Raising your first round

As any founder will tell you, raising money is hard work. Having worked on fundraising at all stages, I believe that the hardest money to raise is your first seed round.

This is for three reasons:

  • this is your first time pitching to real investors
  • there are fewer data points to validate your idea
  • Angel investors are less predictable than venture capital or private equity investment appraisal teams

Too often founding teams talk passionately about their idea and their team, but fail to address what their audience is really looking for. Having worked with a number of early stage teams, it’s clear to me that you can significantly improve your chances of success if you address these questions:

Idea

  1. What’s the idea and how does it drive customer value, or solve a problem?
  2. Why is the time right for this now?
  3. If it’s such a good idea – why are others not pursuing it?

Solution/Technology

  1. How does your solution work?
  2. How is your Solution/Technology defensible

Financials & Metrics

  1. How does your solution make revenue?
  2. What’s your financial plan for the first 2 years?
  3. What data points do you have so far to support your plan?

Market & Competition

  1. Who is your customer?
  2. What is the size of the addressable market?
  3. Who are your major competitors and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
  4. Why would a customer use you over your competition?

Team & Execution

  1. Why is your team a good fit for the business?
  2. What’s differentiating about your team?
  3. If I took a team member away at random – would your plan fail?
  4. How does your plan deliver significant outputs with the minimum inputs?

Raising your first round

Rob works with technology start ups and leading retailers on the impact and opportunities of digital technologies