As part of growing TalentStore into a national and regional learning and development (L&D) platform, we want to put the platform through the stress test of any investor scrutiny. In April, we started a 13-week programme called Founder's Institute Accelerator Programme, after a dinner and drinks networking event.
The Founder Institute is a trusted network in Malaysia. It helps turn ideas into startups. These startups can attract funding and become global businesses.
Since being founded in 2009, its structured accelerator programs have helped over 6,800 entrepreneurs raise over $1.75BN in funding. Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 100 countries, their mission is to empower communities of talented and motivated people to build impactful technology companies worldwide.
We wanted to join a global accelerator program to see if the platform and marketplace could meet investors' standards.
This article is Part 3 of our journey, and if you’re interested in starting at Part 1 and Part 2, do check out the articles here:
Equity and Funding, Legal and More!
Part 3 of our journey was centered more around the funding and equity requirements for startups and how these can help and support the growth of TalentStore. We have some experience in this as we initially raised a seed round in 2021 when we secured funding using the equity crowdfunding (ECF) approach. Given the number of funding options available to startups, there could be multiple articles dedicated to the entire topic; however, the way we look at it is pretty simple:
Milestones to achieve before investor funding:
- Product market fit – getting the product to resonate with customers and suppliers. We also have to have the data to support this.
- We have achieved a stable MVP that can be monetized with TalentStore.
- Having a stable organisational structure – this is also something that we achieved from the start of 2020.
- A clear understanding of our cost and growth trajectory over the next 24 months. Having this nailed down is critical to investor funding success.
Overall, the equity and funding route that we will embark on will be sometime in 2024 once we have figured out each of the above pieces. We won’t bore you with more funding information. However, we thought this image below might help to explain the options available in the ecosystem:
From a traction point of view, this is applicable:
In shaping TalentStore, there is a lot of scope that we need to cover before we push the investor fund option into overdrive. More to come on this in 2024!
By the way, if you’re looking for some great content on equity and funding, check out some resources below.
Valuation for pre-revenue startups: How to value a pre-revenue startup
Valuation for post-revenue startups: How to value a post-revenue startup
Due Diligence Pre-Work: Pre Work around Due Diligence
Closing it Out – Graduation
After 3 months of investor pitchouts, the graduation date finally arrived: 9-Aug-2023!
Definitely, a sobering experience to work with mentors, local directors, and other startups in the region. We definitely went through the work to get to this point, and being part of the FI Alumni is excellent. It was also amazing to be part of the 1st Malaysian cohort of the Founder’s Institute.
Getting down from 97 startup applications for the cohort to 26 startups that qualified and 13 that eventually graduated, was a fantastic experience for everyone involved. Throughout the programme, a few aspects stood out:
- Getting as clear as possible on our “why” behind the platform – what impact we want to see in the market and to our users.
- Finding product market fit!
- Building the mindset for a strong product development focus – how can we be iterating for success?
- The importance of data and tracking – using platform data to understand what drives the platform and how we can leverage it for future success.
- The critical role other startups play in the broader ecosystem – we don’t have all the answers, and that’s really where startups can collaborate and support each other through the journey.
As the image below indicates, the road has just started, and it will be a long journey but ultimately a very rich and fulfilling path! We have just started to move down the road, the momentum is building but it will be up to the team to maintain it for success.
Conclusion of Part 3/3
Overall, it was a great experience to be thrown into the fire and survive the last 13 weeks, and we have a lot more clarity on the mission and vision behind TalentStore.
That alone would have been worth it, but the programme opened doors for mentors, advisors, and experts in various fields. More importantly, it opened the doors to other startup owners and founders that are grinding it out!
Being within such a cohort allows us to appreciate the hard work and intensity required to scale a new product or venture into the world. In 5 years, we could revisit the same startups to see how each of us has evolved, but I sincerely hope that whatever happens, we take away the systems and learnings to succeed in whatever endeavors we pursue.
This concludes our 3-part journey documenting our process through the Founder’s Institute programme. If you’re interested in the programme, do check it out here!
Slides: If you’re interested to see the main slide deck we have for investors, check it out here: Slides View
One more last note: if you’re a Malaysian L&D provider or freelancer, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can discuss having you onboarded as a partner on TalentStore! Training success starts with access!