SPOT Startup Event Recap: Funding

“Your goal should be how am I going to build a great business so investors are pounding at my door,” said Al Bsharah, managing partner of Interlock Capital, when expressing an end goal that all businesses must try to accomplish. It is no secret that securing startup funding can be an arduous journey, and to help North County’s community of founders, Innovate78 and San Diego North Economic Development Council hosted a SPOT Startup Series event centered on funding. The event, held at The Film Hub in Vista, featured a panel of funders and founders who discussed the process of funding and how businesses can better prepare themselves to tackle this key aspect of their business’ growth. The panelists at the event included:

Throughout the event, the panelists discussed the following topics:

  • The long process of startup funding 
  • Tips on achieving the perfect pitch 
  • Qualities investors look for in businesses
  • What investors should look for during the funding process
  • What worked and did not work in the early stage of investing 

The overall conversation was circulating around the long journey startup funding can take and how to cultivate a memorable pitch that will make a business stand out to investors. The following are a few key quotes from the event which emphasize how businesses need to think about startup funding in order to approach the process in a way which will allow their business to grow and succeed in the future.

“You have to consider raising capital as a dating process. You’re not going to get married on the first date, usually, and you’re probably not going to get capital on the first meeting,” said Nathan Firth from New Rocket. “You have to build a relationship, especially in these early stages. The way you get to know the founder, is you take the time to do so.” 

“I think it really depends on the story behind what you’re doing. Does your story connect with the founders? Once you get past the story, you have the product and members, then it is a totally different ball game,” said Carly Stockdale from BestLife Holding. “Don’t let data get in the way of a good story because it helps demonstrate those personal characteristics.” 

“For us as investors, on the early stages, we like to meet people early on to understand them, their story and why they’re building their products,” said Dillon Ferinandi from Slack Fund. “It’s the stress testing of the founder’s ideas and passion, their team and building that relationship.” 

“Probably the most important trait in founders is commitment and grittiness. Demonstrating this way of grit and commitment to getting things done, relentless and non-stop, until you figure it out. I assume when I am investing, that whatever I am investing in, it is part of what will make a great fit. You’re really investing in the people,” said Stockdale. To learn more about events hosted by Innovate78, visit

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