Headfake

What to do When You Lose Your Funding


Everyone knows that the most crucial and anxiety-inducing part of starting a business is the dreaded funding stage. Businesses don’t grow out of the ground. They are the seeds which we plant, and funding is the water, sunlight, and oxygen all rolled into one super-pill.

Every time you pick up a business magazine, look at the agenda for a lean startup meetup, or listen to an interview with an entrepreneur, you hear people talking about how to land funding for your startup, hailing companies that have managed to secure investment as the holy grail of success.

But bootstrapping? Building a company that pays for itself from the beginning? Figuring out how to keep costs low when you’re starting out? These are considerations that any new entrepreneur needs to take into account.

Every investor wants to bet on a winning horse. I mean, what’s the point in losing money on purpose? But that’s the risk taken on a gamble. And when you depend on others’ financing for your pet project — things can go wrong.

This isn’t a post to promote my company. This isn’t a post to promote some magical get-rich-quick scheme. There is no such thing. This post is simply here to remind some of you why we do what we do. A message that often gets lost in this world of funding-hungry startups.

The Story

So, you’ve managed to gather your partners, patent or trademark your idea or product, and you’re ready to go. What’s missing? THE MONEY.

This is the part that scares most new entrepreneurs. If you’re fortunate enough to have some sort of trust fund to sit back on, then you’re golden, and you can stop reading here. But for 99% of us, that’s not really the case. We’re left to fend for ourselves, and do whatever we can and say whatever we have to in order to put together the fiscal base that our nubile business needs.

Recently, I was approached by an investor who wanted to invest in my new project, and I was so excited. I could take a load off of my chest and just relax, now that the funding locating part was over. I was ecstatic.

When you hear that your project is going to be funded, you’re over the moon. You’re like a child on Christmas morning (or Hanukkah, if that’s your ball game). You can’t wait to unwrap your presents, just like you can’t wait to get out, rent some office space, and hire yourself a staff of young, fresh-faced workers.

The Problem

You get so excited, shooting off hundreds of new ideas and plans for the business that you’re going to grow together. Then…silence.

You ask yourself why. You ask yourself what you’re going to do with the staff that you’ve promised a yearly salary to. You ask yourself how you’re going to pay your rent for your office space next month.

Stop. Breathe. And listen.

The Solution

Here’s what to do — what you did before. You weren’t lost before the investor came along. You weren’t shit out of luck. You were just in the beginning stages. When push comes to shove, sometimes you plan for some things to happen — and they don’t. You have to keep your head down, and (as we’ve heard before in Finding Nemo), “Just keep swimming.”

You’re a hustler. You’ve hustled from the beginning stages. Now you have to hustle again — and hustle harder.

Funding will come again. Look at it this way → your idea was good enough to get the original funding, so it’s good enough to go through another round of fundraising. Look to the left, and look to the right. If you don’t see an investor, then BE the investor. Grab yourself by the bootstraps, and get to work.


Brandon Rubinshtein, the author of this article, is an entrepreneur based in New York City with vast experience in startups. His latest venture is Verre, a “polished black car alternative that operates a cut above the industry standards”. Check it out!