What I learned raising our first round of capital

Very niiiiiice!

Very niiiiiice!

Today is a good day. Here’s why:

We received a final thumbs up from our last investor. That means that we will successfully close our round within a week. That’s a good thing.

If you read this you will probably know that we have been raising capital. Why am I sure your know about it? Basically, because we nagged everyone we knew with our investment – So you may have been somewhere in the loop.

Now – Being a trained cameraman; raising capital is not something that prospers from the teachings of my original profession. So for all the noobs-alike out there, here are my two cents about raising your first ever round of capital:

  • It’s a full-time job. Unless you already have a gazillion customers or some mogul throwing money at you, raising the first round of capital is a slow process. And it will eat up a big chunk of your time. Live with that. Also double the time you expect it to take.
  • Start yesterday! If you decide to raise capital, start as fast as possible. You will make a ton of mistakes, therefore learning so much about what is important to private investors (profit), banks (safety) and your own business (growth).
  • Find a mentor & learn fast. The mentor does not necessary need to be just one person, but can be ‘the collective’. Suck up as much feedback about your plans and ideas as possible – and never stop doing it. Some of it will be bollocks, but some of it will be gold. Filter that out. In our first ever financial plan, we were technically insolvent from day one. Whoops. Luckily, we had someone who showed us the cock-up and iterated from there.
  • It’s the first step, not the last. Getting an investment doesn’t get you closer to your business’ success. It’s really just the necessary evil you need to acquire in order to become a success. The work now lies ahead! Make sure you don’t confuse a successful investment with creating a successful business.
  • Be shameless. This may be the most important piece of advice I can give. Shame is useless when you want to get things done. In the beginning I was hesitant to ask people, mostly because it felt like we were asking people for money. That’s so wrong! You are making a business proposal from one professional to another. Don’t be reluctant to be obnoxious. In the end we created a list with institutions, private investors and everything in-between. It became a long list and everyone on it received some sort of message. As we blunted, the list got longer. It now holds a lot of good contacts and may also be a great thing to return to later. Some answers we received read: „We only invest 10 mil EUR or above“. That’s a contact you want to keep in mind 😉

Obviously, there are a million more things to consider, yet these are the main lessons I am taking away from the past few weeks.

When the very last signatures’ ink dried out, we’ll have a glass of Vodka Red-Bull. Or Two.

About StartupPanda

I launched my first Startup in 2011, the second one in 2012. Ever since I have been traveling on one epic journey with my two closest friends & Co-Founders. Every now and then I like to share my views of the world and tell a little story about my life as an Entrepreneur. Why a Panda? Because whatever you do - take life like a Panda and you will get it right!
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