On Thursday, February 1st, Erhan Soyer-Osman (Stern ‘13) held VC Office Hours at the Leslie eLab and met with teams from the J-Sprint, Prototyping Fund, and Ignite programs. Erhan is an investor at Two Sigma Ventures where he focuses on early-stage companies using advanced technology across different sectors. Prior to Two Sigma, Soyer-Osman served as the Director of Corporate Development and Investor Experience at Jet.com.
Participants came prepared with questions regarding raising capital, using metrics to gauge startup success, and what to look for in a VC. Erhan advised on these topics and also provided coaching on branding and effective storytelling. While NYU founders frequently collaborate and learn from each other, VC Office Hours give the unique opportunity to receive startup advice from a venture capitalist who works with a lot (and sees even more) startups, thus giving teams a glimpse into the “other side” of the fundraising table.
When asked what trends he sees in successful entrepreneurs, Erhan spoke about the importance of founders possessing the appropriate combination of skills to execute the vision. “...[VCs] make investments in co-founders who have the right skills to provide a competitive advantage.” Of the teams he works with, it is typical for the co-founders to have different, complementary areas of expertise. Erhan also adds that in the early stages, when most startups cannot afford to hire additional staff, the onus falls on the founders to set the vision, find product-market fit, and become an expert in all areas of the company.
Interested in learning more about when and how to raise VC or how to articulate a compelling value proposition? Check out recent Startup School videos and book an appointment with a Blackstone LaunchPad coach today.
About Office Hours:
Office hours are by invitation-only and a chance for startup teams to receive expert coaching on specific issues and challenges they face. Priority access to office hours is given to teams participating in programs including Ignite Fellowships, $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge, Healthcare Makerthon, Prototyping Fund, J-Term Startup Sprint, Summer Launchpad, and those recommended by Blackstone Launchpad coaches.