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Given the fact that most all industries are currently being re-evaluated and re-imagined, it is only fitting that long-standing approaches to funding tech startups are now also beginning to be more deeply critiqued. Indeed, the traditional venture capital model is slowly being chipped away via a variety of angles to make way for a new, dynamic era.
With increased pressure to not only invest in a greater number of diverse tech founders but also to increase the diversity of firm partners, trends in slight shifts are finally beginning to take place. Yet certain founders are starting to seek entirely new models that veer completely away from the standard VC model altogether. The ICO option, initially believed to be an overall fundraising panacea, has cooled due to a number of issues. But many new founders are still determined to find innovative ways around what is seen to be either impenetrable access and/or stringent parameters of today’s VCs. As a result, they are gathering both formally and informally with the hope of developing new solutions that could enable them to begin to tip the scales more favor of the founder.
One such event is becoming an annual mecca-of-sorts for such discussion. Founders are beginning to gather to explore new routes to increased business success via a conference called Inflection Con where part of the mission is to examine new approaches to funding.
Set to take place June 13 and 14 in New York City, Inflection is in its second year and is the brainchild of Frank Denbow, Startup Advocate, Microsoft. He says that the goal of the conference is to create an event that focuses on building profitable companies, building revenue, finding ways to scale all while minimizing the reliance on venture capital funding and maximizing ownership and optionality for startups.
This is no small feat.
The event contains of action-oriented talks and workshops to help founders progress in every area. This is about support for the entrepreneur who deeply values independence, viability, and impact. Sponsors include Microsoft for StartUps, Sagelabs, Alley and is powered by Verizon.
“I got the idea for this event given my own experience having to self-fund my previous company and wanting to see more stories of how others were able to build companies that focused on revenue,” Denbow explains.
Inflection Con is unique because attendees are actually vetted, ensuring diverse perspectives and true commitment. Speakers are also encouraged to share unique entrepreneurial stories exclusive to the event.
If there is any doubt as to the level of seriousness of this conference, look no further than the section of its website which reads, “We take accountability for your success: if you are not able to move your business forward, we will refund you.”
“Yeah, we mean that,” Denbow smiles. “We don’t take any of this lightly. These are ideas in the making. So as part of our commitment, we’ll be following up with our attendees and helping to build community within the companies that attended, giving them some long term support that hopefully helps them to grow.”
And then, there’s the money factor.
Ticket holders can apply to present as one of five finalists in the startup competition with $100,00 in prizes to help their business.
The Grand Prize winner will receive $250,000 in fee-free financial processing from Stripe, $15,000 in product development services from Little Universe, $15,000 in brand development services from Scout Lab, $12,000 in Microsoft Azure credits + services and mentorship from Microsoft for Startups and $10,000 in product marketing services from Sage Labs.
While many might say that the strength of traditional approaches to start-up growth is not without merit, Denbow and his team are undaunted.
“Not everyone has a business that is ready for venture capital or maybe wants to or can go that route so entrepreneurs need to continue to follow models that can work for their style of business,” explains Denbow. “In the future, there will be many more revenue-based financing options, along with financing that gives more immediate payback for investors with more ownership left to creators.”
June 6, 2019 at 05:03AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs