This is not the seed round you’re looking for.
Seed funding is not what it used to be.
Once upon a time seed funding was about creating optionality for founders and investors alike. That time is long gone.
Rewind to 2004–2005: a seed round was sub $1M financing with an explicit option to explore profitability, early M&A, or remove risk for a follow-on round of funding from a more traditional VC.
Fast forward to now and we’ve created a Unicorn culture that puts valuation above value creation. In this new seed funding environment, fundraising has become the business model. What folks call a seed round today has become a precursor to an implied series A, if you’re ever fortunate enough to make it there.
We often get pinged by friends, entrepreneurs and investors alike, who are so excited to introduce us to a founder who is seemingly almost always raising a $1–5mm seed round. In their excitement, they’re kind and complimentary about the Indie.vc ethos, pathos and logos. And we’re humbled by that, truly.
Alas, we often find that we’re not in sync with the founder.
Inevitably, the seed rounds they’re currently raising have an eye towards the Seed+/A round they anticipate closing in the next 12–18 months. And though the milestones they will accomplish on the round they are raising are meaningful, they’re all executed with an eye towards a step up in valuation and a refresh of their bank account come the next round of financing.
Despite the professed shared values of what we stand for at Indie.vc, these rounds are not a path to independence but another step on the treadmill of fundraising that is increasingly difficult to get off.
So to set the record straight:
Indie.vc is not the seed round you are looking for.
Our financing strategy at Indie.vc is not part of any round; current or future.
The financing we provide is solely to help you grow your business, independent of any pressure from investors and an expectation of further future financing rounds.
Microsoft, Shutterstock and Atlassian raised one time prior their IPOs. Github, Airwatch, Qualtrics, Braintree were all very profitable before taking outside funding. Basecamp sold a small ownership stake to Jeff Bezos, then never raised again. They spit out tens of millions in profits every year.
These are our gold standards for independent businesses.
To spell things out:
1/ we don’t syndicate larger rounds
2/ we are not a bridge or a loan to your next VC or PE round
3/ our financing isn’t intended to pay out previous investors, debt or equity
We believe there are many ways to build a business and raising and burning successive rounds of traditional venture capital is one way. So if that’s the path you’ve chosen, then we are not the right partner for you.
But if you want to build a business for the long haul, focus on revenue, unit economics and profitability instead of meaningless valuations, headcount and the next ‘round’ being your milestone, then Indie.vc might be the right partner for you.
We want to help you to build your business on your terms.
Let the Unicorns burn…