VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better.
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One of the things that I did prior to fundraising that I found to be extremely helpful through the fundraising process was identify someone in my network that I trusted and respected their opinion on fundraising, either because they were a venture investor or another founder. Actually, I had one for both, so I had someone who was a venture capitalist and one who was a founder.
And I decided that they were going to be my friends in this process, and I wasn’t going to ask them for any introductions from the founder side, and I wasn’t going to ask them for any capital for the venture capitalist.
And what that enabled me to do was truly talk to them unfiltered.
Because when you’re fundraising, you’re always selling. It would be too much pressure if I, said, hey, I’m going to talk to my venture capitalist friend, and, you know, you start off the process and you’re being totally unfiltered, then you ask them for an intro. And then if something doesn’t go well, you feel uncomfortable, kind of going back to them and telling them about things that didn’t work and then asking them for another intro.
With the founder friend, I didn’t need to explicitly say it, like, Hey, I’m never going to ask you for an intro. But I just didn’t do it, and that was never the expectation. I told my venture capitalist friend. I said, I’m never going to pitch your firm.
I just don’t want that dynamic. I want to know that I can go to my venture capitalist friend for any advice, good or bad, and they will give me their candid reply because they don’t feel like they need to introduce me to anyone or anything like that. And then, same with my founder friend.
And I found that I was able to extract way more value from my founder friend and my venture capitalist friend by structuring it that way. Because they were just like, Okay, pressure’s off, I can just blindly help Neha without having to think about what this actually means for the introductions that I’m going to be making.
For me, it was important to have someone that was in the industry that I could go to with that stuff because I wanted reactions and thoughts, and I wanted to trust it, versus just a friend that was totally separate from it all that I could vent to.
And I’m so glad I did it that way. There are just so many VC funds out there, and it was really nice to have someone on the inside that I could go to and really get unfiltered advice from without having to think about, would you invest in me? Do you agree with this person? I could just blindly trust their opinion too.
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