Early-stage founders know no shortage of responsibilities, fundraising being one of the most important. How does a startup successfully raise money? How should a founder approach fundraising at different stages of their journey? What are the key markers of startup momentum and how do they lead to the best valuations?
I’ve been an early stage investor for nearly two decades and often find myself sharing fundraising advice. I wanted to offer what I’ve learned in a way that is better than my off-the-cuff discourse. The goal is to help founders organize their startups in a way that leads to the greatest probability of success and aligns with how early-stage investors think about funding events.
This project is coming to life in the form of an all-new video series serving as a guide to startup fundraising.
In this new series (and, of course, the deep-dive guide to fundraising in the Unusual Field Guide), I’ve compiled my key learnings as the result of my experience as an investor, but more importantly, as a partner to founders at the earliest stages of their journey. I have had the honor of supporting dozens of world class founders building some of the most iconic tech companies in the world—such as Arctic Wolf, MuleSoft, Harness, Pinterest, SnapChat, and AppDynamics—and these learnings can help the next wave of founders as they build world-changing startups.
For an early-stage founder, fundraising is about much more than raising money. It’s about setting the vision for your entire company and articulating the story in a way that compels people to want to be a part of it. It’s also about building the business in an organized way that enables it to “Survive and Advance” through each round of funding. The resulting frameworks and tips I share in these two videos (and several more to come) are meant to help early-stage founders set a roadmap and deliver on it.
As any founder knows, there are many dimensions to a startup’s success. From an investor’s perspective, I want to know about the goals and the progress with regard to TEAM, PRODUCT, and TRACTION. In this first video I explain how that framework will course through everything else that a founder does when raising venture capital.
No matter the stage of your company, as a founder you want to orient your fundraising around a set of goals or milestones for that phase of the journey. At each stage of a startup’s journey the role of the founder is to guide the startup to demonstrate enough progress such that investors perceive the business as a less risky endeavor when it is time to raise additional investment capital. Higher valuations result when investors view the startup as more likely to succeed. In the video series, we break down the nuances of the right goals to organize around at each stage in the startup’s lifecycle. We cover the appropriate milestones regardless of whether your company is Pre-Product Market Fit or Post-Product Market Fit.
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