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May 27, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

Are you Investor ready? Here’s a list of things they care about.

The monthly series follows advice from Gera Grinberg, a successful lawyer and business consultant for major-companies.

The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) is halfway through its popular series, “In the Room” with Gera Grinberg. So far, we have seen four founders face the highly-anticipated “hot seat” and field tough questions that mimic those of investors at major firms like Goldman Sachs.

Grinberg runs the sessions and brings decades of experience as a business lawyer who has negotiated deals totaling more than a trillion dollars. He’s been “in the room” with some of the country’s biggest business and investor minds- including Bill Gates. While Grinberg may be bold and blunt, his advice is respected and sought after by local business owners and start-up founders.

For this month’s session, Grinberg reflected on the past four sessions. The companies in the hot seat were Primeaux, Farm Grub, The Mighty Wig, and Eonix. They couldn’t be more different, and each faced unique challenges from trademarks and roadblocks to scaling to intellectual property and single-points of failure businesses.

“The first thing you have to do is be investor ready – meaning improve your profit margin and cut costs wherever you can,” Grinberg said.

He continued through a list of other things investors care about:

  • A strong leadership team that is results-driven and coachable.
  • Market opportunity and a potential to scale.
  • A unique value proposition.
  • Financial performance: past, present, and future.
  • Market traction, and the “stickiness” of existing customers.
  • A well-defined business model.
  • A thought-out exit strategy, agreed upon by the founding team.
  • A risk assessment, and tolerance level.
  • Are the founders willing to align with investor goals?

In the upcoming sessions for the “In the Room” series, more founders will take the hot seat. The next session is on June 27 from 8 to 10 a.m. EDT.


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