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Entrepreneurship is not a job description. It is a lifestyle full of sacrifices with missed birthdays and other important dates from friends and family. Some of the most notable sacrifices are around stability, work/life balance, income, sleep, and comfort.
During the entrepreneurial journey, one of the most important things to note is that entrepreneurs are fundraising 24/7. There might be times where you are with 6 months left of runway where the clock is ticking and other times where you have enough cash in the bank to accomplish your next biggest milestone. However, you are always on the run making sure that financing will always be there for the business. The ones that succeed at fundraising are a special breed.
I was very fortunate to come across the pitch deck template that is shared in this blog post during the early days of my entrepreneurial journey. The template is from no other than Dave McClure and to be honest I am surprised that I have not seen it shared publicly in while.
To provide some background, McClure is a serial entrepreneur. He most famously was part of the early team at PayPal where he was the Director of Marketing from 2001 to 2004. After leaving his position at Paypal McClure founded Simply Hired where he was running their marketing programs.
Raising a round of financing is one of the toughest things an early stage company will need to face at some point. Fundraising is actually getting harder as investors are getting pickier. Before, having access to startups was hard as it was more of a word of mouth kind of game.
Nowadays, as I describe in my book The Art of Startup Fundraising, raising capital is way more transparent and online platforms have made the entire process more open and available for investors.
During the writing of my book, The Art of Startup Fundraising, I tried to distill all of my learnings during my years connecting startups with capital. However, I thought it would be interesting to put together a quick roadmap with what it takes to go from nothing to a substantial amount of funding.
Nowadays $5M in funding could either be considered a Seed round or a Series A round of financing. Probably more closer to Seed if you take into account that top tier Venture Capital firms like Accel or Sequoia are investing $10M tickets and up on Series A‘s. Nonetheless $5M is still a significant amount of financing that should support the execution of your business for the next 18 to 24 months of runway.
As I explain on the Fundraising Certificate, which is a 3 week comprehensive course where entrepreneurs learn everything related to fundraising, there are many drivers that motivate the decision of an investor to pull the trigger with an early stage investment.
However, there is one single thing that moves investors to get behind a company and that is trust. Without trust there is nothing. That is why investors, especially angels and Venture Capital firms, always state that they invest mainly in people and that everything else comes after this fact.
It is demonstrated over and over again that just having an idea and capital to put behind a venture is not enough. Without a doubt execution is everything and receiving interest from Venture Capital firms will not be THE way to get you from point A to point Z. Entrepreneurs should view a financing round closed and in the bank not as a milestone, but as a stepping stone.
I have covered the subject of fundraising extensively in this blog and also in my book The Art of Startup Fundraising, since fundraising is one of the critical pieces to building a hyper growth business. However, it is not the only factor that drives the success of an entrepreneur.
Given my current role, I see hundreds of entrepreneurs executing on their dream every week. There are certain qualities that come into play that I have noticed as repeated patterns on the wildly successful entrepreneurs that I‘ve had the honor to work with at Onevest, which is one of the largest ecosystems for entrepreneurs and investors. The qualities are as follows:
According to many experts we are in a market in which it is a little bit more complicated to raise capital for startups. As I describe in my book, The Art of Startup Fundraising, the investor mindset has shifted from hyper growth to profitability. Now it all comes down to how you are able to make your first dollar as opposed to capturing a ton of users first without having a clear monetization strategy.
In addition, there have been recent events that have triggered investors to be more cautious. Some of these events include what happened with Theranos or Zenefits, in which investors believed on the growth that founders were promising during fundraising efforts without really doing much due diligence on the technology side or the internal processes used by the company‘s management to scale faster. Read about their stories here and here.
I was very lucky to come across this pitch deck used by Snapchat back in 2014. To provide some background, Snapchat is a photo messaging app that allows users to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to recipients. The company was founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy. So far the startup has raised from investors $1.3B at a $16B valuation.
One of the things that I always find the most useful for entrepreneurs that are looking to raise capital is to show them pitch decks from companies that have already made it. I have done this with my book The Art of Startup Fundraising and also during the Fundraising Certification, which is a 3 week comprehensive course where I teach entrepreneurs everything they need to know about fundraising.
As I have stated many times on the blog and in my book The Art of Startup Fundraising, the best entrepreneurs are not the best visionaries. The ones that keep succeeding at it are those entrepreneurs that master the art of pitching.
By being a good storyteller there are many positive things that you would gain which include raising capital, hiring top tier talent, and securing major partnerships. It is all a matter of touching people, moving them, and inspiring them. These were all aspects that Steve Jobs and Elon Musk were able to do throughout their careers with Apple, Tesla, and SpaceX.