How We Raised $1.3 Million As First-Time Founders When Jim and I quit our finance jobs to start the next big thing, we were really unprepared for our startup journey. We didn’t have startup experience, we had no real domain expertise (our startup wasn’t going to be about finance), and we didn’t know any investors in the tech community. There was very little reason for them to want to invest in our startup. Exactly three years later, we raised $1.3 million for Yipit, a daily deals aggregator, from Ron Conway and David Lee’s SV Angel, RRE, DFJ Gotham, IA Ventures, and a handful of other amazing tech investors. This post isn’t about the tactics we used once we started getting interest — I’ll share that with you later and you should check out VentureHacks. Note: We didn’t think of raising money as a goal. Below are the the key moments in our journey: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Getting Traction was HUGE As you can see, getting traction was huge for us.
Startups: How to Hustle with AngelList in 10 Steps - Posts Thoughts How to nail the five-minute pitch Editor’s note: Chuck Dietrich is chief executive of online presentation startup SlideRocket. Startup CEOs wear many hats. None, perhaps, is more important than that of “company pitchman.” In today’s competitive funding climate, CEOs often present at events like Under the Radar, South by Southwest, and DEMO –- where they have five minutes on stage to ‘sell’ their company to potential investors, partners, and customers. Getting these presentations right leads to financing, buzz and growth; getting them wrong doesn’t. In my role as CEO of SlideRocket, I view hundreds of presentations a week and thousands over the course of the year. So how do you make a great startup presentation? 1. Critical questions to answer during your presentation include: What is the company vision? 2. 3. The Basic Pitch Outline Following is a sample outline that I have seen many successful startup presentations follow. At pitch events, you have just five minutes to stand out from the other presenting companies.
Deconstructing AngelList: How to Optimize Your Funding Profile | Daniel R. Odio - Entrepreneur & LifeHacker in Silicon Valley AngelList is a platform that connects entrepreneurs to angel investors to raise seed stage capital. Out of the $1.5 million dollars in angel funding we've raised for Socialize, over $1 million came from introductions made on AngelList. We were very early AngelList users under our AppMakr brand, with Brendan Baker doing a detailed analysis of our use of AngelList in his Anatomy of a Seed project. Recently, using AngelList has changed the way I've been fundraising. As I was talking to my friend Ben Young, CEO of Nexercise, about this sea-change in fundraising, I offered to critique his AngelList page to help him optimize it for this type of inbound passive investment. You can find the Nexercise AngelList profile here, and compare it to my Socialize AngelList profile here. First, some background on AngelList: If you're an entrepreneur and you haven't yet made a profile on AngelList, you need to do that right away. The Basics: The basics in AngelList are pretty straight forward.
Does Your Startup Have a Good Story? Never underestimate the importance of having a good story when pitching your startup to potential investors, clients, partners, and journalists. As Seth Godin writes in his 2005 bestseller All Marketers Are Liars, "Either you're going to tell stories that spread or you're going to become irrelevant." Godin's book addresses a shift in marketing - away from simply presenting factual information and towards telling great stories. As Godin suggests, these stories make us want to believe - in a product, in an idea, in a company. As you craft a story for your startup - whether it's to be used in marketing, in a pitch to investors, or in conversation with friends and family - here are some things to keep in mind. Your story should be short. Your story should be easy to tell. Your story should be memorable. Your story should make an argument. Your story should be strategic. Your story should be relevant. How to Tell a Good Story You startup should have a good story.
Fundraising Hacks: Interview with Naval Ravikant of AngelList | Daniel R. Odio - Entrepreneur & LifeHacker in Silicon Valley This is the first of a multi-part blog post I'll be writing over the next week that will chronicle my experience raising a $1MM round for AppMakr. I'll be sharing my learning and experiences as a first-time fundraiser out here in the Valley. My goal is to provide pragmatic tips to help other entrepreneurs understand the process and short-cut the time fundraising typically takes. Think of it as download that condenses 4 months of learning into a series of blogs you can read in an hour. Be sure to subscribe to the blog if you'd like to get those future posts. Also, we're throwing a party to thank the investors who made this round possible, and celebrating the fact that over 1,000,000 people have now used apps made through AppMakr. For this first post, I scored an interview with Naval Ravikant, one of the co-founders of VentureHacks, which runs AngelList. Here's the video with Naval: Here's a transcript of the video: (learn how & why I do this) Naval- That's right. Naval- Thanks. Daniel- Wow.
Behind the Scenes: How Fab Raised $40 million with a lot of data and not much pain Let’s face it, fundraising can be a real pain in the ass for the entrepreneur. It takes up a ton of time that can be otherwise spent managing the business. Sure, it’s a necessary evil, but it’s also typically a big distraction. It’s also a lot like dating. When we decided to raise a large round of financing for Fab in October, my biggest concern was that it would divert our management team’s time and attention away from running the business at a critical time, as we were simultaneously scrambling to prepare for our first holiday season at Fab. As our “one thing” at Fab.com is design, I put a lot of thought and consideration into how we might design our fundraising process differently from the norm, so as to optimize around time spent fundraising vs. running the business, and to quickly hone in on who we wanted to marry. The typical VC dog and pony show goes like this: VC’s approach company or Company approaches VC’s. Here’s what we did differently with Fab’s recent round. One final note.
Interview: Naval Ravikant, Co-Founder AngelList and Co-Maintainer Venture Hacks Messenger: Naval Ravikant, Co-Founder AngelList and Co-Maintainer Venture Hacks. Former Founder Epinions. Investor in Twitter, Foursquare, DISQUS, and (by Naval’s own admission) “a lot of other companies you have never heard of” Dharmesh Shah, Founder of HubSpot and of OnStartups, recently published a great post entitled, Raising Money On AngelList, which offers insights germane to my conversation with Naval. I recommend you first review Dharmesh’s article and then listen to Naval’s thoughts. You can watch my interview with Naval below or on YouTube here: What follows is a summary which paraphrases Naval’s responses. Value Prop Twitter Style: AngelList is the productization of raising startup funding. If you haven't already subscribed yet, subscribe now for free weekly Infochachkie articles! 6) Naval, why does the startup world need AngelList and Venture Hacks? “As of the last the 9 to 12-months, AngelList is actually my fulltime endeavor. Share and Enjoy
92 Ways to Get (and Maximize) Press Coverage I love Ben Affleck's first scene in the movie "Boiler Room." I always felt that the quote above perfectly relates to companies and press coverage. The ones who don’t get coverage will quickly dismiss it as useless and a waste of time and money to pursue, while the ones who regularly get coverage just smile and hope that you keep thinking that way... Over the last 12 years, I have been featured in hundreds of major newspapers, magazines, websites and blogs (everything ranging from the NY Times, USA Today and CNN to TechCrunch, Entrepreneur and so on), and I can tell you first-hand that it has helped me and my companies in an enormous way. It's brought me: Publicity (well duh, Chris!) Even more importantly, I have helped hundreds of businesses and friends get coverage. "Incidentally, your advice on PR in the past has been invaluable with [their domain] - PR is our biggest source of traffic by miles." I had no idea this was the case. Follow all of the reporters you’re targeting.
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