[one_full last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]During Dotcom 1.0, I worked as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. Prior to May 2000, fundraising was a piece of cake. Anyone with a pulse could raise money. Okay, maybe not exactly. But, very close. Within a matter of months, virtually no one could raise a penny. That’s an exact statement. A mere 120 days and the fundraising environment changed 180 degrees.

Extremes like that are the exception, not the rule. Most of the time, in a “typical” fundraising environment, landing capital is neither a piece of cake nor next-to-impossible. If those extremes represented a continuum, the ease of fundraising would be much closer to impossible than piece of cake – about 25% from impossible.

 

The problem is, for most entrepreneurs, the fundraising process isn’t actually 25% challenging. The graphic implies it’s fairly hard for everyone, but not impossible for anyone. Yet, that’s not how averages work. They generally represent a mix of points all over the continuum. In the case of fundraising, my experience shows that for 80%+ of entrepreneurs fundraising is 100% challenging. In other words, it is impossible — an absolute mystery for which no one prepared them.

Admittedly, raising startup capital is not actually a tough thing to do. It certainly has to rank behind fire fighting in terms of courage and making it to the NFL in term of natural ability. It isn’t physically grueling.

There is a lot of information about it online, which ought to make it easier, although, as with many subjects these days, it’s tough to identify the quality sources from the mindless chatter.

And, it is simply not a natural thing to do. Hardly anyone comes out of the gates knowing exactly how to execute a fundraising plan. Additionally, it requires a level of project management precision that most entrepreneurs don’t recognize until it is too late and they lack the time to properly execute a plan. These things take time. Otherwise, investors will sense your desperation. When that happens, the fat lady has sung. You aren’t getting funded.

Some very small percentage of entrepreneurs “get it” naturally; some learn it by trial and error; and some learn it with the help of trusted advisors. Maybe, this represents a total of 15% of entrepreneurs, which, by the way, is way more than the percentage of startups that actually get funded.[/fusion_text][/one_full][one_half last=”no” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]s1

“A shockingly low percentage of startups seeking venture capital land it – well shy of 10% and, according to some experts, closer to 1%.”

[/fusion_text][/one_half][one_half last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]s2

The rest, the vast majority, never “get it,” never land financing and their startups don’t make it.

[/fusion_text][/one_half][one_full last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]There are more than a few things you need to have or know to successfully raise capital, even in a “typical” startup environment. These include:

  • A killer target investor list
  • How to uncover warm connections to your target investors
  • A compelling pitch deck and story
  • A concrete, granular plan of execution – one with timelines and goals
  • How to pitch and how to handle common objections
  • How to create demand
  • How to handle follow-up
  • How the heck to think and talk about valuation
  • A killer target investor list

Yes, I know said that last one already. But, it bears repeating. It’s that important. Maybe the most important item on the list.

I no longer work in the venture capital industry. I spend my time as a business lawyer, angel investor and entrepreneur. I have raised plenty of money for my own companies, placed plenty of other people’s money as a venture capitalist and invested plenty of my own funds an angel investor. All of this has spanned a 20-year career. I wasn’t one of the ones who got it right out of the gate. But, I get it now. I earned it and I have the battle scars to prove it.

When I met Tom he was securing financing for a technology company. His background is in sales and marketing, but he gets fundraising. By that I mean he is one of the people that just got it right out of the gate. As I said, they are few and far between. We got talking over beers one Sunday afternoon and the conversation meandered around to fundraising.

We were talking about how the deck is considerably stacked against the first-time founder when it comes to fundraising. I can’t recall which of us actually said “well, there’s a huge problem waiting to be solved.” Both of us paused, and looked at each other, totally silent. There is. I mean, there was. Okay, there still “is” – Pitch Plan Pro™ is just getting going. We laughed at the irony that VCs and all the wanna-be-funded startups spend an enormous portion of their time talking about and searching from problems to be solved, iterating in a seemingly endless effort to find product-market fit. But, no one has attacked this problem.

I have been following the venture and deal wires for almost 20 years and I have never seen a product or service that really makes the fundraising process clear and simple. Sure, there are some good articles out there. And, there is the shady industry of unlicensed capital introductions and money brokers, but I can tell you a ton of stories of sorrow and disappointment that start with going down that path. Plus, the VCs and angels don’t like when they’re involved. I can tell you that firsthand. They expect you to know how to raise capital.

Now, if you’ve been through an incubator or accelerator you may have been fortunate enough to go through one where they really know how to teach the art of pitching. How many of you know that there is zero benefit to rehearsing a canned pitch? Zero. Zilch. Nada. None. You won’t get 30 seconds into a pitch in any VC firm in this country. The questions will come rapid fire. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know your elevator pitch and bullet points of value. But, I’ve seen so many programs where entrepreneurs work to really nail, verbatim, 3 and 4 and 10-minute pitches. What a waste. You have 15-20 seconds before you’ll be interrupted. Now, how do you use that precious time?

To be sure it was shocking for us to confirm that there is no transaction-based product or service in the market that lays it all out there, addressing all those “how to” items I just listed.

By the end of the day, we had mapped out a plan. By the end of the week, we had ironed out all our founder issues and funded the company. Clearing our plates to get the company off the ground was more challenging, but we were live within 90 days. What you see today at Pitch Plan Pro™ is the current iteration of the plan, the company.

We built this company for you, the startup entrepreneur. You can spend 20 years in the startup world and you will likely know what I know. Or, you can pay somewhere around $1,000, maybe less, and we will teach you what you need to know and give you the tools you need to be successful. I hope you give us the opportunity to show you what we can do. You startup depends on it.

Thanks for listening while we shared our story.

Cheers,

Brett and Tom[/fusion_text][/one_full]