138. Build Your Network Before Fundraising

VC Minute
If you don't have a network of investors, start building that network now, before you need to fundraise.

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

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Neha Govindraj

If you don’t have an existing network in venture capital or you are about to embark on fundraising for the first time, I would spend a bit of time upfront before kicking off your fundraising.

What I would do is take some time to identify a network and build it without asking for fundraising. Just build relationships.

Go on LinkedIn and find a first-degree connection and a second-degree connection. Reach out and ask for coffee. Say you’re working on something; you’re not actively fundraising, but you would love to speak with them. Venture capitalists will take your meeting because that’s what they do; they’re meeting with founders.

It’s almost better to have that first meeting when you are not fundraising. So that way, when you go to them and say, “Hey, I’m fundraising,” you’ve actually built a little bit of a reputation with them.

And this is kind of like the “always be fundraising” mindset, which I think has mixed reviews, and I don’t believe in it post-seed but definitely in pre-seed. I would meet with folks in venture all the time, even when I wasn’t fundraising, just so they would have updates and milestones about the business.

And so that way, when I did kick off fundraising, it wasn’t like I was starting from scratch, and I knew that, okay, I’m already comfortable and friendly with these people. I’m going to reach out to them, and we are going to really talk about the business on a deeper level than we have before. I’m going to reach out to them. I’m going to tell them who Neha is. I’m going to tell them why I started Bonside. I’m going to tell them all the milestones. I’m going to be like, No, that really happened in a six-month period of time.

There’s just a lot more work you have to do. And so I would say, make it easier on yourself. Do a little bit of the work upfront so that you can have a quicker process when you kick off fundraising. Because with fundraising, speed is everything.

About Bonside
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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