights from a LA based early stage investment fund. Kelly Hanker, Mucker Labs

1:45pm: Scaling: Presentation and Discussion. Scaling: What does it take to scale well? How do you sustain a certain mindset as you scale? How leadership and hiring becomes increasingly complex as your business grows. With Michael Barton, Startup Executive, Strategy Consulting.

Moving into growth is when most founder teams run into challenges – it's often time for the founder to step out of the business.

3:30pm: Centre of the Bullseye: Presentation & Discussion. The Centre of the Bullseye: How do VCs work internally | 5 things VCs are looking for | 5 risk criteria. Michael Barton, Startup Executive, Strategy Consultin


We look forward to sharing more updates with you as the tour unfolds!