After you've raised a friends and family round, the funding game can be pretty intimidating. The seed round will help you better understand the process, but taking on a Series A is the true sign of a budding startup. And it's not easy.
We asked nine entrepreneurs what they're best advice for entrepreneurs who were about to raise their first Series A funding round. Check out their answers below and prepare your startup for a flood of capital.
Get Warm Introductions
Make sure you're prepping your network to warm up your introductions. It makes a world of difference. I think it's really important to be systematic about identifying the firm that you're interested in (first by checking out their portfolio) and then finding the right partner at that firm.
– Luke Skurman of Niche
Be Pitch Perfect
While knowing your numbers inside and out (as well as proving your concept prior to pitching) is absolutely crucial, you must develop a pitch that “sells the shave not the razor.” This means a succinct, well-considered presentation that appeals to multiple personalities. I also suggest to invest in professionals to design your presentations.
– Nicole Munoz of Start Ranking Now
Keep Those Google Alerts Coming
Make sure to follow the market trends because the equity that might not have been available for you last week might shift this week based on new information. Also, don't be the founder who is unaware of new competitors (and their arson) duking it out for the same market—that's perhaps the saddest way to go out. When you're preparing to make your pitch, you can never be too informed!
– Cody McClain of SupportNinja
Remember That It's Not Only About Money
When we raised our first large round of capital, we wanted someone from the U.S. with deep connections and experience building e-commerce, global travel businesses and in particular emerging technology markets like the Middle East, Asia and Africa. We realized it's not all about money when we were trying to secure as much capital as possible.
– Obinna Ekezie of Wakanow
Choose Investors Wisely
Before raising a Series A, ask yourself if this is the right path for your company. When you sign your Series A, you are committing to investors for the long term. Make sure that you check references from previous investments they’ve made and ensure your objectives for the business are aligned.
– Arian Radmand of CoachUp
Remember Metrics are More Important Than Vision
Raising a Series A round is going to be significantly harder than raising an angel round. Recognize that angel rounds are raised on vision while Series A rounds are raised on solid business fundamentals and metrics.
– Joseph Walla of HelloSign
Analytically Build Confidence
Your investments are sound if your idea or product is cutting-edge, useful and fluid. Analytically building your own confidence in your business will minimize risks and exemplify your strengths and strategies.
– Alexis Charbeneau of Savvy Media
Be Prepared for a Reality Check
More companies are seeking out seed money because it's easier to acquire. However, getting to the next step of Series A means that there's more competition for smaller slices of the pie. Don't be surprised when friendly interest turns into hard interrogations about your metrics and value.
– Jared Brown of Talentopoly
Get Your Books in Order
Nothing will torpedo a deal faster than poor accounting practices. You can do everything else right, but if your financials aren't in shape, no reputable investor will want to put money into your company. Make sure you have a good accounting firm prepare your financials and taxes and that everything is up to date when it comes to tax payments.
– Vik Tantry of FormSwift