Fundraising While Running a Startup Company

In the last post, I wrote about how I never really thought seriously about raising money for my company. I was optimistic that Listenwise would take off quickly and be self-funding.

But like most successful companies, you need capital to get it off the ground. And you need ongoing funding to keep it going as you build your revenue business.

Once I had raised the first round of angel investment and had a product selling in the market, the need for cash remained. After all, a growing company consumes cash.

Fundraising takes a lot of time. Investors–rightly so–want to believe that you are putting their capital to good use. They want to speak with you, meet with you, review the financials and hear your plans for the future. You also need to find new investors.

Startup Fundraising at Different Stages

Raising money is very different than running a company.

But once you have a growing company you need to do both at the same time. When I first raised money, the company was just taking shape. I wasn’t running a company. I was raising money to start a company.

dreamstime_s_11032102-640x472It’s like wearing two hats at the same time.

In fundraising, you step back from your company and try to see it from the outside, as an investor would. What have you done well, what could have gone better and what have you learned? How will you do it better in the future? In other words, what is your fundraising story?

This story isn’t different from what is really happening in the company, but it’s a view from 33,000 feet.

In the meantime, every day you are doing the other jobs are required to keep the company going–selling, keeping customers well supported, renewing insurance, etc.

It’s a hard balancing act.

Focus on Increasing Revenue Too

The fundraising story focuses on what you’ve accomplished in the past year. For us it was launching the first of its kind listening assessment and increasing revenue.

The CEO story focuses on what’s happening right now in the company. What feature are we building next? How are sales progressing? How are we doing training and supporting customers?

Do you see the two hats?

Obviously they are both part of the same story and in a successful company the dual jobs complement each other and the end result is a successful fundraise to support the ongoing work of the company. That’s what happened for me at Listenwise and I am thankful every day for our investors and our hardworking employees because we couldn’t be successful without either of them.

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