EVENT | Startup&Angels Sydney 2023 | 3rd August 2023

Overcoming Failure: Strategies to Bounce Back

From Setback to Comeback was a success! Attendees were able to listen to 4 fantastic pitches of innovative startups: Freeguides, Marqoola, Foboh and Imersian.

The evening was filled with an enriching panel discussion. Investors and experts share their advice to bounce back from a failure and prepare a business for any potential future challenges. We had the opportunity to listen to: Evelyn Zhang, James Frank, Kieran O’Neill and Klaus Bartosch thanks to our incredible moderator Shivani Gopal.

What are the reasons behind people's failures?

You cannot control everything. Trends and external factors can reshape the market, as seen during the COVID crisis.

Nevertheless, it’s crucial to stay prepared for anything. Understanding that unforeseen events can occur and knowing how to respond demonstrates resilience.

Those who often fail are not only the ones who don’t hire the right person but also the ones who don’t realize they are headed in the wrong direction. However, those who can bounce back from failure are the ones who can zoom in, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary changes in their business.

Failure should not be viewed as something negative!

The primary message from the panelists is clear: Embrace failure instead of fearing it, and consider it as a chance to grow. It is not a problem but an opportunity. They emphasize that “Failure is a test” and when you encounter setbacks, it indicates areas that need improvement in your business.

However, it’s essential to recognize that failure itself is not a true failure as long as you glean valuable lessons from it.

Moreover, failure lies at the core of innovation. To foster innovation, one must be willing to take risks, and yes, risks can sometimes lead to failure. However, if you allow fear of failure to hold you back, you will stifle your ability to innovate.

How do investors see failures?

It’s common to feel hesitant about discussing our problems with investors out of fear that they might abandon our project. However, the truth is that they are the ones who can truly assist us in avoiding failure. Opening up to them can lead to valuable insights and support, increasing our chances of success. Investors understand that investing in a business comes with its share of ups and downs, as that is an inherent aspect of the entrepreneurial journey.

The key is when you are fundraising, pay attention to share a strong sense of comfort and trust with the investor. Building a good relationship with your investor is crucial.

Moreover, experiencing failure in the past doesn’t mean you won’t find investors willing to fundraise for your new business. Investors look beyond just previous failures; they value your overall experience. Now, armed with the knowledge of how to lead a business and having learned from past challenges, you are better equipped to present a compelling case to potential investors. Your newfound wisdom and resilience can be assets that attract investors to support your new venture.

Therefore, it becomes imperative to exercise caution when hiring. The individuals you bring on board should exhibit genuine passion and motivation. As Preethi emphasized: “In the hiring process give them the real truth about working at a startup who is becoming a scaleup”.

Moreover, discovering the perfect product right from the start can be a complex task. It is possible to become overwhelmed and invest effort into something that may not prove effective or sustainable. However, beginning with a niche can occasionally serve as a strategic approach. By doing so, you gain insights into what does not work, allowing you to adjust your approach and refine your methods that you can apply on the optimal product. “In the early days of your startup, if you can focus on something very narrow and do that really well, you’ll gain the most important thing which is an advocate and very high retention” as Ben said it.

However, you need to prioritize your mental well-being in order to maintain sustainability.

So, embrace your failures and use them to your advantage. Take a close look and analyze what didn’t work, as this examination can be a powerful learning experience.

Remember, “you’ll only fail if you haven’t learned something”!


A heartfelt thank you to our sponsors for their faith in us all year round. We would not be able to deliver amazing events and opportunities for our exceptional members without your support. 

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