Raising a VC fund to help startups
I have for a large part of my career wondered what I would be like to raise venture capital for a growing a business.
When I was at Fubra I was confident to the point of being cocky and often I would string VC’s along waiting for higher and higher offers to come before considering them. I didn’t have much trouble getting interest but so few got the long term vision I was working on I was in the end not able to do any deals.
I learnt a lot from conversations I had about what I would need if I wanted to succeed in the hyper competitive world of venture backed growth and not all of it pleased me.
In the end I became friends with one potential investor when he saw something in me other less experienced investors had missed.
I like to think of our relationship from then mentorship by 1000 swabs. Investors when they don’t want to back you never say no but give you lots of questions for you to tackle if you want funding. I thought of only I could harness this energetic inquiry I could live through what I think they refer to in Japan as slow slicing or death by 1000 cuts.
It was an ambitious plan but I knew all along that if I failed I would have learnt all about my weaknesses and hopefully built a good relationship for the future by showing perseverance and integrity and if I succeeded I would get funded and hopefully go on to make Fubra a big success.
The other thing that was great about this plan is nobody in my work life criticised me so it was so hard to get feedback but with a VC where real money was at stake there would be no such problem.
Most VC’s I spoke to failed to show interest in me as a person and just wanted to treat me like a number on a spreadsheet but I did find one investor who would treat me with grace and respect I didn’t deserve in spite of my many failings.
Over time I realised that the mentoring I was getting was hugely valuable and I felt guilty for wasting his time I wanted to have a great business idea to justify the investment of time he had put into mentoring me. But he was really professional and played a long game not seeming very bothered about the time he’d spent or my relative lack of experience. Over time this inspired me to try investing myself with some of the profits from my business. I never did end up with a plan I felt was good enough for him to back but we would talk about how to be a good investor and learn from each other’s mistakes.
I’m off for a walk with my co-mentor and friend for the first time in a very long time this week and looking forward to learning more about his current views on the investment climate having spend so long out of action professionally I hope to get some tips and advice on how to raise a fund as a VC which is something I’ve been trying to understand.