Ask Me Anything featuring Adeleke Omitowoju

Question 1:

Q) What are some suggestions for those who don't have family and friends with enough capital to get them started?

A) Given the depth of information on the internet and the lack of capital availability on the east coast, we always recommend deep customer discovery before seeking capital raises.

What this means is that you should treat your first customer as your first source of capital. This does a couple of things... 1) it validates that you have identified a customer segment that sees value in your idea 2) it puts cash in your pocket to work on and perfect your solution/business model and 3) it demonstrates to potential investors that you are crafty enough to get around barriers, i.e., a lack of resources.

Every idea and business is different, but people are wary of signing over checks to ideas these days (we'll see the ICO market collapse soon for instance). But I think that we have to get back to the fundamentals of building things that people actually want. Part of what we do at project 500 and what McKeever E. Conwell is pioneering in Baltimore is the establishment of standards of practice and a culture of toughness whereby the capital readiness is a prerequisite of fundraising as opposed to an idea qualifying you to seek funding.

For folks that have an idea and are looking for early-stage capital, Tedco is doing some amazing work to provide capital to folks based in MD. Obviously, Score3 is building out a network of angel investors, but again, my suggestion would be to spend more time selling to customers and closing initial deals so that success is not 100% dependent on outside funding. Your success with customers and your ability to build a base of repeat business will get you noticed.

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