Term Sheet Bootcamp shows startups how to avoid the pitfalls of becoming a Pied Piper

Kurt Chen at Term Sheet Bootcamp
Photo courtesy of Chris Basil, The Burn-In Asia team

Taking place over four intensive days, Taiwan Startup Stadium’s (TSS) Term Sheet Bootcamp is a roadshow conference for burgeoning startups that are ready to take on the world. The event took place this year in Taipei on Nov. 12-14, and proved to be three days of connecting startups, investors, and organizers with one another.

In other words, think of “Shark Tank” without the sharks ready to devour any valuation and presentation put before them. In this way, the Term Sheet Bootcamp is readily one of the most valuable events any startup can attend.

The event itself is highly selective. Organizers stress repeatedly that not all startups which apply are selected to attend. Out of the many startups that applied to attend this event, only 22 made the cut as TSS felt some of the applicants were not ready just yet.

Taiwan Startup Stadium’s Work

Taiwan Startup Stadium’s work is needed now more than ever. Co-founder Leroy Yau knows this and knows that Asia is the right place for it. Why? He’s not only the co-founder, but he himself is also an entrepreneur and investor.

“Our job is to bridge some of the local talent [startups and technology experts] and help them go overseas. By that we mean to help them join some of the overseas accelerators, we provide training for them, we provide support for them, we connect them to overseas investors, and we also help them by bringing them to some of the famous startup conferences like Rise, Slush, TechCrunch, and so on.

“For us, it’s really about connecting the Taiwan startups with the global scene.

“Taiwan can play a really important role in the [startup ecosystem] by maybe being the startup back office of the Asia community. In terms of technology talent, in terms of the people, in terms of culture, the language here…I think there’s a great opportunity for us.”

With the technology landscape in Asia as the perfect backdrop, the Term Sheet Bootcamp roadshow was born.

Write Something that Counts

The goal of this bootcamp is to ensure that startups are equipped with everything they need to draw up term sheets for their next round of funding. The camp is so intensive that it keeps attendees busy with both theory and practical lessons, where owners and investors are able to gain valuable insight via roleplaying and seminars.

Being that it is a bootcamp for term sheets, this conference effectively trains startups in the process (and some may even call it “art”) of writing good term sheets that will attract investors from around the world.

To do this, Taiwan Startup Stadium brought in investors whose goal was to ensure that Taiwanese startups were ready to take on the world outside of Taiwan.

“Taiwan Startup Stadium, as a project funded by the National Development Council, has been connecting and matching global resources for startups since 2015. We will continue [this] mission and spearhead Taiwan’s startup ecosystem to the world stage,” said Jen Chen, director of communications and special programs at Taiwan Startup Stadium.

“We have seen that educating startups of the global investment environment is one of the essential steps to building up the right mindset before reaching out to any possible leads. [We are hosting the roadshow this year for] our third time in Taipei, second time in Bangkok, and very first time in Tokyo. Through integrating a network of cooperative Asian ecosystem builders, we are able to serve Taiwan and regional startups to reach a global status.”

Highlights from the Bootcamp

Arthur Chen, BE Capital

Arthur Chen at the bootcamp
Photo courtesy of Chris Basil, The Burn-In Asia team

What better way to start a bootcamp than to provide startups with actual insights and know-how on fundraising from an experienced investor? Arthur Chen of BE Capital was one of the presenters this year who did just that. His session began with a very short introduction which than quickly dovetailed into the topic of investing.

Up first was covering the basics of venture capital, what it is, how it’s used, and most importantly…how it is raised. He went over terminologies, timelines, and other useful basics that, even though basic, are often misapplied.

One might think a simple Google search of such things would be answer enough for any startup ready to, well, start. However, couple this with the experience Chen brings to the table and one has the makings of a talk that is of inestimable value.

In many ways, his one talk set the tone for the rest of the conference and got things off to an exciting start. Along with raising venture capital, he also covered timelines for fundraising, an investor’s thought process in deciding whether to invest or not, and how to close the deal. This was all brought around and applied with the final and most relevant part of his discussion, the term sheet itself.

Throughout the session, Arthur stressed that founders should try to see the fun in the process by keeping the end goal in mind.

Kurt Chen, New Future Venture Capital

Another insightful session was led by Kurt Chen from New Future Venture Capital. He covered the ins and outs of financial planning, equity financing, valuations, and negotiations.

It was like Shark Tank without the sharks, the bad pitches, bad valuations, and even worse products. So everyone was ready to learn and not worried about keeping their heads above water.

He began his session by sharing some questions that startups should ask themselves to see if they qualify for fundraising. He then defined the different types of funding and encouraged startups to think about the type of business they are seeking to build.

Such basic questions, yet all too often assumed and thus unexplored, were right there before participants to key in on and work through. In other words, this conference once again showed why it really is a practical bootcamp, bringing the theory and causing participants to apply it before the day (and conference) was up.

Felix Lam on Key Terminology and the Venture Capital Investment Process

With so much talk of funding, raising venture capital, and building a great term sheet that brings investors to a startup’s doorstep, what could be left?

The simple answer, and one that the bootcamp effectively gave in Felix Lam’s session, is putting it all together in a practical way. This discussion took participants from point A to point C via the roadmap provided by B. It was practical, enlightening, and applicable.

Felix started by taking participants through the key terminologies used by investors in term sheets, which helpfully included non-industry jargon explanations. He demonstrated practical applications and explained each term in detail with examples. These included formulas that are commonly used in valuation setting and presentation.

Who Doesn’t Like a Little Roleplaying?

Speaking to the practical nature of the bootcamp, this conference included numerous opportunities for participants to roleplay and learn how to pitch to inverstors.

The valuable insight one can learn from such a session was punctuated oftentimes with hilarious and candid comments from investors. They spoke very candidly about pitches, how they felt about them, and ultimately (and most importantly) if they were swayed.

Taiwan Startup Stadium and the Future of Startup Investing

As a startup itself, this series of events by Taiwan Startup Stadium is possibly one of the best investments any company could make as it prepares to take the stage for its next round of funding.

The team behind Taiwan Startup Stadium have really zeroed in on the biggest issues a startup faces with term sheets, investing, and pitching to get to that next round. It has pulled together the best people in the industry to help teach startups on overcoming many assumed and oft-overlooked problems.

Perhaps, if Term Sheet Bootcamp was around for Pied Piper, they would have fared much better in all of their trials and travails.

The final chapter of Term Sheet Bootcamp 2018 roadshow will be held in Tokyo on Dec. 13 – 14. Click here to find out more about the event and how to attend.