VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better.
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Last week, I mentioned this week’s guest, Neha from Bonside, and her ability to generate that founder distortion field.
She’s able to do that. Not only because she’s incredibly smart and has deep domain expertise. But she also ran a process for fundraising. She’s going to share some of her tips and tricks with us this week. Take it away, Neha.
Hi, I’m Neha Govindraj. I am the Founder and CEO of Bonside, Inc. And we provide financing to brick-and-mortar businesses. Prior to Bon Side, I started my career at Bain, where I worked in the retail and private equity practices. And then, after that, she started a business called Glow Bar here in New York City. And post-Glow Bar, Bonside started.
We raised our pre-seed round, which was 1.1 million, and then our seed round of 3.25 million. And so, by the time we launched, we had raised $4.35 million to date.
The pre-seed round was a very different fundraising process in that your pre-idea was your pre-product, or at least in my case, I was. So, in taking on that initial tranche of capital, I was relying on, why should you put capital in Neha? And why is Neha’s thought for the bond side a thought worth exploring?
Personally, I think pre-seed pitching is the most fun form of pitching because you really get to live in the vision and the mission, you really get to have your head in the clouds, and you really get to dream. As a founder, the more you start doing, the harder it becomes to dream. It’s almost like you become a little bit more aware of what’s in the realm of possibility. And so, you start to get a little bit narrower in your thinking.
And I think, with pre-seed, the vision was so large, it could go in so many directions, and it could be such a great business. And I think the pre-seed investor on the other side just had to believe that the founding thought, and the initial thought of infrastructure were something worth backing. And, you know, who knows whether they believed in it, like all the other versions of the world that I was painting with this. But it’s just so fun to pitch that way.
And so, I loved that. I really, really enjoyed pre-seed pitching. I think I initially set out to raise $300,000 as part of our pre-seed and ended up raising $1.1 million just because it was really enjoyable, just like meeting with different people and telling them about the vision and getting more people to buy into it. And really, just seeing all of that, at a certain point I was like, Okay, stop raising and get to work.
Bonside is the first institution created specifically to finance brick-and-mortar businesses. Where venture capital has evolved to suit the needs of tech, Bonside’s structure (based on “Repeatable Revenue Agreements, RRAs) both leverages and encourages the distinct attributes of service-based brick-and-mortars—such as measured growth, repeat revenue, and community involvement. By providing a centralized source of capital and resources, Bonside harnesses the strengths of an age-old yet recently evolving industry in order to empower its modern growth and establish a compelling new asset class for investors.
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