I haven’t written much on this blog about fundraising over the years, in part because there’s already so much good content on the topic out there.
But each time I get a chance to participate in tech community events, which I have done a fair bit in the last 9-12 months, I’m reminded that, for many founders, fundraising is as opaque and ambiguous a process as ever.
The venture financing landscape keeps shifting: dislocation of the traditional seed/A/B/C path, lots of new funds, older funds that evolve their strategies, long bull market (for now), increasing bifurcation between the “haves” (startups that can literally raise billions of dollars of venture money) and “have nots” (the many others that can’t get a simple financing done), etc.. New generations of entrepreneurs arrive on the scene all the time, and have to make sense of a complex process in this shifting environment.
As a result, for all press about quick oversubscribed rounds and mega-financings, most founders experience a good amount of head scratching and frustration.
So I’m going to do my bit to help clarify, and share a few models and ideas I have learned along the way, in the hope that some entrepreneurs may find it helpful.
I’m going to do this as a “mini-series” of sorts, across several posts that I’ll try to write over the next few weeks and months.
A few caveats:
- Unlike my usual long-winded (!) posts, I’m going to do this in “quick bite” format, one simple idea at a time, with limited editing
- This is by no means going to be a treatise of fundraising — I’ll focus on a few tidbits that come up all the time in my conversations, but are less covered in existing content
- Those posts are just my opinion… you’ll probably hear conflicting advice
- I’m mostly going to speak about early stage tech startups
Here’s the rough outline I have in mind… will probably evolve, suggestions welcome.
High level thoughts:
- Thinking of your process as a product [Update: the post is here]
- Art vs science [Update: the post is here]
- Clarity of thought [Update: the post is here]
Planning the round:
- “Always be Raising” vs “Heads Down” [Update: the post is here]
- Push vs Pull [Update: the post is here]
- Are there still fundraising seasons? [Update: the post is here]
Running the process:
- Customer Presentation vs Investor presentation
- Left brain vs right brain
- Asking for the right amount
- Understanding partnership dynamics
- Dealing with “no”
What else should I add?