Start-up coaching with lawyer Dr Tilman Schrecker

Investor meetings - unavoidable for start-ups and usually vital for survival. The pressure that often builds up weeks in advance is correspondingly high.

All the more helpful: the workshop with attorney Dr Tilman Schrecker on 24 September 2020 at the OPENFUX in Karlsruhe.

In addition to valuable input from our expert, there were also many opportunities for questions, dialogue and networking and, above all, to put what we had learned into practice. We at innoWerft also listened intently to Tilman Schrecker and had great fun exchanging ideas with you.

In his presentation, Tilman Schrecker first took on the role of our founders and outlined what successful preparation for such a meeting looks like. He addressed various points which, if taken into account, often help to reduce the tension before the investor meeting: explicitly realising who your counterpart is, the prevailing framework conditions and how you can make them your own, what resources you have and also thinking through possible follow-up scenarios are just some of these aspects.

He also presented strategies that can help you stay focussed during such a meeting and thus appear more confident. Being determined and attentive during such a meeting is sometimes half the battle. Being clear about your own negotiating position, what compromises you are prepared to make and also what boundaries you don't want to cross. He went into guarantees and securities, which led to a few chuckles here and there. Of course, not only early founders strive for guarantees, but how realistic are they these days?

If you think about this question for just a moment, you quickly realise that there are no guarantees for either side that this project will succeed. There is always some residual risk, hence his apt quote from Clint Eastwood: "If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster."

From the creation of a business model, proper time management and possible contractual terms (or as the lawyer says: information memorandum) and the letter of intent, to the creation of a business plan, Tilman Schrecker went into many very helpful topics and explained their role in relation to discussions with investors. Already during the presentation, but especially during the breaks and after the official part, he took the time to answer all questions from our founders.

A lot of input that could be applied practically in the subsequent role play. The scenario, the negotiating table: A young company wants to develop a new machine and needs 3 million euros to do so... A scenario that was not at all unfamiliar to many of our founders. Then it started: start-ups versus investors. We really enjoyed watching how animatedly the participants took part in this exercise. How they empathised with both positions and how they were able to understand both perspectives.

The official part of our workshop flew by. Afterwards, we headed out of the seminar room and into the foyer. A buffet was already waiting there and the aroma of freshly grilled food was spreading. After 4 hours of workshop, everyone involved had more than earned a hearty dinner. Initially, there was a lot of enthusiasm about the catering, but this was quickly replaced by an interest in exchanging ideas with the other founders. Both we at innoWerft and the other participants had great conversations, got to know new people behind unfamiliar faces and, above all, communicated professional points of view and visions.

The event couldn't have gone better for us. The professional input was there, interested founders were present and everything was organised in a very warm atmosphere. We can hardly wait for the next event and are grateful to be able to support such great start-ups and the people behind them.