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Mar 14, 2024

Securing Funding in 2024: What Are Investors Really Looking For?

In the shadow of 2023's turbulent venture capital market, the path ahead in 2024 seems to shine with a beacon of promise.

BY
Keane Angle
Louise Saludo

In the shadow of 2023's turbulent venture capital market, the path ahead in 2024 seems to shine with a beacon of promise. Although the final quarter of 2023 saw US startups raising a commendable $37.5B, the global VC market is anticipated to level out. The journey to full recovery remains rife with obstacles. Yet, amidst this cautious stabilization, analysts are optimistic for a year of rebound growth.

Optimistic Yet Guarded Expectations for 2024

Despite the fraught environment of the previous years, venture capitalists are expressing cautious optimism for 2024, predicting an environment that shows signs of opening up compared to the stringent conditions of 2023.

Insights from Marcos Fernandez of Fiat Ventures and Jai Das of Sapphire Ventures echo a sentiment of tempered recovery, suggesting an investment climate that might resemble the more favorable trends of 2020.

However, the funding landscape is expected to remain competitive and relatively scarce, highlighting the importance of diligence and resilience for startups seeking capital.

Startup Funding is Finally Flattening Out

Amidst the cautiously optimistic forecasts, the undeniable reality is that funding will be scarce, marking a departure from the free-flowing capital of yesteryears.

Founders might find themselves engaging in manifold more discussions with potential investors than before, underlining the need to demonstrate not only the viability of their business models but also a clear pathway to profitability.

More than ever, startups need to articulate their product-market fit and showcase robust customer traction to secure necessary funding.

“Investment activity will increase, but remain tempered."
- Jai Das, a cofounder at Sapphire Ventures
"We anticipate that fundraising markets will open up in 2024 when compared to 2023, but it'll still be a challenging environment."
- Marcos Fernandez, a managing partner at Fiat Ventures

The Cream of the Crop Prevails

In the upcoming year, the venture capital domain is anticipated to become even more selective, with funding largely reserved for the most promising of startups.

This heightened scrutiny means that startups must not only survive the fierce competition at early funding stages but also prove their superiority in innovation, adaptability, and financial prudence.

“Because of the frosty funding conditions… many startups that raised seed rounds in 2021 and held off will be forced to go back out and fundraise in 2024.
- Brad Svrluga, Co-founder at Primary

Brad Svrluga's insights underscore a potentially intensified competition, especially for companies that had previously postponed fundraising efforts.

The Flight to Quality Continues

2024 is poised to see a continuation of the ‘flight to quality’ trend, where investors are focusing interest and capital on a select group of high-caliber startups.

"The investor 'flight to quality' will continue. Fewer rounds, concentrated into a subset of high-quality startups, will suck up even more of the capital leaving less for other startups."
- Jenny Fielding, Co-Founder at Everywhere Ventures

According to Nihal Mehta at Eniac Ventures, quality startups show “smart growth, best-in-class unit economics, and adaptability."

This emphasizes strong fundamentals, coupled with tangible market traction, which will define the elite subset of companies deemed worthy of investment amidst a scarcity of funds.

In this discerning environment, only the startups that demonstrate substantial growth, sound unit economics, and the ability to adapt under pressure will stand out to investors.

Surviving the Cutthroat VC Landscape

As the VC landscape gears up to become even more cutthroat in 2024, startups need to prepare for an ultra-competitive fundraising arena.

The pressure intensifies for those who need to secure funding, as Series A rounds become bottlenecked.

The survival and success of startups will hinge not only on their past performance but their ability to present a compelling vision and strategy that resonates with the discerning tastes of venture capitalists.

“That level of competition will shift to the best companies that have been able to show growth and velocity over the past 24 months despite market conditions."
- Radhika Malik, Partner at Dell Technologies Capital
(Investors will require)… more evidence of product-market fit in the form of revenue and customer traction.
- Jon Rosenbaum, Managing Director at Insight Partners

Leveraging the Opportunity in Adversity

As 2024 unfolds, the venture capital ecosystem braces itself for a year of pivotal transformations.

While challenges lie ahead, the potential for rebound growth presents an unparalleled opportunity for startups to emerge stronger, more resilient, and fundamentally robust.

Embracing strategic innovation and solidifying their value proposition will be key for founders looking to navigate the evolving terrain of venture capital successfully.

What’s In-store for Fundraising Founders in 2024?

Rebound with Strategic Focus

The VC market shows signs of a rebound with a more strategic investment focus. While funding is available, it's being directed towards startups with best-in-class growth & unit economics.

Proving Profitability and Market Fit

The criteria for attracting VC investment are becoming more stringent, with an emphasis on profitability and product-market fit. Startups must demonstrate viable business models.

Importance of Precise Pitches and Strategies

Founders are in for an increasingly competitive fundraising environment. Founders need to articulate not only the substantial market need but also a clear path towards profitability.

Navigating the Venture Capital Landscape in 2024

After a tumultuous 2023, VCs are anticipating rebound growth in the world of venture capital. The previous year's challenges have recalibrated investor priorities, emphasizing the importance of startups demonstrating not just innovation, but also a clear path to profitability and a strong product-market fit.

Investors with a discerning eye will focus on startups that stand out for their robust business models and market traction. Founders will find themselves in numerous discussions, underscoring the need for precision in their pitches and clarity in their business strategy.

2024 presents a unique blend of challenges and opportunities in the venture capital ecosystem.

While the path to funding may be fraught with heightened scrutiny, it also offers a chance for startups to distinguish themselves and secure their place in a recovering and evolving market.

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