Monday, April 11, 2016

Learn about fundraising early

I had the pleasure of paneling at an event called "Dollars & $ense: Get Smart About Raising Capital for Your Business" organized by the economic development counsel of King County last week. The organizers brought in an a variety of entrepreneurs at different stages of their lifecycle and there were a few things that stuck out as we talked through the prepared questions and long Q & A afterwards....

  1. Learn about fundraising early - there are lots factors to understand that lead investors to deciding if and when they'll invest. Learning these things can be done, but starting earlier is easier. Attend an educational workshop or conference, book office hours, talk to your advisors about fundraising, read blogs, engage the community, read books. The information is out there.
  2. Not all information is meant for you and your business - as noted in #1, there's a lot of ways to learn about fundraising. Your job as an entrepreneur is to figure out how to best finance your venture and that means deciding which great advice to throw in the garbage and which great advice to read.
  3. Find a recent financing to compare yourself to - If you've done enough of #1 & #2 to have a sketch of your ideal financing, you should be able to point to two or three companies who took a similar path recently. If you have twenty companies to point to you've done too much research and probably should narrow it down quickly, raise your round, and get back to building your company.
Raising capital takes time, it is time well spent finding the right business partners. You, the entrepreneur, will be the one hitched to the business partner who invested. You, the entrepreneur, will be the one tasked with executing on the business model that your business partner is betting on. You, the entrepreneur, need to find a partner who you can confidently embark on a journey like this with.