093. What To Do Differently On A First Fundraise

VC Minute
The three things Dama would do differently if she could re-do her first fundraise.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better.

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Dama Dipayana

With our first fundraise, there are some things that I would’ve done differently. I would have listened more closely to what investors actually told me.

Investors aren’t always right actually. Like they’re often wrong, but they’re also very smart people who see a lot in the market. I wish that I went into it more with some inquisitiveness around what is this feedback telling me and going back to the drawing board and optimizing.

What I would do now is, doing like your first little mini tranche of investors that you don’t really care about that much. No offense, the ones that you’re like, if I get a check or some commitment, great, but I don’t actually want it. I’m just gonna use this as a test run and then actually take that data and optimize it.

What I would also do, what I didn’t do is, You’re gonna get a lot of nos, but if you get 20 nos in a row, it means that something isn’t quite right.

I’m like a very optimistic person, but man, it’s soul destroying. If you have like 60 no’s in a row,

I think one, it’s soul destroying, and two, you can kind of like bang your head against this wall but what you’re actually doing is , you’re reducing the confidence within the market.

Because investors talk, all of them talk all the time. Literally, they gossip more than my aunt. , it’s unbelievable.

What you’re also doing is , now you’re eroding confidence in a market because, Jesse said no, they’re gonna talk to Mark. And then Mark’s like, well, Jesse said no. I was like, I don’t wanna say yes to it. , and all of a sudden nobody wants to say yes.

I would say if you get 20 nos, go back to the drawing board. Figure out what is a thing and like really answering and asking investors too. If they say like, “ah, I’m just not so sure about the market.” Figure out what’s the question behind that question? Is it, I don’t think your market is large enough, is it, I don’t think your product is actually driving value. What is the question behind the question? What’s the risk that they’re trying to solve for?

One, I would tranche it a little bit more and really go into it with a mindset of like, I’m gonna learn. And then, and only do this with investors that you don’t like, because I’m gonna go to the next part and then like, I’m gonna learn. If you have 20 notes, then you’re like, you’ve gotta, you have some work to do.

The third piece, and this is where I think I have to shift gears, once you feel like if your story’s strong, you’ve tested it in the market, you’ve done all the things, you feel really confident in how tight your pitch is, I like to just hit it hard.

And I wish I did this. Just two weeks back to back meetings, drive momentum, drive FOMO, and really build a very tight process and timeline where like all of a sudden your deal creates like a little bit of scarcity in the market. You’re forcing decisions essentially in a tight timeframe.

It has pros and cons, and this is where different people have different styles but like this would work for me. So, take it with a grain of salt.

About Manatee

Dama Dipayana is the CEO & Co-Founder of Manatee. Manatee is a family-first, virtual mental health clinic, designed for kids living in the modern world. We’ve put our heads together to create the best mental health care for families.

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