FOUNDER FOCUS: ANDi Games Ltd
We ask all of our entrepreneur users to share their funding journeys, for other start-ups to learn about how their peers approach raising capital.
Today’s story is with Ben Woolf (https://www.linkedin.com/in/ben-woolf-86b86156), CEO of ANDi Games Ltd.
What’s the name of the company?
ANDi Games Ltd.
What’s your elevator pitch?
First stage product, ‘Tinder for Games’, matching the best games with the players based on their interests. Separating mobile games from the app stores and using conventional dating mechanisms to solve mobile game discovery, providing a central place for the games, VR, eSports and content personalised for users.
When did you start trying to raise your most recent round?
How did you work out which investors you were going to approach?
I researched the top 200 gaming companies in the UK and some over the US, then found every founding member and senior staff member through CrunchBase, (including firms and angels that invested in them) from here I went on LinkedIn and found who I had mutual connections with and did a big referral campaign and was introduced to the majority on the list who were capable of being involved with startups/still in business.
What documentation did you initially send to your targeted investors? I.e. a one pager? a short slide deck? a long slide deck?
Deck and executive summary.
Was there a typical response from the investors you targeted?
Further discussion about revenues and acquisition.
Have you received any interest from investors and have you had any meetings?
What common questions have you been asked by investors?
This varies, I do not have a secure commonality yet beyond the discussions in revenue and acquisition techniques
Is there anything you wish you hadn’t said in an investor meeting?
What do you wish you had said, that you didn’t say?
I can’t remember, I still talk to most of them and they are on my newsletter. One person asked me what I would say if I was in a Techcrunch article and I said well that’s a pretty stupid question because they don’t please my target audience and don’t define if a company will be successful or not.
In your opinion, what are the “no-nos” worth bearing in mind when talking to investors?
Contradiction, and conversation outside of your product or sector.
Have you got any advice for other entrepreneurs who are preparing for an investor meeting?
New startups need to know when it’s the right time to fundraise or even if they should and why? Regardless you need to be in communication with angels and investors all the time and bringing more people into your network constantly. You can have in your mind who you want to raise from but it will likely be the last person you can imagine. An American friend of mine follows our monthly newsletter, and while in Vegas he mentioned he is ready to hand us some cash to support our ongoing raise, that was great! I mentioned if he knows anyone else we should ask, he said go ask Mike Leven, his the previous president of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation who own several hotels on the strip. “Are you serious Alan?” “Yeah, he has a lot of money and we’re good friends, no harm in trying” I personally have known Mike for several years but we have never properly spoken before and I didn’t want to just walk over and ask him for money – that is insanely rude. But my friend had a breakfast meeting with him the next morning at 6.30am and said I can come interrupt at around 7am. So that’s my moment, I ended up staying up late the night before because I spent time with other good people getting drunk but got up on time and made my way over to the breakfast bar in the Tropicana hotel. I see them sitting in the distance, they have not yet seen me… But I froze. I’m scared to go over and join their table off the cuff. So, what do I do, I feel flakey and walk in circles back downstairs and back up keeping out of eyesight until I could sum up the courage and the approach. Instead of asking for money, which was my goal, I considered what I would say to Mike if I only had one chance to say something personal and meaningful. So, I walk over to the table, in a very warm and immediate manner they invite me to sit. Mike is telling a story to everyone and they are mid discussion. 20 minutes go by and I had not yet said a word, then Mike says he is ready to go and prepare for his flight home, but before doing so turns to me, knowing I must have a reason for joining their breakfast. “Mike, before you go, I want you to know that over these last years we may not have spoken much, but instead I listen, and still to this day you inspire me and have helped build the values that I work upon. I didn’t want to be rude, so I thought if I had one thing I could tell you that was it, but otherwise my joining your breakfast had a purpose. Alan has been following my company’s progress and had said it would be worth my time asking you to help support our business financially and I would love if you can be involved” Mike responded, “I don’t make angel investments” (ouch) and went into what was essentially a lesson as to what he knows about raising money, investors and more. Then finishes with “but… I do give money to people I like, so I will give you some money toward your business”.
Have you raised anything so far as a result of your efforts?
If you have raised money, what do you think was the most compelling factor about you/ the business?
I make what I say happen.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced along the way?
When people ask my story, it reaches the point that going into technology was a fear of mine, and what it takes to overcome this.
What’s your overall view on the UK funding market? Tough? Easy? Over-hyped?
Tough and less knowledgeable than San Francisco. The UK is risk adverse and media centric, I have seen many products that don’t work raise money because they had a good graph or a little bit of press, but the founders had no idea on business or further product development – That is due to the angels being financially focused and not technology savvy either.
Be on time! Work hard and work smart, be persistent, be prepared to sweat, feel pain and never give in. You need to be ruthless but always polite and kind, build a good network of advisors and mentors while understanding it doesn’t matter who you know but it matters who knows you. A lot of lessons I learnt from asking wealthy people about their stories and how they made their successes.