If you are starting a tech company today, raising money is something that sooner or later you will have to face. There are plenty of resources online about “how to raise”, however when you chat with founders, you realise that everyone has a different story or angle to how they have approached raising.
That’s why I have decided to share not only Emma’s first deck, but what made us close the raise; with the hope, this can be helpful to the next generation of founders.
Me and my co-founder left uni in 2016. It took us 2 years before getting funded to the point we were completely broke. In that period, we tried a few things and finally found something we were ready to commit the next 10 years of our lives.
After lots of ups ad downs, we decided it was time to raise in February 2018 and started our first meetings in the second week of that month. We had some interesting early traction, a network that could support us and the willingness to take things next level.
This is how our deck looked at the time. 👇👇
It wasn’t perfect and that’s exactly why I wanted to share it. Things don’t have to be perfect as long as you get to the point.
What worked for us.
- We joined an accelerator right away. For us, it was TheFamily.
- We were fully technical and had bootstrapped everything till that point.
- We built a product that people wanted and showed early traction.
- We were, and still are, great at executing and moving fast.
- Every person who invested came via warm introductions made by TheFamily and the first commitments.
- We had enough runway to be able to sustain a 3-5 months raise (we were sleeping on airbeds in a gym and were completely broke).
- Me and Antonio knew each other from the first week of Uni and had been coding together for years. You don’t want to get to this point with a stranger.
What we weren’t prepared for.
- We didn’t start hiring right away. If you want to go fast, you should hire while raising and show investors you have a clear plan. They will ask you who you are going to hire and how you are going to spend the money.
- Although we had a sweet deck and were introduced to the “world of startups” by people in the industry, we really didn’t have a clear story to tell and that made the raise a bit more challenging.
- We didn’t manage to setup 70 meetings in two weeks, but they were all spread around a much bigger time period. Do you want investors to compete on a deal? Talk to all of them at the same time.
My tips to you
- Join an accelerator: without a strong angel network or a decent accelerator, fundraising can be a challenge. You want to be in a position where every fund is accessible and can be met in the same period.
- Keep focusing on what matters: product & users.
- If you are not technical, become one. If you are starting a tech company and want to quickly find product-market-fit, you will need to go hyper fast in order to increase acquisition, engagement and retention.
- Avoid conferences, networking events, pitch competitions and anything that will keep you away from product and users. Pitching is a 1 to 1 conversation with another person whether this is an analyst, principal or partner at a VC firm. The best advice I got about this was to become good at dating. 😉
At Emma, we are hiring in our London office! If you love product and great engineering challenges, make sure to check out our openings.