Shadowing Women in Tech: Entrepreneurial Finance with the Co-Founder and CEO of PrimaryBid
Updated: Apr 11
Sonia Chui recaps the Entrepreneurial Finance workshop offered by UCL's Shadowing Women in Tech Programme.
Shadowing Women in Tech (SWIT) is a career programme organised by the UCL Entrepreneurs Society, UCL Women in Finance Society and UCL FinTech Society. Consisting of workshop, keynote speakers and insight days, the programme aims to connect companies with female undergraduates who aspire to work in the technology sector.
As part of the Shadowing Women in Tech 2021 Programme, UCL FinTech Society’s Outreach team invited Anand Sambasivan (Co-Founder and CEO of PrimaryBid), who spoke about the fundraising process for start-ups and his experiences in entrepreneurship. PrimaryBid is a FinTech company, offering retail investors access to investing in new shares issued by public companies.
Having charted the different stages of fundraising, Anand gave a useful explanation on the fundraising lifecycle of a company. The various stages can be mapped onto a J-Curve diagram, from the seed round to series A, B and C to an initial public offering (IPO). Each fundraising stage comes with a different set of challenges, such as the difficulties in adjusting product-market fit while seeking investments from institutional investors in the Series A round.
Having moved onto a section on his entrepreneurship journey, Anand offered both his advice and personal reasons for starting a company. Counterintuitive to what you expect a Co-Founder would say, his first advice was ‘Don’t do it’. The challenges to the founding process are countless: most start-ups fail, too many existential threats, zero stability, continual rejections and so on.... He also emphasises that there is no recipe to success and advice cannot always be relied upon, as factors such as causal ambiguity, social complexity and luck mean that success is not easily replicable. Despite the challenges that warn one against becoming an entrepreneur, there are also invaluable benefits that counter the obstacles: complete control of one’s destiny, freedom to do something new that could change an industry, opportunities for value creation and creation of lasting impact. A valuable takeaway from this talk included Anand’s advice on understanding the difference between a ‘compass’ as opposed a ‘map’, that is to have a north star and follow your values and purposes instead of being overly prescriptive with your career path.
The keynote presentation rounded off with an interesting Q&A session: the team at PrimaryBid offered their take on what ‘good’ company culture means, elaborated on the firm’s CSR initiatives and gave helpful book recommendations such as The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz and Shoe Dog by Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight.
To join the next SWIT cohort, look out for applications around the start of January on UCL FinTech Society's social media pages:
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