Panel discusses early-stage startup funding


Evan Luxon (right) addresses the crowd during UNeMed’s startup funding panel last week as Charlie Cuddy (left) looks on.

OMAHA, Nebraska (July 1, 2024)—On Thursday, June 27, in the Wigton Heritage Center at UNMC, UNeMed hosted a panel discussion that focused on the ins and outs of creating a successful fund-raising round for an early-stage startup company.

Co-sponsored by IDEA -CTR, the event featured four experts with experience in starting companies, raising capital for or investing in startup companies.

The panel was composed of James Young, a serial entrepreneur; Scott Henderson of NMotion; Charlie Cuddy of MOVE Venture Capital; and Evan Luxon of Centese.

During the hour-long discussion, panelists talked about the importance of proving the innovation or technology at the center of a startup can actually work; knowing who are the potential customers; and simplifying the pitch so that it can be easily understood and repeated.

“If you already have a super complicated pitch deck, put it aside and start over,” Young said. “[An investment pitch] is not an educational seminar, it’s a sales pitch. Keep it simple.”

Scott Henderson during UNeMed’s startup funding panel last week. He is Managing Principal at NMotion, a Nebraska-based accelerator that invests in high-growth startup companies.

Henderson added: “The goal of the pitch is to get to the next conversation. Investment is a series of conversations.”

The panel also provided advice on milestones that founders should reach before they attempt to seek investors and financing; the critical elements of a good pitch; and additional advice about what to do after meeting with potential investors and partners.

Luxon is CEO and co-founder of Centese, Inc., a medical startup built around an improved chest drainage system that could improve patient outcomes following surgeries. In November, Centese announced the successful close of a $15 million Series B funding round.

Young is a serial entrepreneur and a co-founder of University Medical Devices, a startup built on the UNMC innovation, MicroWash. MicroWash is a solution to the uncomfortable and sometimes painful nasal swabs that gained notoriety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Henderson is Managing Principal at NMotion, a Nebraska-based accelerator that invests in high-growth startup companies.

Cuddy co-founded MOVE, a pre-seed and seed venture capital firm focused on investing in Nebraska technology startup companies.

The panel was co-sponsored by the Great Plains IDeA-CTR, which provided lunch for attendees. Based at UNMC, the Great Plains IDeA-CTR—short for Institutional Development Award for Clinical and Translational Research—is a UNMC-based collaborative for nine major research organizations in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota and South Dakota.


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