A Ridiculously Detailed Fundraising Guide

A Step-by-step system to help secure venture capital

Founder Collective
Apr 23, 2019 · 6 min read

Even for strong startups, fundraising is a marathon that requires near constant attention for 8–12 weeks. The process is punishing, and riskier than you might imagine. You need to prep for it as seriously as you would a race.

Prepare for rejection. A lot of it. A promising startup will get 17 or 18 “no’s” for every “yes.” These brush-offs often have less to do with the startup in question than idiosyncratic context or concerns for each VC. Still, it stings. Don’t get demoralized.

To make matters worse, the stress level will ratchet up every week as inevitable “passes” pile up. Many deals are closed sub-optimally simply because the founder is ground down by the process, slightly panicked, and wants to be done with it. You can avoid this fate!

There’s been a lot written about how to prepare a deck, less about the mechanics of running the process. Here are a few thoughts, with a special focus on how to use your current investors for leverage during this taxing time:

📝 Build a list

✂️ Curate the list with your VCs

👉 Fixate on leads

🔬 Focus on this round — Only this round

🔪 Make one more cut

📦 Prep an intro package

  • A 1–2 paragraph teaser about your startup
  • 5–10 bullet points about your company: traction numbers, press clips, notable milestones
  • A deck/Docsend link

🗝️ Choose the best intros

🗓️ Schedule ~10 Meetings

🛴 Pad the schedule

⚾️ Practice your pitch

🎭 Dress Rehearse

🥉 Sequence investors

🍻 Employ the buddy system

🚫 Embrace “Objection Response”

👂 Report objectively

🛡️ Shield your team (and VCs)

🕵️‍♂️ Use backchannels

👶 Nurture all interest

🏎️ Race to a term sheet

🤥 Never ever mislead …

There are a million nuances and edge cases, and no tweetstorm can come close to preparing you for the exhaustion of fundraising. That’s why it’s important to have aligned VCs and to prepare as you would for any other endurance event.

Managing Partner Eric Paley recently shared this as a tweetstorm. We collected the tweets as a post for your convenience. Please share it with entrepreneurs you know who are preparing to pitch VCs!

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +445,678 people.

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