For 2018 trends, we asked an expert on what entrepreneurs can expect this coming year in fundraising.
It’s never been cheaper to start a company, but competition has never been fiercer. Only a few years ago, being in Silicon Valley gave startups a leg up. It was instant access to the world’s best network. But the ecosystem has been shifting — a decentralization of knowledge, capital and networks that’s enabling entrepreneurs to attract great investors no matter where they’re based. And this will be the big story of 2018: It’ll be the year that shift becomes a permanent state.
Part of this has to do with technology. A 10-year-old girl in Kenya now has a better library in her pocket than someone a few decades ago had while studying for their Ph.D. at Harvard. And with the rise of crowdfunding platforms, initial coin offerings and global startup programs, founders anywhere can connect with investors, corporations and other entrepreneurs to help them with resources, mentorship and investment. Of course, we’ve had this technology for years. What’s really different is that investors — from the under-the-radar angel investors to the heavy-hitting VC firms — have a new perspective. They’ve seen that startups can thrive anywhere, and they’re eager to find unexpected opportunities beyond their backyards. And more cities have what I like to call local startup ecosystem builders — the people or companies that create momentum.
Entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of this need only go online — or outside! — and start reaching out. Develop relationships with entrepreneurs local and half a world away. Use new tools to build compelling companies of great value. And then, go out there and introduce yourself to investors. Sure, that may still mean flying to a different city, including San Francisco, of course. But investors will be happy to welcome out-of-towners.
— Ryan Baird, Global Startup Manager, G-Startup Worldwide