Alex is Co-Founder & CEO of Arovia, which makes foldable displays and tablets including the Spontaneous Pop-Up Display (SPUD). The idea for SPUD was born from years of traveling the world as a product manager in optical engineering and experiencing frustration with his small laptop screen. He has both a Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree in Optical Engineering, as well as an MBA from Rice University. Alex strongly believes that you should have the freedom to work and play wherever you want!

What did you most value about fundraising on SeedInvest, and working with our team?
SeedInvest came highly recommended by other founders. Access to SeedInvest’s broad investor network and gaining insights from the deal flow proved invaluable. SeedInvest was a good opportunity to further grow our fundraising round, which meant I could focus more of my time working overseas on product manufacturing.

What are your top tips for a successful pitch? Do you have any advice for other founders about fundraising on SeedInvest?
Your pitch needs to be actively iterated as you get more and more feedback. Determining and clearly conveying the compelling reasons to invest in your company over myriads of other startup opportunities, as well as later-stage companies, takes time, effort, and enough supporting data to substantiate the claims you make.

What do you wish you had known going into the fundraising process on SeedInvest that you know now?
SeedInvest guided us through all the legal and filing documents – a time-consuming but essential part of the process – but you get out what you put in. I also think our campaign would have benefited from more direct support from me, which I was unable to provide due to our focus on manufacturing.

What’s one thing that most entrepreneurs should be doing, but aren’t?
It’s important to set Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) and major milestones so you know what matters and what doesn’t.

Why was it important to you to make investment opportunities in startups such as yours accessible to SeedInvest’s users? Why is democratizing access to VC important more broadly?
I think SeedInvest helps tip the scales in the startup’s favor, which helps give more companies, and the broader economy, more opportunity to thrive.

What was the greatest challenge you faced around fundraising? If you had to do it all over again, what would you approach differently?
Coming from a technical background, honing sales skills and my fundraising pitch took a lot of effort. I would not change anything, however, because I learned a lot from the fundraising process and continue to learn many valuable lessons every day as CEO of a startup.

What were the most helpful reading materials or other resources that helped you prepare to pitch/fundraise?
Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff definitely benefited me the most. It built on the psychological principles I was first exposed to in Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger a few years prior to starting Arovia. I think psychology and critical thinking are two topics that should be taught more broadly.

This post was written by Alice Hankin on February 10, 2020

Founder Profile Series: Alex Wesley of Arovia


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