Fundraising isn’t only about fundraising

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As a founder, you have meetings and calls stacked from your waking hour to midnight and beyond.

10 or more per day.

In between these meetings, you are managing a team, putting together a marketing plan, and getting your financials in order.  

On top of all that, you’re hustling to find investors to give you money so you can keep the company alive.

Raising early stage funding is like working two full-time jobs, so I understand when startup founders tell me that they don’t want to do it anymore.

They’ll counter: 

“We just raised a round.”

“We’re cash flow positive.”

“Investors aren’t biting, so we’ll just build for now.”

But I always tell them not to stop… because fundraising is about more than just fundraising.

Speaking with potential investors is about more than getting cash for your business. Investors can offer valuable insight into your business model, the market, your competition, the value of your business, potential issues in your unit economics, and much more. As you scale the business, these topics only get more numerous and complex. Speaking with investors can give you valuable intelligence that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere.  

Think about the weekly life of a founder versus an investor. The investor meets with tens of startups per week and sees hundreds of pitch decks. They are aware of which companies are getting funded, where, by whom, and why. They can see things you are missing.  

Use this face time wisely.

Pitching your business to investors is about much more than trying to get more capital resources. In my opinion, very few founders do enough pitching. Often it’s because they have enough cash in the bank, and of course, they are very busy.  But I think they are missing something important, including: 

  • Getting feedback from experienced business evaluators
  • Acquiring market research
  • Acquiring information on the competitive landscape of their startup 
  • Understanding the proper valuation of their business
  • Getting feedback on their product roadmap
  • Getting feedback on the team and what gaps there might be
  • Understanding who a good customer might be
  • Understanding who a good investor might be
  • Finding new awesome employees
  • Optimizing how you communicate your business
  • Keeping relationships warm for future fundraising
  • Warm intros to investors, mentors, customers, employees, regulatory leaders, and other stakeholders

You can certainly dial it back if you aren’t desperate for cash, but founders should be meeting with investors weekly, even when they are not raising. Fundraising, after all, is not only about filling your war chest, so don’t put the breaks on investor meetings when the bank balance is good. Continually learn and engage in the many ways outlined above - fundraising is an entrepreneurial masterclass in disguise. Never stop learning.

Is fundraising only about capital? Accelerating Asia Co-founder Craig Dixon makes the case that the benefits of fundraising are even more strategic than most founders would assume.


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