I ran into a founder I've been coaching yesterday through Alchemist Accelerator.
Demo day had just finished and he was two weeks into pitching investors for his Seed round.
It's my job to help him raise capital so naturally I asked, "How's it going?"
With a sigh, he reflected, "Well, it's going okay. Most people are telling us we're 'too early' or our space is 'too crowded' but maybe we'll get some micro-VC's interested and close enough to last.
I could tell he was deflated.
I could tell because I've been there.
I've been in that place where you start to wonder:
"Maybe our company isn't good enough."
"Maybe our product sucks."
"Maybe our team is too weak."
People tend to think fundraising is a straightforward process.
Present your business, team and product and if it's good you'll get a check. If it's not, you'll get rejection.
The truth is, fundraising is a skill. And skills are hard.
Skills take practice.
Getting good at them requires failing to be good at them. A lot.
Imagine if someone took up playing piano but within two weeks couldn't play Behtovens hardest pieces and decided it wasn't the lack of practice or skills, it was simply that their hands weren't fit for piano. If you were their friend, you'd tell them their crazy!
It sounds silly on paper, but when you're fundraising it's so easy to start telling yourself the same thing.
And yet we take these conclusions as completely logical instead of having the same reaction as the piano player.
A venture partner at a top tier VC fund sees 1000's of deals a year and will typically invest in 1-2. That means in order to get a check from a VC, you have to be in the top .1% of all pitches they see yearly.
Pitching and succesfully raising capital is a very high bar and it takes a lot of time and practice to really nail it.
So the first two weeks, the first 20 pitches you do?
**They simply don't count. **
They are practice.
They are opportunities for you to learn and improve.
Learn to position yourself better.
Learn to drive next steps better.
Learn to tell your personal passion story of why you will dominate your market better.
The founders that approach fundraising with persistence, grit and a skill based mindset go on to raise millions, move mountains and shake industries.
We won't dwell on what the others do. Just make sure you're the former.