Is “Stealth Mode” the Right Mode?

28 May

By Maximilian Klietmann, VP of Marketing, LSN

Max Smile 2

We’re in “stealth mode” is one of the most common buzz phrases LSN hears from emerging scientist-entrepreneurs. This is often the cited justification for a lack of Web presence, failure to create formalized materials, and an unwillingness to build a dialogue with investors. However, as noted in my article from last week, stealth mode ranks among the top 10 fundraising misconceptions.

Often, protection of ideas is the primary reason scientist-entrepreneurs give for being in stealth mode. As LSN’s CEO, Dennis Ford, likes to say, “Ideas are more like mushroom spores than lightning strikes: they spread organically and often pop up in several places at the same time. Execution is what determines your success.”

Another reason companies give for being in stealth mode is that they “aren’t ready to approach investors yet.” However, what many entrepreneurs miss is that the right time to approach investors is well in advance of when you need the money. It can take 9-18 months to raise capital, so starting early is in your interest. A proactive approach allows you to introduce your concept to investors, build relationships, and identify what needs to happen for your asset to become “investable” per that investor’s mandate. Then, when you are prepared to actually seek capital, you know who’s interested based on existing dialogue, and you know what questions need to be answered.

In short, it is important to consider the full implications of staying under the radar. There are clear tactical advantages to preparing your target investor audience for your concept. In fact, you may be hindering the progress of your company otherwise.

You don’t need to publicize your IP. Highlight your team’s expertise and story, and call yourself in “discovery mode” rather than “stealth mode.” Then, when you’ve got an asset in place and you need capital, you’ll be able to call upon the relationships you’ve established, which will help your fundraising campaign.

Get the investor world ready for you, and you’ll be ready for it.

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