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[email protected] - 01 / 06 / 2023

5 Strategies To Achieve Growth And Funding As An Early-Stage Founder

Here at EHE Capital, we’re passionate about supporting entrepreneurs seeking fast growth and funding. Recently on the Fast Growth Stories podcast, Ryan Lawrence, the founder of Betmate shared his growth story, charting the highs, lows, and investment insights which have taken Betmate to where they are today.

Betmate is a responsible, social, people vs people betting platform and they’ve had an incredibly successful year so far – from being named as a Tech Nation Rising Star Finalist to successfully completing a funding round.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best practices and strategies that underpinned Betmate’s growth and how you can apply them to your early-stage startup.

Have a clear understanding of what investors are looking for

Understanding what investment committees tend to look for is one of the most important steps to take in the fundraising stage of your business. By having a clear understanding of these expectations, founders can tailor their strategies and pitch to attract potential investors.

Ryan: “In my placement year, I worked at a startup accelerator incubator programme as a product owner. This experience – working closely with entrepreneurs in the inception stage of their journey – opened my eyes to the process of building a startup. I also worked a little bit as an investment associate startup mentor, working closely with the early-stage founders who were getting a pitch ready for investment. I always felt like it was important to understand what the key drivers are for a VC, including how we could build that into the very early stages of Betmate. All these experiences helped shape my understanding of what an investment committee would look for in an early-stage idea.”

Know your value proposition

Founders need to have a clear understanding of their business landscape. Beyond simply knowing what investors want, it’s crucial to put in the legwork to identify your user offering – your unique value proposition – and paint a clear picture of your roadmap, including all the major milestones needed to bring this vision to life.

For Ryan and his co-founder, Declan, the nights spent identifying problems within the industry and creating a lean canvas paved the way for a successful business model.

Ryan: “It started with Declan and I identifying the major problem with the betting industry. It was broken, and I felt there was a space to be more responsible and social. We then shared a few of our ideas and experiences, and from then on, these ideas and visions remained at the back of our minds as we began to map out the journey. We would stay late after work and set out value propositions and lean canvases to map out the early-stage journey.

Although I still hadn’t finished university at the time, we still wanted to plot out what the journey could look like and it wasn’t until a few years later that we had the financial ability to quit our jobs and go full-time on Betmate. Spending hours building out the early landscape allowed us to start validating the assumptions and ideas that we had. This helped us to create, very early on, a user panel that we could tap into and build out the first iteration of Betmate.”

And this leads us on to the very next step in success:

Go full steam ahead
For most early-stage founders, it can be challenging – and maybe even terrifying – to simply take the plunge and go full-time with their business. However, in most cases, business growth stems from dedicating all your time to nurturing it and laying strategic frameworks within the business to support your vision.

And that’s exactly what Ryan did! He ripped off the plaster and went full steam ahead – even though, as he admits, it was a frightening decision at the time.

Ryan: “One of the central ideas from my previous workplace was that you shouldn’t give up your day job. Instead, validate, build an audience, and then once it becomes a ‘real business,’ you can go full steam ahead. But because of the sheer size of the industry we were trying to tackle, the problem we had identified, and the amount of regulation behind that, we felt that we needed to spend as much time as we could in those infant stages. And that served as a catalyst for us taking the plunge and going full-time.”

Track and incorporate user feedback

Every piece of user feedback is an invaluable resource when it comes to shaping the future of your business. It’s incredibly important to build a user pattern and listen to said users by tracking their problems and incorporating this feedback into your product. This helps you identify common frustrations and align customer expectations with the product features.

Ryan: “We built a user pattern and then decided to plot out a series of interviews that we would have with each one of these potential users. We tried to focus on open-ended questions about the problems that they saw with the industry and the problems that they had personally experienced with different games.

We recorded these conversations and plotted the feedback in a Google Sheet to get qualitative data and better build out an analysis on what people’s frustrations and feelings were; and then that eventually became the V1 of Betmate.”

Invest in the right networks

Being able to build connections – not only with customer groups but with stakeholders and other entrepreneurs within the industry as well – lays a strong foundation for accelerated growth. You’ll make your business well known among key people within the industry, ultimately making it easier to hire the right people who will walk in and get their hands dirty from the get-go.

Ryan: “Networking events are a great way to get out there and allow people to learn more about your story. In hindsight, it’s probably something that I wish we had done a little bit sooner. But now, as we attend more and more of these events, it seems like people have heard of our story, and it builds that network even further, which is hopefully something that will stand us in good stead as we progress through this journey.”

Ryan certainly shared some insightful nuggets of wisdom. What’s more, his hard work shines through the incredible wins Betmate has had this year, and the opportunities lying ahead for them.

Has this blog helped you lay the right foundations as an early-stage founder?

If you would like to find out more about how EHE Capital can support you with fast growth and funding, drop us a line or check out our online community to get all the support you need to grow your business your way.


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