Raising capital for a Series B round is never an easy task. It becomes even more challenging during a downturn when the venture capital spigot slows to a trickle. Many would assume that AI startups have it easy, with VCs supposedly throwing money at the AI space. However, that assumption is far from the truth.
Raising a Series B funding for an AI startup during a downturn can be challenging. To navigate this landscape successfully, founders need to go beyond mere claims of being an AI company and demonstrate the measurable impact of AI on their product offering. It is essential to differentiate from major players by highlighting unique advantages and establish ironclad credibility through expertise and experience.
The Challenges of Fundraising for AI Startups
In recent years, there has been a surge of funding rounds for generative AI companies. However, these headline-grabbing funding rounds are now slowing down, and the market is becoming saturated with startups claiming to be “AI companies.” This saturation makes it increasingly difficult for genuine AI startups to stand out and secure funding.
For founders looking to raise a Series B round for their AI startups in the next six to 12 months, they will likely face a more challenging fundraising environment. So, what can these founders do to increase their chances of success?
Conveying the Purpose and Impact of AI
While it may seem like AI is the core of your startup, it is crucial to go beyond just claiming to be an AI-driven company. Countless startups are incorporating AI into their products, but the key is to demonstrate the measurable impact it has on your offering.
When pitching to investors, you need to be prepared to illustrate how your AI models generate significant improvements over existing solutions. This can be done through quantitative metrics, such as improved model performance or cost savings, as well as qualitative proof points like case studies and success stories.
However, the impact alone is not enough. With OpenAI dominating the AI space, startups need to articulate how they differentiate themselves from major players. This could be through valuable proprietary data sets, unique business workflows, or specialized domain expertise. These factors establish credibility and showcase the competitive edge of your startup.
Building Ironclad Credibility with Investors
As the AI landscape becomes more crowded, investors have become more discerning in identifying genuine AI companies. The accessibility of large language models (LLMs) has made it easier and cheaper for startups to claim they are AI-driven. To gain the trust and confidence of investors, it is imperative to establish ironclad credibility.
One way to do this is by showcasing the technical expertise and experience of your team. Highlight the qualifications and achievements of your key team members, demonstrating their skills and track record in the AI field. Additionally, providing insights into your research and development process can further solidify your credibility as an authentic AI startup.