Wednesday, September 5, 2012

66 Meetups Speaking Notes

Following on from my presentation at 66meetups last night here are the 7 fundraising lessons we learnt in raising our Series A round for Shoes of Prey:

  • Have the right story for investors. We had to show that all the key parts of our business are scalable, and that we had a path to a large exit in ~5 years.
  • Build a great pitch deck. Our final deck was 30 slides and covered off all the major points investors were asking us during our pitches.
  • Pitch to investors in parallel rather than series. We made the mistake early on of stopping our pitching to new investors once we had an investor we thought would go ahead. A key factor in successfully closing our round was having lots of investors interested all at the same time.
  • Be prepared for any conversation with investors as though it's a pitch. Even if they're not consciously doing it they're still assessing you and your business.
  • Outbound dialing programs from US and European VCs can be a waste of time. More on this here.
  • If you're putting a group of investors together, getting some key, respected people involved is critical. For us Mike Cannon-Brooks was the person who finally tipped the deal over the line. Once he was in, everyone else who was borderline decided to go ahead, he single handedly pitched CrunchFund to invest in us as well. Other people were also critical to our process: Richard Baker, Bill Bartee, Gareth Adams and Niki Scevak.
  • Raising capital takes time, be prepared for this. It was an 18 month process from when we first started pitching to having the money in the bank.

For more info on how we raised our Series A round see this post. And for details on the government funding programs I mentioned see this post.

Photo credit.

3 comments:

  1. And thanks for sharing Michael... All success to you & the team.

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  2. Hi Michael - I was there last night and thoroughly enjoyed your presentation. It was succinct, informal yet bursting with information.

    I run a small bespoke art and fabric design business and am building a shopping site which streamlines much of what I do on a weekly basis for clients. Hence, I will need funding sometime in the future when my life savings run out! I shall remember and learn from your lessons.

    Anyway, I tried to find you to say hi last night but couldn't spot you in the crowd. (Good turn out considering it was only their 2nd event)

    P.S I am a very happy Shoes of Prey customer!

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  3. Great tips Michael! Niki Scevak said exactly the same thing when he came for our AngelCube demo day pitches in Sydney... "getting investment is hard, just keep pitching to investors in parallel not in series!"

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