Trends for Tech Startups and the Investment Community

Last week we attended Photonics West 2023 in San Francisco, for the latest in optics, lasers, imaging, and sensing technology. We had the opportunity to sit on the start-up panel, where entrepreneurs pitched their optics and photonics businesses.

Expert panelists shared guidance for start-ups in the Investment session and Start-up Challenge. Here are some highlights:  

  • The right investor changes as you grow. Once you're past the seed stage and have a few customers, look to the industry. More than funding, you'll gain expert advisors. Once you’re to market, it's time to look for a strategic investor or maybe VC. Shift your board to advisors who know the space.
  • The buzzword in investing now? Semiconductor. The market is beginning to understand that photonics is an enabler to lots of hot markets, and value it accordingly. Supply chain. How do I fit into it, address it, secure it? A supply chain play can strengthen your value proposition. On the flip side, expect to be able to address your own supply chain in fundraising.
  • "Longest wait for a recession ever." VC capital may slow as they anticipate the need to shore up their existing investments.
  • Prepare for valuations dropping, as the terms are not as favorable as a year ago. Make sure you have multiple irons in the fire. 

Straight talk from Shahida Imani, Sujatha Ramanujan, and other panelists:

  1. Be honest with yourself. Don’t drink your own Kool-Aid!
  2. Don’t engage with rotten people.
  3. Keep showing up to the arena.

Looking for a strong marketing plan for your start-up business? We’ve created a guide with sales and marketing best practices for five different stages of growth.

Lifecycle of a Tech Company