What Challenges Do Non-Tech Startups Face in Seed Funding?


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What Challenges Do Non-Tech Startups Face in Seed Funding?

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What Challenges Do Non-Tech Startups Face in Seed Funding?

Securing seed funding presents a unique set of challenges for non-tech startups, which is why we’ve gathered insights from CEOs and Founders. From showcasing non-tech scalability to demonstrating finance product market fit, explore the diverse perspectives of ten industry leaders on overcoming these hurdles.

  • Showcase Non-Tech Scalability
  • Articulate Niche Market Strategies
  • Quantify Social Impact ROI
  • Present Event Risk Management
  • Highlight Retail Location Strategy
  • Leverage Finance Industry Networks
  • Identify Suitable Non-Tech Investors
  • Develop Timeless Branding
  • Emphasize Business Model Scalability
  • Demonstrate Finance Product Market Fit

Showcase Non-Tech Scalability

A unique challenge for non-tech startups in securing seed funding lies in demonstrating scalability and rapid growth potential, which are often less apparent than in tech ventures. From my experience, non-tech startups must emphasize innovative business models, market disruption capabilities, and strong customer acquisition strategies to attract investors. One effective approach we’ve seen involves leveraging detailed market analysis and proof of concept to showcase the startup’s potential for high returns, despite not being in the tech sector. This strategy has proven crucial in overcoming initial investor skepticism.

Roman BorissovRoman Borissov
CEO, SEO-Migration.services

Articulate Niche Market Strategies

For non-tech startups, particularly those in niche markets, in my opinion, a unique challenge is proving the size and accessibility of the target market to seed investors. Tech startups often benefit from a global, easily accessible market through digital platforms, whereas non-tech startups may target smaller, more specific demographics or industries. Articulating a clear strategy for market penetration and growth within these niche markets is essential. It involves detailed market research and a compelling case for why this targeted approach can lead to strong, sustainable growth and returns on investment.

Chad SultanaChad Sultana
Founder, Chad Sultana

Quantify Social Impact ROI

In the realm of non-tech, community-focused startups, a unique challenge is illustrating the tangible ROI of social impact initiatives to potential seed investors. Often, the value created by fostering community engagement and support isn’t directly quantifiable in the short term, making traditional investment pitches more complex.

To address this, I recommend developing a comprehensive impact measurement framework that highlights the long-term economic and social benefits of such work, including increased local spending and improved community well-being. Presenting this data has been crucial in securing funding by demonstrating that the startup not only has a positive social impact but also contributes to sustainable economic development.

Ian SellsIan Sells
CEO, Million Dollar Sellers

Present Event Risk Management

For non-tech startups operating in the events industry, a unique challenge is the inherent risk associated with event-based revenue models, which can be unpredictable and highly sensitive to external factors such as economic downturns or public health crises. In seeking seed funding, my advice is to focus on presenting a robust risk management strategy that includes diversifying event types, leveraging technology to offer virtual event capabilities, and securing insurance to protect against cancellations. This approach reassures investors of the startup’s resilience and adaptability, showcasing the ability to navigate the volatility of the events industry successfully.

Ryan ZomorodiRyan Zomorodi
COO & Co-Founder, Real Estate Skills

Highlight Retail Location Strategy

In the world of non-tech startups, particularly those in the physical retail space, a unique challenge is the high overhead costs associated with maintaining brick-and-mortar locations. This financial burden can be a significant barrier to securing seed funding, as investors may be wary of the upfront capital required versus the potential return on investment.

To combat this, I suggest emphasizing the strategic selection of locations based on thorough market research, demonstrating the potential for high foot traffic and customer engagement. Additionally, highlighting the integration of e-commerce channels to create a hybrid business model shows investors a diversified revenue stream that mitigates the risks associated with physical retail.

Brooke WebberBrooke Webber
Head of Marketing, Ninja Patches

Leverage Finance Industry Networks

From my perspective, securing seed funding for non-tech finance startups has been challenging due to the heavy reliance on personal networks within the investment community. Unlike the tech sector, which has a plethora of incubators, accelerators, and venture capitalists keen on the latest app or platform, non-tech sectors require navigating a more traditional and often less accessible financing landscape. Overcoming this challenge involves strategically leveraging existing networks, attending industry-specific events, and sometimes seeking alternative funding sources, such as grants or angel investors with a particular interest in finance.

Bert HofhuisBert Hofhuis
Founder, Every Investor

Identify Suitable Non-Tech Investors

The biggest unique challenge for non-tech startups is finding the right type of investors. It’s relatively easy to find seed investors for tech startups, as they’re professionalized and publicized; however, finding someone who will invest in a local dry-cleaner roll-up strategy or a restaurant is going to be more challenging, since that information is not well-publicized.

Jordan HollanderJordan Hollander
CEO, HotelTechReport

Develop Timeless Branding

In the fashion industry, non-tech startups often grapple with the challenge of rapid trend cycles and the need for constant innovation to stay relevant. This environment can make it difficult for startups to predict long-term viability and growth, which is a key concern for investors. To tackle this challenge, focus on developing a strong brand identity rooted in timeless designs and sustainable practices, rather than fleeting trends. I believe that this strategy appeals to investors by presenting a startup as a stable, forward-thinking investment in an otherwise volatile market.

Michael NemeroffMichael Nemeroff
CEO & Co-Founder, Rush Order Tees

Emphasize Business Model Scalability

Securing seed funding for non-tech startups can be challenging, as investors often prefer tech-related ventures. To overcome this, emphasize your business model’s scalability in the pitch. Use successful case studies to showcase how innovative strategies can drive substantial growth without relying on advanced technology. Tailor your approach to challenge traditional investor biases and highlight your unique scalability.

Mohammed KamalMohammed Kamal
Business Development Manager, Olavivo

Demonstrate Finance Product Market Fit

In my opinion, the difficulty in showcasing a non-tech finance product’s market fit and potential impact—without the ‘wow factor’ of technology—can hamper seed-funding efforts. Building trust and credibility in the finance sector without a tech component requires presenting robust market research, customer testimonials, and pilot-program results to demonstrate value proposition and market demand.

Gillian DewarGillian Dewar
Chief Financial Officer, Crediful

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