Adeo Ressi, founder of the Founder Institute, shared with startup companies secrets and tips for getting money from lead investors. The following is a wrap-up on Adeo’s talk in the OneVest webinar on Oct. 22. For more information, you can visit learn.onevest.com.
An entrepreneur of eight enterprises, Ressi suggested three main sources of capital funding seeker may leverage: friends and families (those he jokingly referred to as “fools”), angels and VCs. According to Ressi, it’s more likely to get around $25-50K from friends and families, and from VCs, startups may possibly get $1.5-3 million.
Acclaiming oneself to be an entrepreneur has never been easier, as anyone with a business card and a domain name can do so, even without showing the company’s real product. But to raise money from an investor is another story. You need a full-time CEO who dedicates at least 20 hours for a consecutive period of 3 to 6 months, talking to different people, attending all kinds of related industry events, hustling to get money.
“And this has to be done by the CEO,” said Ressi, adding the responsibility of the CEO to raise money.
Ressi affirmed that it usually takes 50 people to reach one final lead investor. A lead investor has to be interested in your segment, having adequate financial resources, as well as time and risk readiness. If you’re lucky, you might find your lead investor soon after your initial search. But normally, you’ll have to talk to at least 50 people, 30 of whom, according to Ressi, are just posers, while 20 are truly interested, and among these 20 people, 10 might actually invest in your company, with one of them being the lead.
It might have never been on a startup’s mind, but making premature pitches can cause the company disasters beyond imagination.
“You’ll get blacklisted by premature fundraising,” warned Ressi. He said that once you get a “no” from an investor, that decision is forever. Funding seekers should never make rash pitches. VCs talk to each other. Thus, once one or two of them see you as weak, you are over, even if you polish your pitch thereafter. So never make curt or immature pitches. Get ready, practice as many times as you can, and when you’re truly ready, get your pitch out there.
Ressi encourages CEOs to build relationships anytime they are able to. Going to meetups, industry events, meeting and hustling with people in your field, inviting potential investors to coffee and updating with them regularly. A seven-step guide on approaching future investors is as follows:
1. Meet the person
2. Invite to coffee
3. Do a news update
4. Invite to meet at an event
5. Invite to dinner
6. Ask for funding
7. Do another news update
“The goal of each meeting is to get to the next meeting,” said Ressi.
Timing matters. “Usually summer and winter are dead. July to September is dead, too,” he said. The best time to reach out might be starting in September and concluding by November, or starting in January and concluding by April or May.
Maintaining your relationship with your investors and compensating the lead is also crucial. You may visit learn.onevest.com for more lessons Ressi shared.
In a nutshell, raising money is never an easy task. And there’s no shortcut. If you’ve yet to find your lead investor, take a breath, and start looking for more people. Remember, it takes at least 50 people to reach one lead investor, summaries Ressi.