How To (Not) Get VC Funding for Your Startup
with a little bit of How To thrown in at the end for good measure…
So…. this just happened
There’s this company that I won’t name here in this text that I’m typing. But let’s just say I’ve gotten into not one, not two, but three pretty big fights with them in years past cuz I really don’t like people coming in and fucking with startups.
The last fight got SO gangsta that Scott Kirsner, Phil Beauregard, Jeremy Weiskotten and myself teamed up and… created the awesome that is Unpitch, which has now connected hundreds of startups with Boston’s top investors. ALL FOR FREE (suck on that, pay to pitch!). And cuz economics is sometimes wrong, the investors have picked up the lunch tab time every single time (thank you, Boston investors!).
So, technically, I owe them a thank you.
But… it’s been a few years, so! I guess it’s time for Round #4.
It’s all about the thoughts
Are you looking for funding for your startup?
It really is all about having the right mindset, so I’ve put together a visioning exercise to ground your mind for wealth.
Ok first, close your eyes.
(okay. well. yeah. you know what I mean. shuttup)
Now, I want you to imagine that you’re sitting in front of your computer, your laptop, your phone… whichever you use most often to check your messages.
And you open up your inbox, and…
You’ve got mail!
Right Up Top is a very personalized note, addressed directly to your first name. Albeit from someone you’ve never met before. Yet in DIRECT answer to your very desire!:
Hi Abby – Wanted to know if you’re actively seeking venture funding.
(Actively seeking venture funding? WOW! Do you have some candy for me too?)
Can you picture it really clearly?
Now. I want you to imagine
RED LIGHTS FLASHING ALARMS BLARING BZZZZZZZ BZZZZZZZ BZZZZZZ BZZZZZZZ SO PAINFUL WON’T STOP MUST GET AWAY
Here are some things that you need to know about funding
#1 Most investments are made with people that the investor has known for at least 15 months. Not 15 minutes at an assembly line pitch event. Definitely not because they responded to a cold call from an investor.
(who does that? what kind of investor would be like “I have all this money I want to give away but nobody will talk to me!” None of them. Not a one.)
#2. Most investments are made with startups that the investor chose to talk to because the startup is doing interesting things. Not with startups that… seemingly have so few redeeming qualities that their only option is to pay large sums of money for the VC’s time.
(which seriously makes me cry. please don’t be that startup)
If you’re serious about your startup, don’t wait until you’re actively seeking funding
Hell, even if you’re just having fun and following your curiosity with no serious plans for this particular project/idea anywhere in site (said many a founder before they got wildly crazy seriously successful)…
If you’re serious or interested or excited about startups in general, get involved in the community right from day one. Meet people, make relationships, and (ahem, shameless pitch) go to awesome events like Unpitch that put you in the room with amazing people that are going to help you on your journey. If not today, then at some unknown point in your future. Or maybe the tables will flip and you’ll end up helping them in a way that inexplicably makes your life better.
Even if you never end up doing a serious startup. Startup people are, hands down, some of the most awesome people EVER.
And unbelievably infectious. Just try to spend time hanging out with startup peeps and not get crazy inspired to go do, be, create things that you had never even thought were possible before.
Seriously, being around startup people can only make you better.
And so – don’t go and be a wantrepreneur, cuz nobody likes that. But if you’re really willing to get out of your comfort zone and try new things and give this startup thing a try, then go!
Tap into your city’s startup community and get visible.
And – if you do decide to seek funding (actively or, um, whatever other kind of seeking there is?) save your money for things that turn your startup into just exactly the kind of startup that investors seek out to talk to.