• jameshwhitley

ABR...Always Be Raising

Updated: Oct 14

If you remember the old adage from Glengary Glenross, Alec Baldwin’s character tells the team a good salesperson should “A Always, B Be, C Closing.” And what’s a founder’s role if not sales on all fronts - to that rockstar engineer you want on the team, to early customers who’ll get you ARR you need for a round, and ultimately to investors who will give you the capital and clout you need to keep things on the right trajectory.

29% of startups fail because they run out of capital. Nothing more to it, they just run out of gas. With the average capital raise taking 6-12 months and the average time between rounds 2 years, things creep up on you.

So what can the smart founder do to stay ahead of the curve?

1. View your pitch deck as a living document and always keep it updated. Not only will you be ready when someone says “send me your deck,” but it’ll give you what we call a three way match. We’ll go into this in more detail in a future discussion but the gist of it is:

  1. Strategy matches deck: Think of it as a mini business plan. Are you accurately capturing what you want to do on paper as a reference document?

  2. Deck matches language: Can you and everyone on your team articulate the strategy and mission in clear, concise and consistent terms?

  3. Language matches action: This is about walking the talk. Is everything you’re shipping 100% aligned to the strategy or is there mission creep? Are you driving toward an elegant solution to the problem you’re addressing or are you stuck in a development trap prior to MVP?

2. Reach out to investors before you need capital. It’s always better to be in follow-up mode with someone when the time comes for a raise rather than trying to introduce/teach/convince in a compressed timeline. Here at Off-Piste IO we give founders the ability to get insights in to potential investor fits at any time. We provide founders with real, verified contact info for outreach that lets you expand your network well in advance of capital needs.

3. Let your team be evangelists for your vision. Make sure everyone from your CTO to the receptionist knows they’re free to be your company’s hype person. Now obviously they can’t be out raising capital and violating securities law, but you never know who they’ll run into at the gym.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but by keeping a consistent strategy, planning ahead and leveraging your entire team to get the message out you’ll be in better shape than 90% of the teams out there to have a successful raise.

Interested in getting machine learning-driven investor recommendations to make your capital raise easier? Get on the Off-Piste IO waiting list and be one of the first to use the new platform!

What other tips have worked for you in preparing for a raise?


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