Philippe Sahli, Co-Founder & CEO of Yokoy, who has closed a funding round with LEXR, talks about Yokoy’s rapid growth story including what they’ve learned along their path to success, what tips they have for entrepreneurs looking to raise funding, and how they won over all five investors on Swiss version of Shark Tank.
With Yokoy, we solve three major challenges:
Most of our leadership team has already been through a few funding rounds, so we were already in that “mindset”. Experience shows that it is essential to be aware of what funding is available in the market. There are many funding options, from venture debt and equity funding options (e.g. Kickstarter campaigns) to professional venture capital firms. Knowing what is actually out there can help you to plan what fits your company and growth best.
When looking for the right investor, communication is important, and that you get across why exactly this partnership is important for the company. With Swisscom Ventures and Six Fintech Ventures, we were able to win important partners, and they did not become our investors by chance.
We made the decision for LEXR for two reasons:
Knowing what you want as a company is certainly a very important part. In Yokoy’s case, we knew we were in a market that is moving very fast and where the barriers to entry are very low. Simple expense tools can be brought to market quite quickly. Because of that, speed is very important for us. To achieve speed, you need capital and global partners who are well connected, so it was clear to us relatively quickly that we wanted to work with corporate VCs who can support us here. For us, time equals money: On the one hand, it helps us to expand quickly, and on the other hand, it ensures that we can maintain high-quality standards for our product at all times.
My tip for companies seeking VC financing: Be sure to get help when raising for the first time. Personally, I have been involved in four rounds and feel that experience is crucial and helps a lot. If I were doing this for the first time, I would bring in an expert advisor or personal trusted advisor who has done this a few times. Financing is a business in itself which should not be underestimated, especially when dealing with professional VCs and private equity firms.
The show “Höhle der Löwen” with Yokoy was recorded in February 2020 and aired in September 2020.
Clearly two things:
An investor, especially someone who has done this many times before like all the “lions” on the show, looks at different things. For the team aspect, they look f.i. How does the team play together? Would they want to work with such a team, does the team have the passion to really push such a product? We put a strong focus on this aspect to make sure we bring it across well.
The product is not an easy part. Either the investors know the market well or they would buy the product themselves. If they would not buy the product and are not familiar with the market, the chances are quite bad with professional investors. The way we approached this is that we looked at who had already used an expense tool, and who knew a bit about the market. We got our story across in a way that investors understood where we were, where we wanted to go, why we were different, and why we would ultimately win. The decision to join “Höhle der Löwen” (the Swiss version of Shark Tank) was a good move strategically, but also a challenging one. It’s not easy to get the story across in such a way that investors understand it, want to invest, and become excited about you and your team, and on the other hand to convince viewers to like and use the tool or even have them recommend it to others.
100+ companies, both big and small, are starting and growing their business with LEXR.