Silicon Valley — it’s synonymous with tech startups. Other big cities, such as Beijing, Berlin, London and New York City to name a few, built their own growing startup ecosystems. For years, conventional wisdom said startup success required relocating to a traditional, big-city innovation hub with extensive networks of tech talent and startup investors.
But more young tech companies are migrating away from the maddening crowds and the higher cost of living to build startups outside of the big hubs. Then COVID-19 turned the migration into an exodus as work went virtual and made geography a moot point.
However, this non-traditional route comes with different challenges. It often requires non-traditional fundraising methods, because some of these founders lack a network of investors beyond the friends and family variety.
It’s an interesting and exciting trend, which is why we’re thrilled to have this trio of investors — Mike Asem, general partner, M25; Rich Wong, partner, Accel and Elizabeth Yin, co-founder and general partner, Hustle Fund — join us on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt on October 18-20.
During this panel discussion, these experts will share tips and strategies for founders who are building outside of the traditional hubs — whether in small U.S. cities and towns or in other countries. They’ll talk about ways founders can make some noise, get noticed and navigate the fundraising process. They’ll also weigh in on the public market downturn and how that’s impacted early-stage fundraising for startups.
You’ll have questions, and here are the people who can provide the answers.
Chicago-based Mike Asem has managed more than 100 investments in early-stage companies such as Cheddar, FanBox and Nexus.AI. Outside of his responsibilities at M25, Ansem is a Kauffman Fellow and a national board member of BLCK VC where he leads initiatives in the Midwest to connect, engage, empower and advance Black venture investors.
Prior to M25, Ansem founded The Anvil, a co-working space and startup incubator on Purdue University’s campus, where he helped launch the first Purdue startup accepted to Y Combinator and many more that have gone on to raise venture capital and get acquired.
Rich Wong joined Accel as a partner in 2006, and he currently serves on the boards of Atlassian, UiPath, Checkr, Instabug, Pyn, Process St, Middesk and Qwilt. Rich also served on the National Venture Capital Association board of directors.
Wong led Accel’s investments in AirWatch (acquired by VMware), Angry Birds/Rovio, MoPub (acquired by Twitter), AdMob (acquired by Google), Dealer.com (acquired by Cox), Osmo (acquired by BYJUs), Parature (acquired by Microsoft), ServiceChannel (acquired by Fortive), Sunrun, SwiftKey (acquired by Microsoft) and 3LM (acquired by Motorola).
Wong previously served as executive vice president and general manager of products for Openwave Systems and as CMO of Covad Communications. He began his career as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble and at McKinsey.
Yin is a co-founder and general partner at Hustle Fund, a pre-seed fund for software entrepreneurs. Its portfolio includes companies such as Possible Finance, Dat Bike and Sydecar.
Previously, Yin was a partner at 500 Startups where she invested in seed-stage companies and ran the Mountain View accelerator. In her prior life, she co-founded and ran an adtech company called LaunchBit (acquired by BuySellAds).
Yin has reviewed more than 20,000 startup pitches from around the world and has helped numerous portfolio founders raise hundreds of millions of dollars.
When you don’t live near a traditional startup hub, understanding the different options to secure funding is essential. It’s especially true in the midst of economic uncertainty when raising could become even more challenging.
Whether you’re an early-stage startup founder, planning to start your own enterprise or bracing for an economic downturn, this panel is designed with you in mind. Join Mike Asem, Rich Wong and Elizabeth Yin for solid advice on ways to improve your fundraising potential.