Laura Faulconer, the third of our #TGASW18 judges has vetted many hundreds of investment opportunities over her 10 years in the industry and gets the greatest reward from being behind the scenes working on cool projects with crack teams onto the path to commercial success. She specialises in medical devices and health technologies more broadly, having founded MedTech’s Got Talent and The Actuator. She is currently a venture capital investor with WNT Ventures so eyes on the prize Startup Weekend participants!
Laura shares with us her journey and what she is looking forward to at this year’s Tauranga Startup Weekend.
Tell us a bit about your adventures in the entrepreneurial / investment world so far?
My first toe in the water of entrepreneurship was in grad school working on laying the data groundwork to support commercialisation of a new medical imaging device. Down the rabbit hole I went, gravitating toward entrepreneurship support roles – cluster management, grant writing support, consulting, accelerator & coworking space design, and investment funds. I’ve been involved in several startups as well, running the gamut from social enterprise to medical devices.
What are the elements of starting up a business that gets you most excited?
I love the customer discovery and market validation process. It is so hard to separate what you think you know from actual facts. It is even harder to ask the right questions and listen when what’s said isn’t what you’d thought or hoped. Working through this transformation to find the best product and the ideal path forward is one of my favourite parts of starting startups.
What is the most important thing that entrepreneurs should know?
Entrepreneurship is really hard – it isn’t as sexy as it might seem to be. Make sure you cultivate a strong support network throughout your journey – personal and professional – to lean on. There will be exhilarating highs and crushing lows. You will be told no a lot. Statistics say your business will fail. Don’t neglect your mental health in the pursuit of this dream.
What ideas would you like to see from Tauranga's Startup Weekend | Impact participants?
Ambitious thinking that will move the needle… whatever the needle and whatever the gauge.
What’s the best way for participants to capture your interest when pitching their idea?
Have a solid understanding of the competitive landscape and how you fit into that. A clearly defined customer and a compelling unique value proposition to that customer.
Want to get feedback from Judges who, like Laura, have been there and done that and who can support you on your entrepreneurial journey?
Secure your spot now to participate at #TGASW18 here.