After 17 years managing and supporting companies and non-profit organizations in their fundraising efforts, here’s what I’ve learned: it ain’t easy.
More often than not in a young startup, NO is far more common than YES. The CEO is usually spending 95% of his time researching and chasing down potential investors. Meanwhile, he’s trying to figure out what will make investors click with his startup’s message in the hope that one of his leads will be fruitful.
When I meet with startups that have already started this process, they usually show me “the spreadsheet.” You know the one – a million columns wide for every conceivable parameter. Contact information, last contact, what they sent, when to follow up, their birthday, their kid’s birthday.
Explaining venture builders still raises eyebrows whenever I talk to tech investors. Venture builders—companies that build several startups in parallel—are usually confused with accelerators or incubators, but they’re almost completely different. Venture builders give internal startups a big boost of both human and financial capital through in-house teams and investments; accelerators and incubators usually only give startups access to human capital, and usually in just an advisory capacity.
Take our first startup, Pulse Play. Pulse Play is a smartwatch for racket sport players. It’s a good-looking piece of hardware that keeps score, helps players find opponents, and gives them a worldwide ranking. If Pulse Play was a standalone startup, it’d struggle to find a team, it’d struggle t...