Why getting together is important

by: | Jul 03, 2014

Last month, we gathered with New Media Ventures investors and entrepreneurs for the second annual NMV Summit. Check out our video for a taste of what went down.

New Media Ventures 2014 Summit from Panhandle Productions on Vimeo.

At the Summit, we heard 18 pitches from the companies and organizations within the NMV portfolio. From organizing millions of people online to win campaigns on gender equality and workplace safety, to providing key technology infrastructure to hundreds of progressive organizations, what this group has accomplished is absolutely extraordinary.

Here is what we learned:

Early money is super important.

For many startups in the portfolio, NMV was the first philanthropic donor or the lead investor in a seed round. We’ve found that a relatively small amount of money at the early stage, coupled with introductions to other funders and some fundraising guidance, can be a huge help for new organizations.

Early stage financing is often the hardest money to raise. It’s risky, and the funding decision process is different than in typical grantmaking or later stage investments. At NMV, we’re continuously working to expand and strengthen our capacity to fund at the early stages.

Sometimes entrepreneurs and investors speak different languages.

At NMV, we are committed to building a community of both entrepreneurs and investors. And, we find that sometimes they speak different languages, particularly when dealing with both nonprofit and for profit institutions.

We had a ton of positive feedback about a funder panel we hosted aimed at opening up the sometimes opaque fundraising process for entrepreneurs, and heard a lot of good ideas about how we can continue to help entrepreneurs and investors understand one another better.

Community takes time, but is totally worth it. 

I’ll admit it: the first NMV Summit last year was awesome, but it also kind of felt like a first date. There was a ton of excitement, and a little awkwardness as people got to know one another. Since then, the NMV community has gotten stronger, and relationships deeper, creating a much more palpable sense of community. The atmosphere in this year’s Summit certainly reflected that shift.

And, we still have work to do. We had a lot of great conversations how best to connect funders and entrepreneurs to one another,  and we will be experimenting a bit with ideas we heard in the weeks ahead.  We believe strongly that the community of both entrepreneurs and investors at NMV is it’s biggest strength. Unlocking the full potential within the community to provide further support to the NMV portfolio, while driving the entire sector forward, is something we think about every day.

All in all, the Summit was awesome. Hearing things like “Can we do this twice a year?” gives us an inkling that we did something right.