Anthony Millin: Fundraising and Startups, Like PB&J
This week we had the privilege of speaking with Anthony Millin, serial and veteran entrepreneur, venture capitalist, startup attorney and chair of NEXT, Powered by Shulman Rogers — a new model for the delivery of legal services for startups. To say Millin is well-versed in the entrepreneur space would be an understatement. We all know one of the parts about starting a company is something we wish just grew on trees: money. Fundraising and startups go together like peanut butter and jelly, but what are the best practices when it comes to raising money to keep your company thriving and protected? Millin hones in.
1. What do you love most about the DC Startup Community?
The people. The DC startup community is comprised of a group of amazing, talented, accomplished, passionate and interesting people who care deeply about the local ecosystem and how to continue to build and expand it.
2. Tells us a little bit about yourself and your business.
I have a legal and finance background and have also co-founded several companies in the healthcare technology and education space. Additionally, I am a venture partner in Urban Us, a seed stage venture capital fund investing in Urban Tech, that also runs URBAN-X, a pre-seed Urban Tech accelerator in partnership with BMW.
The majority of my time is spent building and chairing NEXT, powered by Shulman Rogers. NEXT, the future of startup law ™, is a new model for the delivery of legal services. NEXT has productized a broad range of legal services needed by startup and emerging growth companies. A variety of legal services are 1) offered through predictable fixed price packages and service bundles, 2) delivered by senior attorneys, and 3) enabled by a robust technology platform that makes the interaction between clients, attorneys, investors and other stakeholders more collaborative, efficient and transparent.
3. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I have always loved the challenge, satisfaction and intensity involved in creating something– taking an idea and turning it into a business. This began with businesses I started in high school and college and continues today.
4. If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give yourself when you first started your business?
The importance of the people you choose to work with and surround yourself with – your co-founders, employees, advisors, board members – is paramount. Technology may change, markets may change, capital needs may change but the ability to continue to execute, to deal with successes and challenges, both expected and unanticipated, comes down to the team.
5. To piggyback on that last question, after years of experience in the entrepreneurial space, what would be the top three pitfalls that you have helped fellow entrepreneurs overcome?
As an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and startup attorney, I use these experiences to help fellow entrepreneurs fully prepare for fundraising and avoid the common pitfalls. We focus on determining how much to raise, designing a strategy around how to approach investors and who to approach, creating an investor package that investors will expect to see, honing the pitch, preparing the company for the due diligence process, structuring and negotiating the terms of the deal, and building and maintaining a good working relationship with investors post investment. I find all of these areas contain significant pitfalls that if not done properly can be devastating to a company’s ability to succeed and grow.
6. We all know one of the biggest challenges startups face is raising money. Do you have any advice for founders who are just starting to seek funding?
There is a lot that you need to do to be ready for and to run a successful fundraising process. Surround yourself with the right team of advisors to guide you and help you avoid making critical errors.
7. Why is it important to you to support the DC Startup Community?
I have lived and worked in the startup ecosystem for over 20 years. I believe that while the DC startup community is thriving and has come a long way, there is much more to be done and so much potential to be tapped. I believe it is very important for people participating in this ecosystem to find some way to contribute to the overall health, growth and vibrancy of the community.
Thanks, Anthony! Like all things business-related, it’s important to go into every decision with a clear process and organized approach — especially when it comes to funding your startup. There are so many resources out there for DC entrepreneurs to utilize and take their business to the NEXT level — see what we did there?
We’re excited to see you at DCSW 2019, Anthony! Thank you for being a sponsor and helping bring this week to life.