We are just over halfway through season 2 of the Founders Forward. We’ve talked to 6 awesome investors and have dug into everything from pitch decks to mental health.
To recap the first half of the season, we’ve shared our favorite quotes and thoughts from the season so far below. If you’d rather skip to a specific episode, you can do so below:
- The Supply & Demand of Venture with Kenn Shasta of Shasta Ventures
- Creating Momentum in Your Fundraise with Brett Brohl
- How to Create FOMO During a Fundraise with Elizabeth Yin of Hustle Fund
- Building a Calm Company with Tyler Tringas
- How Starting Line Helps Founders Address Their Mental Health with Ezra Galston
- All Things Community-Led Growth with Corinne Riley of Greylock
- How Design Can be a Competitive Advantage with Kristian Andersen of High Alpha
- The Past, Present, and Future of VC Funding with Anne Dwane of Village Global
- Determining if an Accelerator is Right For You with Lisa Besserman of Expa
- How to Build an Investor List with Gale Wilkinson of Vitalize
One of the questions we have asked all guests this year is, “What is one tip to help founders create momentum in their fundraise?” We’ve heard a flurry of great answers but really love the advice from Kenn So of Shasta Ventures.
Kenn recommends founders start to include target investors on their monthly/quarterly Updates. This way investors already know what’s going on and have already build a trend line when it comes to your company. Give the full episode a listen below:
One of the most common mistakes we see founders make is underestimating the amount of time it takes to complete a fundraise. From finding and researching investors to signing a term sheet can take 5+ months. We love how Brett Brohl of Bread & Butter Ventures broke down a fundraise into 5 months, or 1-3-1:
- 1 month — Researching and finding the right investors
- 3 months — Actively pitching investors
- 1 month — Time to close after it is fully committed
To learn more fundraising tips and advice for seed-stage founders, give the full episode with Brett a listen below:
How to Create FOMO During a Fundraise with Elizabeth Yin of Hustle Fund
When going out to raise a round of capital, most founders assume that you should try to find a few large investors that can fill the round so you can be done. However, Elizabeth Yin of Hustle Fund argues that small checks can be a really powerful tool.
While there are certainly some downsides, smaller checks allow you to create momentum and build your network. Elizabeth shared an example of a portfolio company that landed one small investor who ended up introducing them to the majority of their investors. Give the full episode with Elizabeth a listen below:
One of the questions we have asked all guests is, “What catches your eye in a cold email from a founder?” Tyler Tringas of Calm Company Fund had a great and unique take. Tyler likes to see a quick video of the product actually working. This can help create excitement and give him an idea of the state of the product.
Give our episode with Tyler a full listen below:
How Starting Line Helps Founders Address Their Mental Health with Ezra Galston
Before sitting a meeting with an investor there is an expectation that you will send over some kind of pitch deck or data or synopsis. Some investors will tell you full deck. Others might suggest a mini-deck. Regardless of the medium, Ezra Galston of Starting Line just wants enough context to have a good conversation.
Sending over enough context beforehand enables Ezra to understand some basics and have enough information to dig into questions and have a strong conversation. Give our interview with Ezra a full listen below:
A seed-stage and Series A fundraise can feel quite different for a founder. At the seed stage you likely have little to no revenue, few metrics, and a simple product. By the time you get to your Series A, you likely have product-market fit and have a solid revenue base. While the business might look different, some parts of your pitch stay the same.
We love how Corinne Riley of Greylock breaks down constant things she looks for in a pitch, regardless of stage. Give the full episode with Corinne a listen below:
A successful pitch and story can make or break a fundraise. As the co-founder of the venture studio, High Alpha, Kristian has helped countless early-stage companies craft their narratives and build their pitch deck.
In our interview with Kristian, he points out the importance of starting with your story when crafting your pitch deck.
As a first-time founder, finding someone you can lean on for advice and experience can be crucial. Anne Dwane of Village Global recommends that founders can find a “thought partner.” This might be a peer that is someone that is at a similar stage or only a step or 2 ahead.
The importance of being able to send a strong cold email was a consistent topic with all of our guests this season. More than anything else, Lisa Besserman of Expa likes to see a deck from a founder. In our interview with Lisa, she breaks down what specifically she likes to see in a deck as well.
Fundraising generally mirrors a traditional B2B sales funnel. Just like a sales funnel, you need leads and a strong customer profile at the top to fuel your process. Gale Wilkinson of Vitalize suggests that founders have a running list of investors that are a fit for your business.