Events / Investing / Venture capital

Why investor Gil Beyda says entrepreneurs should get out of Philadelphia

Plus more advice from local investors.

Entrepreneurs, get out of Philadelphia.

That’s investor Gil Beyda’s advice, and OK, he doesn’t mean it 100 percent literally, but still.

Philly entrepreneurs have to realize they’re competing with an international market, said Beyda, who runs Genacast Ventures and has invested in Invite Media and Divide, both acquired by Google. It’s one mistake he said he’s seen in the region: how myopic local entrepreneurs can be when it comes to how they look at competition.

Beyda, along with seven other local investors, offered advice to entrepreneurs at a recent FundingPost event held at Benjamin’s Desk.

Here are some highlights from the event:

  • Beyda on the difference between the dot-com boom and now: “In the 90s, everyone was questioning if [the tech industry] would still be around. We’ve answered that question.” What Philadelphia has to do now, he said, is answer the question, “What do we offer that’s different from New York?”
  • When the bubble burst, it hit this region “extra hard,” said First Round Capital partner Chris Fralic, who’s lived in the region for 30 years. Today’s Philadelphia tech era “feels better,” Fralic said. “It’s more organic and sustainable.”
  • How to speed up a deal with an investor? “The only way to speed up the process is to get us more excited,” Beyda said. That means, let us know there’s competition — but it better be actual competition. Don’t name drop if there’s nothing behind it. “If it’s just us [interested in investing], we have the luxury of getting more data points.”
  • Do your research. We’ve heard this one plenty of times. “Most of the time there isn’t a shred of evidence that they’ve even looked at our site,” said Fralic, who advocated for fewer, more thoughtful outgoing asks.
  • If you’re pitching an investor, think about it this way, said Fralic: “Investors need to see an investment in you as moving the needle in their fund.”
  • If you’re looking to raise funding, this list of early-stage investors is a place to start.
Companies: 76 Forward / First Round Capital / Genacast Ventures

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