The Fundraising Landscape for Impact-Entrepreneurs – with Diane Janknegt, Founder, Wizenoze

With the pandemic changing the nature of fundraising for many impact entrepreneurs, we will be exploring market sentiment, new funding opportunities and how to better prepare for online fundraising, by speaking to members of our community with direct experience of this over the last 12 months.

Diane Janknegt is the Founder of Wizenoze, an EdTech platform which has grown rapidly as the pandemic caused 1.5 billion students to learn from home around the world. Here, she sets out the five golden rules to remember when searching for a long-term investor.

Meaningful Business (MB:) What has been your experience in trying to raise capital during the pandemic?



Diane Janknegt (DJ:) Wizenoze is in the Education Technology (EdTech) sector, and for EdTech COVID had a positive business effect. Suddenly 1.5 billion students had to learn from home and needed access to digital education. All at once, the importance of innovation in education became apparent to many people, including investors.


MB: have you seen investor sentiment change over the last year? 


DJ: Yes most definitely, but again for us in a positive way. The total investments in EdTech has (at least) doubled over the past 12 months, depending on the region. In India, EdTech investment after COVID has risen to be the second-largest industry (after HealthTech).



MB: What were the challenges and benefits of fundraising in a remote environment?


DJ: Trust and relationship-building are the key elements of fundraising (for both sides). It’s is so much easier to develop a trustworthy partnership when you can meet face-to-face. It is doable to create this remotely, but it just takes longer.


MB: What were you looking for in an investor, beyond purely capital?


DJ: 1. Trust! 2. Do they genuinely believe in our proposition and are they in it for the long term? 3. What are their long and short-term goals. 4. How do they think about founders? Are their terms founder-friendly or investor-friendly? 5. Do you genuinely like each other;  would you like to have (lots of) dinner together, could you sit next to each other on an international flight? If the answers are ‘yes’, you’ve found yourself a great investor.



MB: What advice would you give entrepreneurs looking to raise funds over the next year?


DJ: Terms and trust are much more important than money. If the terms are nasty and you don’t know if you like the investor, don’t do it. It can have a massive effect on your daily life.



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