When I first started raising money for startups, a very experienced attorney told me that every round would take six months. What I came to find out is that the reality is more like six to nine months. To new founders this might sound surprisingly long, but this has been the case for me every time.
One piece of advice that has helped me save time and energy during fundraising over the years is “don’t try to convince the skeptics…find the true believers.”
Founders who are just starting to fundraise for the first time often see professional investors as the same. They all have similar backgrounds. Their firms look roughly the same from the outside. And, of course, they are all searching for the next unicorn. But, as you learn more about firms and individual partners, you find that each have very different investment philosophies, so they will react differently to founders, industries and new business models.
A few years ago a very well known west coast investor blogged about a startup idea in the local space. I have a lots of experience with local business models and had been thinking about a similar idea. So I found his email address and cold emailed him…normally a terrible practice because all good investors require warm introductions. Nevertheless this investor emailed me back within just a few minutes and we exchanged a few emails about the idea. The investor even offered to meet-up in person as early as I was available! Part of this was my past success in local, but part of this was that we happened to share the same worldview about this particular idea.
I found a true believer, so the response was quick & exciting.
In this podcast, an experienced founder begins by explaining how fundraising announcements incorrectly make raising capital sound quick and easy. Then he describes that - except for a very small number of startups that have amazing growth - you have to be really persistent in fundraising and find the people who are really interested in your idea...the true believers
Get Right to the Lesson
I’d recommend listening to the entire thing, but to get right to the point go to minute 41:36 of this podcast.
Thanks to these folks for helping us all learn faster
Suhail Doshi (@Suhail), founder of Mixpanel (@mixpanel)
Y Combinator (@ycombinator)
Paul Graham (@paulg) of YC (@ycombinator)
Kat Manalac (@KatManalac), Partner at YC (@ycombinator)
Aaron Harris (@harris), Partner at YC (@ycombinator)
Please let me and others know what you think about this topic
Email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org or let's discuss publicly at @davempayne.