How They Raised Series A: Butternut Box
The Family (AAA) Stories
In a world where consumers are getting healthier and healthier, they still have trouble providing the same quality for their pets. Butternut Box makes it easy and convenient to ensure dogs get the very best diet, tailored just for them. Co-founders & best friends Kevin Glynn & David Nolan were kind enough to give us an inside look at how they raised their Series A round back in 2018 🐶
How long did it take you to raise Series A?
We raised our Series A roughly 12 months after our seed round, and in total it took us 3 months to raise, from the first meeting to having a signed term sheet. We did do a good bit of preparation before we kicked off the meetings though.
Did you think about fundraising/networking with Series A investors since the day you raised seed, or did you ignore it until you felt 100% ready?
We liked to say that we were “not fundraising” (calls, coffees and/or meetings) until we sent around our deck, but in reality we always had time for a call between our seed and Series A. Our general advice would be, don’t waste time leaving the office for meetings unless you truly want some cash in the door but always have a quick 30 minute call to get people on the rolodex for the future 👛
How much did you raise and from whom?
What was the biggest difference between raising Seed & Series A?
You could see the conversation shift more from a market size question during the seed round to a combination of market size, growth rates, unit economics and overall retention levels of the business during the Series A. Essentially, during the Series A the main questions are around “have you found product market fit?” The questions around the team, passion, ambition and product we have found remain constant no matter what round you are in.
What do you wish you had known before starting? What would you do differently?
Generally we would like to say our Series A process was pretty well ran, but the two things looking back that we could have been more aware about were:
- Make sure a “slow no” is quickly found out as it is time wasted for the team; and
- The Due Diligence process and Data Room preparation takes longer than anticipated, so give yourself the right amount of time on that.
Was your data organised? Did you build a data room?
Yes, we were pretty organised on the data room — given we had a lot of data we wanted to make sure it was easy to digest and also easy to navigate — we did this in a simple way on Google Drive. In our opinion, this is an important point as in many ways it sets a precedent for how the business is run in general. If the data room is extremely cluttered, hard to navigate and creates headaches for the investor, it generally does not put the business in the best light. Having said all of the above, try not to go over the top, spending way too much time on it 🏃♀️
What did you learn re deck, pitching & storytelling during funding?
Learnings on our deck:
- Sequoia have a great presentation on how to put together a good investor deck. We would highly recommend reading that:
- We always started with the story of “why we exist” and why we are passionate about Butternut.
- Less information on the slides is better. Try to anticipate the questions you could get on each slide and just have them in your back pocket.
- Generally you are asking for a good bit of money, so be prepared and come to the table ready to play.
- Always remember that the general three things you will get questioned on are (1) Market Size; (2) Product; and (3) Team. Be airtight on those answers.
- Hugely important.
- Storytelling is not just the story of why you are passionate about the business and what you are trying to solve — the whole deck should read like you are telling a story. When you flick from one slide to the next it should be seamless.
- It does not happen overnight, so put the required time into it 🙇
Any other thoughts about your Series A?
Whenever we have gone out fundraising we have always prioritised (in order) (1) How much does the business need; (2) Do the investors fit our company values and people values; and (3) What is the valuation… this is always the last out of the 3.
Finally, we would say to just remember that a “no” gets easier over time and you only need one term sheet.
The Family (AAA) is dedicated to helping ambitious founders raise the best Series A possible. Education is a big part of that, so keep an eye out for more of our content. And of course, if you’re thinking of raising a Series A in the next 4–12 months and want to take part in our programme, get in touch! (👉 firstname.lastname@example.org / aaa.thefamily.co)
Thanks to Ed Gaussen for making it possible for us to share this story 🙌