Claire is the Co-Founder of Voyant Diagnostics, a startup that is developing a smart toilet platform that fully automates point-of-care urine testing. Their product improves the efficiency, accuracy and patient experience of common urine tests. The Voyant team learned about Vintro during their seed fundraising process while actively looking for investors in the medical diagnostics space. Renee Cohen, a prominent healthcare investor, watched their pitch and decided to follow up with them. After realizing her interests and resources aligned well with the team, Renee decided not only to invest in Voyant but also to join their board of advisors.
The Pitch Video
Claire explained to us why she thought her video was successful noting that, "Being able to talk to the problem, the solution we had and our progress helped to provide a compelling and comprehensive story."
We sat down for an interview with Claire to hear her feedback and learn what advice she had for other entrepreneurs looking to grow their ventures.
- Be targeted
- Expand your reach
- Investment isn't just about money
- Build the relationship
- Keep planning ahead
Claire's biggest piece of advice to other companies working to raise money: “Make sure to spend your time on investors who understand the type of business you’re building and who are excited about it!”
Claire shared how her experience changed the way she thought about the process of fundraising, noting, “It’s very important to be targeted in your efforts. Early on, we took meetings with anyone who would talk to us, but we realized this wasn't an effective strategy. A lot of people are willing to take meetings with you and hear you out but not everyone is suited to continue that journey with you long-term. To be able to identify people who are more likely going to have a long-term relationship with you is incredibly important. Entrepreneurs have very limited time and a lot of potential people to talk to. Our time would have been better spent finding people with stronger, more aligned interest from the start.
We connected with Renee because she had a healthcare background. Being able find an investor who can understand the dynamics and risks in investing in and building a healthcare business is really critical.”
Expand your reach
When asked how fundraising had been going before Vintro, Claire said, “Up to that point, a lot of our early investors were part of the Northwestern network because my co-founder, Michael, is a Northwestern alumnus. We were having some difficulty expanding outside of that university network, and we didn’t have a very diverse investor base. It was very difficult to meet investors that were female, for example – something that is important to me as a female entrepreneur. Through Vintro, we were able to meet someone whom we would never have met without it. We were able to meet someone who brings a very valuable and differentiated perspective."
The summative power that comes from bringing together distinct networks from around the world is the diversity it brings, even within more granularly defined sectors. This experience resounds deeply with Vintro's core mission. Claire noted that her team had trouble finding investors in their network who were also women healthcare leaders and that such investors were hard for them to reach outside of their network. Vintro's expansive network allowed Claire to connect with a commercial leader who fit her company’s specific needs and would not have otherwise been in her network.
Investment isn't just about money
Claire shared her philosophical underpinnings, noting that, "We see our investors not just as people providing capital but also as people who provide expertise. We've been able to get a lot of people to help not only fund the business but also build the business. The investor we got through Vintro was someone who had previously built and run companies in the healthcare space so not only was her support helpful for achieving fundraising milestones, but she was also extremely helpful in providing feedback on our business strategy."
Build the relationship
Claire's video sparked Renee's interest and began a dialogue between the two, but converting this interest into an investment and a long-term business relationship took time. Claire described how their relationship developed, "In our pitch, we spoke not only about the business we are building today but also about the potential of the platform we envisioned for the future. In our follow-up conversations, we spent a lot of time talking about the vision of the company and the type of team that we were. We invited Renee to see the prototype in person and to convey the progress we'd made."
This type of follow up interaction is a key part of the Vintro process. Great videos succeed by sparking the interest of reviewers, who are then driven to begin building relationships with the ventures who contact them. We're incredibly passionate as a platform about catalyzing this type of long-term relationship rather than facilitating a one-time meeting.
Keep planning ahead
As one of the early users who got a chance to test out the Vintro introduction format, we were excited to hear Claire's feedback. Not only was Claire pleased with her existing interaction, but she was also excited to continue engaging with Vintro as her company grows. "I'm really excited about the platform," said Claire. "We look forward to using it to connect with more investors. We were very surprised with the success we found with our initial interactions. We definitely will use it as a channel to meet more people who are well suited to the company we are working to build."