Fundraising is a team sport

One of my companies is doing the tour of Sand Hill Road this week, meeting with the best of the best firms. I woke up this morning to read an email they had shared with their entire company highlighting who they’d met with, what had been discussed, questions, issues, possibilities, etc, etc. I love this!

So often the fundraising process is the big elephant in the room. Everyone knows it’s happening and that it’s super important. But they have no idea what’s happening, who you’re meeting with, etc. And of course, we fear what we don’t know. So, when we know something important is going on but don’t know how it’s going, then we fill that void with speculation.

Fundraising is usually done by the CEO and her right hand (CFO or COO). They hit the road and do the dog and pony show. Only much later in the process do VCs come on site and meet the broader team. Even then, that’s usually limited to top management.

But, the fact is: what really gets investors excited is traction. The traction that comes from building a killer product and distributing the crap out of it. And of course, it’s the efforts of everyone, know just the exec team, that creates that product and traction.

So, I really love that this exec team is sharing the journey with the full team. It’s fun. And for better or worse, the whole venture capital thing occupies a lot of mindshare in the startup World. So, I know the team enjoys being included.

One caveat: If you decide to keep your team in the loop on your fundraising (which I think you should…), always remind them of expectations. A first meeting with someone is not an indication of interest. VCs invest in < 1% of the deals that they see. So, it’s a steep, brutal funnel. But a fun ride all the same.