Raising Capital? Be Real.
Some entrepreneurs enjoy it while others dread the “distraction.” However we feel about it, it will be necessary for most of us to hit the fundraising trail.
I am currently on this journey for the second time in my career. Many who are in my situation surely have come across…
“Seed-stage investment is an all-gut decision for the investor — you have 90 seconds to alter their gut.”
“Know your unit economics.”
ATTEND: How to raise from super angels!
LAST CHANCE: How did other startups do it?
Undoubtedly some of the above methods and insights have helped entrepreneurs achieve success, and believe me, I’ve pored through all of it. But for those of us who are after purpose and profit, I think one piece of advice stands alone.
Recently I met with a new investor who is combining purpose and profit with his new fund — similar to Obvious Ventures’ #worldpositive mantra.
I don’t think the meeting could have gone any better.
To sum up the success of the meeting, we both got real, and it made all the difference — we were able to vet each other. We are meeting again to see who else wants to join in getting real about the opportunity.
Soon after our meeting started, he got real and told me he didn’t care much about my presentation. Instead we talked about the reality I want to create and the long-term, positive impact that would follow. Our enthusiasm was mutual and it accelerated as a hypothetical company culture took shape. No deck slide obsessions or advanced unit economics estimations (note: we are seed-stage), just a ping-pong of curiosity fueled by a shared vision.
This led into understanding what our real ideologies were as individuals, which helped us realize where each one of us is coming from and wants to go. By getting real on all aspects of the opportunity, expectations for ongoing interactions had more authentic clarity. This is important because clarity = comfort.
My fundraising trail isn’t over, and it isn’t easy to completely ignore the plethora of opinions we all have consumed in regards to “doing it right.”
I like Evan Williams’ contrarian opinion:
Just remember this about the advice you read:
1) It’s likely wrong (in general).
2) It’s definitely wrong for someone (maybe you).
If your real goal is to close a round with ideal investors, be real about your mission.
If you want to get real with your customer prospect on closing a deal, be direct and authentic.
If you want to know what your hire prospect really thinks about an opportunity, allow them to reveal it through real answers.
While you can certainly draw inspiration from other opinions for your next pitch, don’t let them change the authenticity of who you are and what you must do.
Be real with your purpose, profit will follow.
I will be sharing my journey on bringing the real back to reality video. It starts here.