Inspiration

Finding the right investor is overwhelming and can be difficult to navigate for budding entrepreneurs. Introducing VCLinks, a user friendly web application that allows entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to fruition with the support of a Venture Capitalist backing them. VCLinks allows investors to become a part of projects that they take an interest in while business owners and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to jumpstart their dreams.

What it does

VCLinks connects eager entrepreneurs to venture capitalists looking to provide financing and expertise for projects. Entrepreneurs can easily create listings that describe their venture and their areas of interest, along with a recorded pitch and contact details. Additional details such as the amount of funding, type of funding and financial details are provided upon further request. Venture capitalists can also express interest in certain industries or projects, and will be required to complete a profile to facilitate our advanced tag searching features.

How we built it

The frontend was built entirely in HTML, CSS and Javascript, and is deployed with Node.js. The backend is handled by Javascript functions tied to a SQLite database to store listing data. SQLite is an efficient, easy to deploy SQL relational database that facilitates our tagging system to connect VCs and startups via industry tags. We determined that this was the most efficient setup, as different aspects of each profile needed to be stored for ease of transfer from the frontend to the backend.

Challenges we ran into

We came into our first roadblock when we attempted to rollout a MySQL database. We learned shortly that SQLite was more compact and functionally simpler, while still providing a robust set of features and compatibility with Node.js, which was suitable for our project. We were met with periodic roadblocks when trying to configure the backend to communicate with the frontend. Although our web interface and JS + SQL backends were strong individually, the details involved in hooking them up together presented challenges. Due to our lack of experience with SQL databases, we struggled with developing a relational system suitable for our proof of concept. Though overcome, this was likely the most difficult part of our project.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Producing a functional product with a carefully designed UI within a short time frame. It was difficult to implement all of the ideas we had within a weekend, yet we prioritized core functionality and design, delivering a prototype capturing the essence of our idea.

What we learned

We came into this project with little knowledge and experience with relational databases, but now can comfortably configure one for future projects. Though we know we’re rookies, we discovered for ourselves a wide margin for improvement. As a team, we learned how to communicate and manage ourselves in ways that tapped into our unique strengths. Fintech is no longer a technical niche, but an expanding field with significant room for growth.

What's next for VCLinks

VCLinks plans on expanding to mobile platforms in order to allow users to access our services on the go. We plan on implementing both iOS and Android compatible frameworks to boost accessibility. Functionally speaking, we want VCLinks to become a platform for entrepreneurs and investors to meet, collaborate and build. To do this, we aim to build a matchmaking system, a built-in communications tool and a file sharing/ hosting service for our users. VCLinks will be partnering with firms to expand our functionality and market, and in 2022 will hopefully become a key platform in the Fintech industry.

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