Forum Ventures was recently rebranded from Acceleprise, an accelerator B2B SaaS which has been in existence for close to seven years. Michael says they come in at the early stage of a business and run a four-month associate-based program acting as a continuation of the founding team.
Forum Ventures helps companies devise the right market strategy to identify their ideal customers and edge closer to getting funding. Forum also has a seed fund where they invest in institutional seed rounds. Listen to the podcast to understand how the seed fund works.
The core part of the business is to invest $100,000 to each company that joins the accelerator program. While they may not have enough capital to invest in every company that sets up a seed round from the accelerator program, they strive to invest in companies outside the accelerator.
Michael and his team consider various factors when deciding who to recruit in the accelerator program. First, they look for companies that are in the earliest stages of their operations. To understand a company’s product and vision, Forum works closely with the founders whose product may be in the early stages but not fully developed. Some of them may have customers while others may not. Michael defines that stage in detail, and you can learn all about it from the podcast.
Much of what Forum Ventures does is focus on the team and the market opportunity. When looking for a team, Forum considers their founder market fit and tries to understand what they know about the problem they are solving or their target market. They also seek to determine how great the founders are; a term Michael says he detests. Find out his reasons from the podcast.
According to Michael, you do not know a good founder. Instead, he says they determine the characteristics that a great founder and leader would have. Listen to Michael as he gives an in-depth explanation of these traits.
How big or small should a team be to qualify for the Forum Ventures accelerator program? Michael says they do not have complicated rules regarding the team’s size as long as they have an excellent market fit and understand their products extensively. Michael mentions some common traits that make companies successful during the accelerator program in this podcast.
Forum Ventures has a structure that helps companies track their KPIs, which Michael says is different for each company. Get details of how the structure works from the podcast. To acquire the $100,000 funding, companies give up 7.5% equity to Forum Ventures. This arrangement may not make much sense to all companies, but it works for a significant number of companies, according to Michael.
Forum has carved a niche in the industry as a reliable provider capable of acquiring more funding for the companies after the accelerator program. Michael gives some practical examples in the podcast.
Michael says the $100,000 capital that companies joining the accelerator program get should last for the entire four-month program. He also mentions what a company should achieve at the end of the program in terms of performance. Get all the details from the podcast.
The SaaS industry is fast becoming overly competitive. What criteria does Forum Ventures use to determine a company’s potential for success? Michael says they focus on five things: vertical SaaS, the future of work, supply chain logistics, and FinTech, insurance, and tech-based stuff.
Michael explains these concepts in detail, complete with illustrations. He concludes the podcast by mentioning that while angel investing can be great, it’s one industry where being connected to the ecosystem is critical. Investors should also know that some of the companies may not work. If you are new to angel investing, consider doing it in angel groups where you can learn and gain experience before risking your money, he says.