Getting Market Ready: Latin & Code Co-founder Melissa Rautenberg

On November 12, 2020, Professor Silvia Pulino, Director of the JCU Institute of Entrepreneurship hosted Senior Inbound Strategist and Latin & Code Co-founder Melissa Rautenberg for an online talk on how to be market ready for investors.

Melissa Rautenberg

Melissa Rautenberg

With more than ten years in the branding and marketing field, Rautenberg has worked with nonprofit organizations, startups, and worldwide hotel chains such as the Hilton. She is also an educator, regularly delivering lectures, guest appearances, and workshops.

Types of investors
Rautenberg opened her speech by stating that since not all investors have equal agendas, a company has to research their background prior to pitching their plan. In her opinion, the most common type of investors are the so-called ‘angel investors,’ entrepreneurs and business corporate leaders who are mainly involved in the funding and advising area and are willing to make high-risk investments.

“Angel investors are most active when the economy is strong and stable,” said Rautenberg. She also added that in order to measure how angel investors can support the firm’s market, it’s important to understand why they want to join the company’s business and what their background experience in the industry is.

Then, Rautenberg discussed another category of investors, the ‘venture capitalists,’ who collect funds from financial institutions, insurance firms, investment banks, big corporations, and other foundations. According to the speaker, venture capitalists do not always favor risky investments and look for companies that have solid business plans or “some measured successful experience.”

‘Personal investors,’ on the other hand, are friends or family members interested in running a business with the company and establishing long-term relationships based on loyalty.

Company’s overview
The speaker provided an overview of a company’s core elements. She said that when it comes to financial and marketing plans, or products and services, a company needs to assess the motivation behind their existence and the problem they are going to fix, meaning the company’s relevance to their customers. “Each problem is tied directly to why a company exists,” said Rautenberg.

According to the expert, each company needs to structure its business plan, which includes an executive summary, business description and structure, financial plan, marketing strategy and analysis, and budget. The executive summary refers to the company’s 5-minute elevator pitch, which sums up the company’s background, the marketing opportunities, and the management overview. The business description, instead, is where a company outlines its legal structure, availability of material, intellectual property, expenses, manufacturing process, strategic relationships, and inventory.

Sales & marketing
The speaker reported that a key moment when the company presents itself to investors is the display of its historical data, which attests its expertise in leading the business through social media, websites, email marketing campaigns, goals, and future projections. The expert stated that a company should also build a ‘future roadmap,’ which means assessing what the next goals are and how much support it needs from investors.

As reported by the strategist, a company needs to collect information about the target audiences to have a clear idea of what their profiles look like. The secret, according to Rautenberg, is “to visualize the audience, because if you can tell an investor what their problem is, you can tell them what the solutions are.”

Competitor approach
Moreover, a company has to understand how big the market is and its level of competitiveness. It’s important to take into consideration direct competitors, who sell the same type of products and services, and indirect competitors, who sell complementary products. Regarding the company’s approach to competitors, it needs to set itself apart and find its unique way to reach customers by relying on its own competitive advantages and strengths.

“The financial plan is where a company can include conservative projections of its profits,” said the speaker.  Rautenberg claimed that if a firm does not have a lot of data about gains, it should take inspiration from companies that are providing solutions to similar problems. According to the strategist, a company has to find its own way to indicate how it plans to make money, either through subscriptions, transactions, graphs, or other kinds of visual tools.

Rautenberg concluded that another requirement that a company needs to satisfy is the drafting of a term agreement, where the firm and investors set reciprocal expectations regarding their contractual relationship.