213. Raising During a Downturn

VC Minute
A year after the boom-times, raising another funding round was a different story.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better

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Alex Ryden:

So we had a really awesome start. We got everyone on board and we closed and then it was like, all right, grow 10 X. That’s easy. So spent very quickly and hired and built and operated against the model versus against reality each month. And I would say the one learning from that was to manage your business monthly, not quarterly. Manage your business daily, not monthly. Just be in there, be in the weeds, and just track how you’re pacing. And always spend to reality versus spending the plan. I think that’s where we got a little over our skis in the first go around continuing to think the revenue would catch up building the team faster than we needed to, and kind of over-engineering the problem we were solving a bit.

And then raising during downturn times, we were run rating at a great pace and felt really, really strong that our metrics were there for a Series A and so we went out in June of 2022. And started to talk to a lot of funds that had a ton of interest. All of our current investors were so great at introducing us, especially Range got us tons of meetings, and a lot of people started to dig in, starting to look at the business. But everyone wanted to wait. Everyone wanted to wait and kind of see what the market was doing, not what we were doing. My biggest competitor wasn’t my competitors, and people raising it actually were the Fed interest rates and the market. That’s who I was literally competing against to make this thing work.

I just don’t think that was a great outcome, especially for businesses during that time. What they’re doing at the Fed level was impacting my business and impacting lots of people’s businesses. Challenging time to go out to market and start to fundraise. Frustrating time to feel like you’ve done everything to control what you can control. You get to a certain expectation, you know, that you’re tall enough to ride the rollercoaster, and then suddenly things change and it’s out of everyone’s control.

I think also during the downturn, it’s just impossible to get people to move to a decision. People took all of August off. It felt like so completely killed the momentum in the process. And it didn’t allow me to have any sort of leverage. I didn’t know where anyone was out in their timeline, so it was very difficult for me to move people along. I’m also an honest founder. I’m not going to fabricate that I have a term sheet if I don’t. I was always honest and that didn’t really drive the same intention that I really wanted with that honesty. Right. And letting them know, Hey, we really need to get this closed. We need to know who’s serious here. And people would continue to kind of bide their time.

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About AVL Growth Partners
AVL Growth Partners, founded in 2009, is the leading fractional Finance and Accounting firm supporting organizations in pivoting from growth to scale. AVL brings an experienced team of CFOs, Controllers, and Accountants to your organization, delivering transparent, strategic actions for short and long-term success. Transform your financial approach affordably with AVL, supporting companies coast to coast – get to know AVL Growth Partners at avlgrowth.com. (Sponsored)

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