Hopefully this is not just another lecture from another VC...
Ever experienced whiplash in your entrepreneurial journey? It's that disorienting sensation when your investor labels your monthly metrics as subpar, just a week after celebrating at your last board meeting. Or when your VP of Marketing suddenly resigns days after accepting the absence of a bonus in the revamped "financial plan." Whiplash, constant change, rewriting the script daily, the rollercoaster ride of highs and lows—these are all par for the course when you're at the helm of an early stage, high-growth startup.
Now, add a few years of economic rollercoasters to the mix, and "founder life" might start feeling like a dystopian novel (depending on your past experiences, like whether you weathered the dot com bubble). In just the past four years, the startup landscape transformed from skyrocketing to 50x future ARR multiples, preemptive term sheets exchanged after a single email, and NFTs reaching for the stars. But then, it all came crashing down, with Sequoia dusting off their "RIP Good Times" memo (which they first teased in March 2020 with COVID), and talk of funds returning money to LPs echoing through the industry. Then, 2023 rolled around and just when you thought, "new year, new you," SVB declared "RIP March 2023." Talk about whiplash for everyone involved.
So, we believe it's time to bring early-stage founders back to the fundamental principles of raising their first institutional round. We've crafted a concise series of blog posts that we think can assist founders in revisiting the core concepts of fundraising, closing your initial institutional round, and building your company. We firmly believe these pointers hold true in both bull and bear markets, but we're open to feedback.
Our insights are drawn from listening to over 1,500 pitches each year and working on both sides of the table for decades. We hear from pre-seed and seed founders pitching to us, as well as from us pitching our later-stage startups to significantly larger VCs (with fund sizes ranging from 10 to 100 times ours). We'll keep these posts brief, clocking in at just four to eight minutes of reading because we know your time is money. Those precious minutes could be spent emailing a potential customer, speaking with your top VP of Tech hire, or fine-tuning the language in your pitch deck.