How to fundraise and build relationships with investors

January 11, 2023

Raising funds for a startup can be a daunting task, but it is often necessary for the growth and success of the company. There are a few key steps to take in the fundraising process, as well as some potential roadblocks to be aware of.

  1. Identify potential investors: There are many different types of investors out there, including venture capitalists, angel investors, and crowdfunding platforms. It is important to do research and identify which investors are most likely to be interested in your company and its goals.
  2. Make a strong pitch: Once you have identified potential investors, it is important to make a strong pitch that clearly explains the value of your company and how it will generate a return on investment. This may include a detailed business plan, financial projections, and a clear explanation of your target market.
  3. Approach investors: There are a few different ways to approach investors, including through personal connections, online platforms, and pitch events. It is important to be professional and respectful, and to follow any guidelines that the investor may have for pitch submissions.
  4. Maintain the relationship: If an investor decides to fund your company, it is important to maintain a strong relationship with them. This may include regular updates on the progress of the company, as well as open communication about any challenges or concerns that may arise.

Fundraising can be difficult, and there are a few common roadblocks that startups may encounter. These include a lack of a track record or experience, a crowded or oversaturated market, and a lack of a clear path to profitability. It is important to be aware of these potential challenges and to have a solid plan in place to address them.

Overall, fundraising is an important part of the startup journey, and with the right approach and persistence, it is possible to secure the funding necessary for success.

Crowdfunding as a valid fundraising strategy

There have been many stories of startups going through wild and unexpected fundraising journeys. One such story is that of the company Pebble, which was a pioneer in the smartwatch market. In 2012, the company launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds for its first product, the Pebble Watch. The campaign was an enormous success, raising over $10 million from over 68,000 backers. This was the largest amount of money ever raised on Kickstarter at the time, and it helped Pebble to become one of the first successful smartwatch companies.

However, despite this initial success, Pebble struggled to compete with larger tech companies as the smartwatch market evolved. In 2016, the company announced that it was being acquired by Fitbit, and in 2018 it officially shut down.

While the story of Pebble's fundraise may not have had a fairy tale ending, it is a testament to the power of crowdfunding and the ability of startups to achieve success through creative and unconventional means.

Public funding and pilot projects

Another interesting story of a startup's fundraising journey is that of the company Zipline. Zipline is a drone delivery company that was founded in 2011 with the goal of using drones to deliver essential medical supplies to remote and underserved areas.

In 2014, the company launched its first pilot program in Ghana, where it began delivering blood and other medical supplies to hospitals via drone. The program was a huge success, and it caught the attention of investors around the world.

Over the next few years, Zipline raised millions of dollars in funding from a variety of sources, including venture capital firms, impact investors, and even the government of Ghana. In 2018, the company announced that it had raised $190 million in a series E funding round, which valued the company at over $1 billion.

Today, Zipline operates in a number of countries around the world and has made over 500,000 deliveries to date. Its success is a testament to the power of innovative technology and the potential for startups to make a meaningful impact on global health issues.

In summary, whlie venture capital and business angels are the standard way of fundraising, crowdfunding and public funding through the government should not be underestimated. Further, it is always great to run pilot projects in public, and have pilot customers when fundraising at a very early stage, since this derisks the startup for investors and shows first validation.