The evening began with our President Stefan Sysko thanking our Stakeholders and Program Partners for their support. Mike Flanagan from the Michigan Angel Fund, our featured stakeholder for April, told us that Michigan Angel Fund lll recently closed and is making investments.
Stefan then introduced the Showcase Presenter, Tasneen Bowe, the CEO and Founder of Clingfish Products. Tasneen made an outstanding presentation describing Clingfish, a patented vacuum accessory mount that allows use on aluminum-bodied vehicles without damaging the roof or any interior or external elements. NEF coached Clingfish Products recently won first place in the category of “Advanced Materials, Sensors, Actuators, Manufacturing Process” at the 9th Global Automotive & Mobility Innovation Challenge (GAMIC).
Following that our panel gave the audience insights from the entrepreneurs perspective about start-up company financial projections. This month's forum, included outstanding founders and CEOs who have had very successful exits:
Jen Baird, CEO of Accio Energy
Christine Gibbons, Co-Founder/Chief Operating Officer of HistoSonics, Inc.
Dan Rhodes, PhD, CEO, Strata Oncology and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Michigan
The Moderator, leading the discussion, was Stew Nelson, our past President, entrepreneur and investor.
The panel reiterated the facts that there are certain things investors are looking for in the financials presented by entrepreneurs in their executive summary or initial investor pitch when they are seeking funding. Although no forecast can be counted on with certainty, investors look for a sound business model, expectations of sales growth and cash flow, reasonable P&L forecasts, and valid assumptions behind any plan. They also look for red flags: sure signs that the numbers are not to be trusted and that the founding team might need too much help.
The discussion was very enlightening and engaging with the focus on what founders can do to use Financials to emphasize their story (Plans behind the Financials) - what they want investors to know to reinforce the Investment Thesis, i.e., the reasons why an investor would make an investment in the company. The founders on our panel told us what worked and didn't work from the founder perspective.
They emphasized the importance of an entrepreneur fully understanding the projections and all assumptions behind the numbers. They all used the projections and plans as a tool to run their companies and update their plans and projections on a frequent basis so as to avoid cash flow surprises. They also said that although an entrepreneur may have help in putting the plan and projection together, he or she must be aware of the assumptions made in putting it together and must understand how changes in these assumptions will change the projections. Everyone felt that this was a very informative and thought provoking discussion providing value to both entrepreneurs and investors.
This month 71 people joined us at the monthly Forum. The food was great and the networking even better. If you are an entrepreneur or interested in entrepreneurship, New Enterprise Forum is the place to get connected.