They’re back from SF, where they participated in 500 Startups’ Batch 9. So, did they kill it? Investors Pejman Mar Ventures, who led the round, think so. Signature Capital, Green Visor Capital, 645 Ventures, Hamid Barkhordar, and 500 Startups, all of whom also participated, would definitely agree.
Thinknum is a powerful web platform to value companies. The company provides data and infrastructure for analysts to host their financial models in the cloud. They also leverage technology, such as distributed computing, that allows users to take a model and apply it to thousands of companies.
Yeah, they killed it. Co-founder Justin Zhen talks about the funding process, and how participating in an accelerator helped to up his own company’s valuation.
What was the funding process like?
We were quite fortunate to have a relatively short funding process. Pejman Mar Ventures was the first institutional fund that we pitched and became our lead investor within a few weeks of the initial meeting.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
When we pitched potential investors, we noticed a dichotomy. Investors with a background in finance understood right away what we were building and were eager to invest in Thinknum. However, investors traditionally from the tech world did not necessarily understand the pain points that we were solving. Fortunately, Pejman Mar Ventures brought in their connections working in finance who understood our vision and they ended up leading our round.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our beta product had strong demand from our target users. There was a proven need in the market for Thinknum, and we saw widespread adoption among the most innovative players. When investors did their due diligence, they realized the value that our software was adding to the analytical processes of investors.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Our advice to these companies in New York is to focus on building things that users want. Keep trying different things and making small pivots until you achieve product market fit. Capital will naturally come then.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We will hire software engineers to help support Thinknum’s growth. Now that we have a good number of institutional clients using our features, we will focus on building what they need.
How did participating in 500 Startups Accelerator help your company?
We understood finance and technology very well, but less so about building a company. That is why we decided to join an accelerator, where we could learn how to raise money, attract the best talent and market our product. We also met some incredible founders in our batch and learned a great deal from them as well.
When you were out in SF, what did you miss most about New York? In New York, we constantly met with institutional clients. We did the same thing in SF, but it was more difficult because the finance scene is much smaller there.