Who said raising funds for your startup is easy?
Building a product is hard, but building the team and getting to revenues is even harder. My experience in raising funds has been the most challenging and emotional roller-coaster ride in my life. One day everything is looking like its going to crumble, another day your feeling way up high and motivated for some random good news or new customer that just joined. As the CEO of any startup, your first job is to raise funds and this is no easy task to undertake. The founders who don’t give up, those who are willing to put themselves out there and do whatever it takes are the ones who will succeed at the end. You might get 10,000 NOs, but all it takes is 1 YES!
We’ve been raising funds for 5 months now, and i thought it would have been a much faster and easier process as a rookie to the game. Once your committed to the game of raising funds, its a war out there and may the best team win! I’ve learned that having a great product and great team are simply not enough to have VCs or any investor open their check books. They will mostly invest in YOU, so you have to sell yourself.
I came to Barcelona as foreigner, not having any contacts in the startup or VC world. So for me (Reloadly) we had a lot of work and networking to do in order to build these important contacts . I went to many meetups, workshops and got accepted to make some pitches and slowly but surely some VCs started to notice us. We got our first 100k committed 2 months into the round, but VCs don’t want to be the only ones writing checks (especially in Spain). I had to get some others committed in the round and we really needed the funds to jump start our operations. Right when I was feeling those ups and downs moments, we got invited to Bbooster Ventures for a week of “getting to know” 8 participating startups at the Gran Canary Islands. Tickets were high and I almost passed on the opportunity to join as it wasn’t a sure thing.
Never Miss Opportunities
I decided to join the program and hoped on a plane and geared up for a full week ahead of competition and fun. Bbooster was an amazing experience, one that I will never forget or take for granted. The team was well organized in pre-arranging due diligence for all the startups so that when it was time to decide for the winners they were all ready to go. We have one to one interactions with all the staff, we went kayaking, had some beers by the beach, a rooftop lunch and the last day was time for the Pitches.
Everyone gets nervous when its time to pitch in front of an audience, but when you know your product it all flows naturally right when you start your pitch. The competition was fierce, I was impressed by the talent and products amongst the 8 startups. There would be 1 or 2 winners, so odds were pretty low. At the end, Reloadly’s name was called as a winner and this was one of the greatest feelings or accomplishments I have ever experienced. After all the struggles, hardships, emotional ups and downs dealing with a startup, it felt great to know that all our hard work paid off!
Never, Never, Never Give Up!
As a startup founder, you will have more downs than ups. Sometimes you can’t fully see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you always need to keep pushing with your head up high. Find ways to be resourceful and innovative even if you don’t have the resources or cash yet. From my experience, resilience is what pays off at the end of the day (given that you have a product market fit). So don’t give up just yet because all you need is 1 yes in the pool hundreds of NOs to see the light.