How To Raise $1.5 Million in 5 Steps; The Case Study of Las Vegas-Based Tracky

Tracky has received its fair share of comparisons since launching at SXSW earlier this year.  Part project management, Tracky has been compared to 37signal’s Basecamp.  It’s cloud storage and document sharing features draws comparisons to Dropbox.  The task management features put it in the same breath as Wunderlist.  The collaboration tools makes Tracky a competitor to Chatter.

Each of these tools already has its established set of industry leaders.  Tracky, however, believes that its platform is much more than the sum of its parts.

“Our core mission is to help simplify your life and make connections more meaningful. We want our users to be able to get things done (#GTD) in a more fun and simple way,” says Sarah Evans, Tracky’s Chief Evangelist and 11-year PR pro.

By streamlining all of the aforementioned services, Tracky aims to blend your professional and personal networking into a single venue.  Less switching between services allows you to #GTD.

Along with Evans, the Tracky team includes founder and CEO David Gosse and his wife and CMO, Jennifer Gosse.  The Gosses are Vegas tech veterans having assumed the same roles at Vortaloptics, a software development company specializing in search.

With so much competition surrounding Tracky’s core competencies, one might assume that investors would be a tad gun shy to open their checkbooks.  Not so.  Tracky received its first $1 million prior to showcasing at SXSW in March from a variety of investors, including family, friends, and a small group of angels.  Last month, the team added another $500K from Rob Roy, a fellow Vegas tech veteran, and the founder and CEO at Switch.

I asked Evans to share the secret.  How can other startups obtain funding in such a competitive landscape?  Below are her insights:

Tracky Chief Evangelist Sarah Evans

1) Seek a local seed investor who is enthusiastic about your product 

Evans stresses the importance of a startup’s initial investor needing to share their passion. “[They] really need to understand your product and enthusiastically support your business goals. Find a local potential seed investor who is passionate about what you are doing or is working on something of their own that can benefit from your product or service.”

2) Treat your investor as a partner

The value from this initial investment should be much more than the money – it’s an opportunity to cement your first celebrity advocate. “Build that relationship with the intent of helping them in exchange for them investing,” adds Evans.

3) Build awareness in the investor’s local community

Because you’ve added value to the investor’s own cause, you have also earned the endorsement of a legitimate influencer.  “Leverage that in the local community where people know and respect that individual. Not only will you have a passionate investor, but you will also have a successful case study to share with others who would be interested to invest.”

4) Look to funding from local angels

“Once some traction is achieved, then explore next steps with local angel groups,” says Evans.  This traction will serve as your gateway to the next round of funding, but Evans points out that funding is still likely to come from within your network.  “Most investments are made via relationships. It is difficult to go outside your city or social circle and land investment.”

5) Expand your financial bounds

Only after following through with the first four steps should a startup look outside their circle for added funding.  “Once successful seed and angel rounds have been completed, then consider expanding outside your network.”

Want more Tracky?  Check out the video below.

Welcome to Tracky from Tracky on Vimeo.

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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.
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