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Dr. Don Capener - Fundraising During Turbulent Times - JVC 2023



At the recent Jacksonville Venture Competition 2023, Dr. Don Capener offered insightful perspectives on startup fundraising, drawing on his diverse background as an academic, investor, and entrepreneur. He presented data-driven advice on startup fundraising strategies amidst today's turbulence.


With data from Pitchbook, Dr. Capener outlined how the funding environment has shifted. While valuation amounts remain high, the number of deals has dropped sharply since 2021, favoring investors over entrepreneurs. In a survey of relatively mature startups, most now plan to stay private longer rather than pursue venture capital.


According to Dr. Capener, this means founders need an even more compelling story and data when pitching. Maintaining financial discipline and continually innovating with a lean approach is key. As he emphasized, "It's not who you know, but who knows you" when seeking startup funding.


Dr. Capener advised being cautious of impatient investors demanding too much control. Patient capital that enables founders to stay in control longer is ideal. He urged resilience, frugality, and creativity from entrepreneurs in this climate, noting funding is still viable with proper preparation and persistence.


JVC was honored to have Dr. Don Capener share pragmatic steps founders can take to continue attracting investors even when times are tough.


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