Registration is open now for the fall session of Greater Des Moines Partnership’s biannual Raising Capital Seminar, scheduled this month for Sept. 27.  

Sponsored by BrownWinick Law Firm, the day-long seminar takes participants from the basics of pitch decks to the intricacies of term sheets and negotiations, said Mike Colwell, executive director of entrepreneurial initiatives at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. 

“I think [they] look more prepared. I think the entrepreneurs who go through this – if they do what the documents say, if they take action on it … for those who take it to heart, yeah, it helps a lot,”  Colwell said. “We see it with investors – the investors that are looking at this are pleased, like ‘yeah, this is what I expect.’” 

The class is taught by Charise Flynn, owner of c.Results and previous COO at Dwolla in Des Moines and San Francisco, with guest speakers Colwell, Joe Leo and Chris Sackett of BrownWinick Law Firm, Sheldon Ohringer at Mango Seed Investments, and Gabriel Glynn, co-founder/CEO of MakuSafe Corporation. 

The seminar tries to keep things upbeat, but there’s no way but through the weeds when it comes to legal requirements: “There is a lot of things where you absolutely have to have an attorney to do this. You do not want to get into trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission or you will end up in federal court,” Colwell said. “We want to make sure people are kept safe and doing things correctly.”

Once a year, the partnership records the entire class except for the lunch hour, when a speaker who has recently completed funding rounds talks about their experiences in the process. This fall session won’t be recorded, but those who can’t attend may view the March session on the Des Moines Partnership’s website. 

Six years after the Greater Des Moines Partnership started offering the sessions, Colwell said the goal isn’t to make startups appear invincible – just informed. 

“They’re supposed to be fragile and have weaknesses. Good investors, when they see they weaknesses, they say, ‘can I help? Can I add value to that?’” Colwell said. “I’ve talked to so many startup customers and said, ‘Look, I’m an investor. Here’s why I put my money in the deal.’ And that can make a big difference when you’re trying to bring on your first or second or third customer.”