How do entrepreneurs convince people to give them money? We profile founders who've gone through the fundraising gauntlet in order to get their venture off the ground.
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Adeel Mallick, the co-founder and CEO of Humming Homes, had the perfect background to start a company and lead a fundraise. Experience at startup studios, an MBA, and stints at top venture capital firms had him setup to knock the first fundraise for his startup out of the water. When things didn't go as planned, Adeel had to reflect, regroup, and recommit to the process to get his company the seed funding it needed to scale.
Jack Alton was a startup vet before he was recruited to join Neuro-ID as its CEO in 2016. His requirements to join included headquartering the company in Montana and building a remote first culture. Back then those pursuits were not only rare but considered flaws. 5 years later, they would be come major reasons for Canapi Ventures to preempt Neuro-ID's Series B round.
In 2016, Guy Friedman was a successful startup founder with an exit. Most would think that would make raising money for his next company SteadyMD a breeze. Instead, none of his prior investors decided to back him and he was on a familiar grind to getting funding. Fast forward to 2020 and Guy was steadily growing his core business when a wave hit in the form of acceleration towards telemedicine. All of the sudden he was surfing and fundraising became a very very different experience.
Parker Treacy had to become fluent in two completely foreign languages, Portuguese and Fundraising, on his path to building Cobli out of Brazil.
Erin Carpenter grew up focused on becoming an entertainer with classical training as a ballerina. When she went to raise money, she found that the fundraising dance was surprisingly hard to learn.
Nicole Emrani Green's journey from the rambunctious daughter of Persian immigrants to venture-backed CEO had twists and turns. Surprisingly, her first career in psychotherapy gave her some of the tools to help advance herself as a leader and successfully close a $4MM Seed round for her company Givingli.
Matt Pohlson, co-founder and CEO of Omaze, has had one of the most death defying startup journeys ever. Time and time again, his company has been on the brink of death, only to be saved by Matt’s persistence and never-quit attitude. While most involved nearly running out of funds, one experience involved his own near death experience as he flatlined on an ER bed with his family surrounding him. Persistence brought him back from the brink and eventually back to Omaze where he used an even stronger belief in their mission to lead a Series B fundraise in March of 2020 just as COVID began impacting the world.
Zach Bruhnke, co-founder and CEO of HMBradley, had a shot at startup glory with his first fintech company Spout. After investor skepticism caused him to throw in the towel, he vowed not to have his own convictions be swayed in future companies. Zach shares how a crazy commitment to the vision with HMBradley as well as a natural approach to building relationships led to both company and fundraising success.
For the three years between her graduation from Y Combinator to her splashy $50MM Series A raise from Sequoia, Christina Cacioppo and her company Vanta kept a low profile. Back in 2018, they had been working in a space few people were talking about around Silicon Valley. SOC2 compliance for startups hardly got people excited. Then, almost out of nowhere, came the announcement that Vanta had raised $50MM from Sequoia Capital. Christina shares how she got to this point and how much impact YC had on the process.
Kameale Terry never wanted to be an entrepreneur, but eventually a problem she saw first hand in the electric vehicle industry drew her into starting ChargerHelp! From the beginning, she was less concerned with the hype cycle of startup trends and more focused on what she describes as “good business.” This allowed her to weather the storm of confusing and sometimes conflicting startup advice and the struggle to find a lead to eventually find herself in a super oversubscribed seed round.
Before starting Yac, Justin Mitchell had zero network in venture capital, didn’t know the insider terms, and was based out of small town Florida. None of this would point to someday raising a Series A round of funding from a top venture capital firm, but that’s what he did. The key he tells us was focusing on meeting the right people, building great product, and leaning on his thespian roots.
Laura Del Beccaro, the Founder of Sora, looks like the most VC-backable, first time founder ever. She went to a top university, was a software engineer at a scaled startup, and even did a stint at a top VC firm. But after pulling together an all-star pre-seed round fairly quickly, Laura found out how difficult fundraising can be when you’re no longer a “hot deal” as she tried to raise her subsequent round. Laura had to dig deep to find the confidence to unlock VC dollars even while her company’s numbers were less than confidence inspiring.
From the start of our conversation with Sam Corcos from Levels, it was obvious there would be too much sauce for just one episode. In this second half of our 2-part series, Sam begins by sharing details around a large key to his success - his very large cap table. Afterwards, we discuss specifics around his approach to attracting a $12MM seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz and how newcomers to the sport of fundraising might fare employing similar tactics.
Much like the "secret master plan" for his company Levels, Sam Corcos openly talks about what he was able to decipher when it comes to the science of fundraising. This is exciting because fundraising approaches have traditionally been shared with tribal knowledge, feel-based language. In this conversation, Sam talks about how how he decided to follow his training as a scientist rather than rely on fundraising folklore. The result was a data driven process that has left even the most experienced investors speechless. Part 1 of this 2 part series focuses on how he built the base for his approach and features inspiration for 2021 goal setting.
Have you ever heard the advice “dress for the job you want not the one you have”? For Topper Luciani, that was tough advice to follow because it meant wearing an old t-shirt from Goodwill even while asking fancy venture capitalists for millions of dollars. In this episode, we hear how Topper learned the importance of being your authentic self while raising money and how he somehow managed to save his company after one of the most devastating curveballs in fundraising - a pulled term sheet.
Anthemos Georgiades, founder of Zumper, perfected his pitch the way most founders do: through trial and error. This show is about storytelling and all the elements that go into telling the perfect fundraising story. Anthemos deals with a difficult start to his tale having to manage “signaling risk” as well missteps with his deck and an overall lack of focus on the way to raising over $140 million dollars.
Investors like patterns. They’re either explicitly or subconsciously motivated to back businesses that look, sound, or feel familiar and comfortable. That’s why Isharna Walsh, founder of sexual wellness app Coral, had such a daunting task. For her, raising venture capital meant guiding investors through the uncomfortable task of talking about their sex lives and convincing them to back an unfamiliar profile, a minority woman with no ivy league degrees.
Lindsay McCormick, founder of Bite Toothpaste Bits, wants you to know there are alternatives to taking venture capital. She created a multimillion dollar business and funded its growth almost entirely through customer purchases. This show is an honest discussion about the alternatives to venture capital. You’ll learn why even though Lindsay’s email inbox is full of investment offers, she turns them away.
In this trailer, hear the background for what will be an amazing season of conversations that show what it takes to get a startup funded. Intriguing quotes from the founders of Zumper, Fama, TRNDS Sports, and more tease some of the topics that will be covered.
The tech media loves a splashy funding announcement - millions of dollars injected into a hot startup primed to become a unicorn. But what about the work behind those headlines? Host Jason Yeh, a former VC and venture-backed startup founder, talks with entrepreneurs about how they raised the capital to launch world-changing startups. Their conversations uncover incredible stories including cautionary tales, inspirational memories, and even some insightful tips.
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