When is it Time to Hit Pause?
A lot can happen in a short amount of time. Just 4 weeks ago, restaurants were full, basketball was being played, and many startup conferences were still a go. For many startups, operations were continuing as normal just 4 weeks ago: fundraising, new campaigns running, customers buying, etc.
Last week, we wrote how this can be a time to focus on what matters to your business. “This can be a time to take a deep breath and get a clear picture of what you want to focus on (easier said than done).”
Part of focusing on what matters is being able to hit pause on projects or ambitions that are being impacted by the current market. If you have to hit pause on a project, that’s okay. If you have to hit pause on hiring, that’s okay. If you have to hit pause on a fundraise, that’s okay.
There have been a lot of advice, predictions and opinions swirling in the investor space over the past couple of weeks. What investors are projecting to the market seems to be very different than what they are telling their portfolio companies internally. Some investors and firms are saying they are still open for business. Other (or sometimes the same investors) are saying that companies need to go into survival mode and prolong their runway.
VCs to portfolio -> cut burn, extend runway to 24+ months. Fundraising will be *very* hard.
VCs on Twitter -> we are open for business. Best companies are built at this time. Just signed 3 term sheets. Never been a better time to invest.
Founders -> *scratching their heads*
— Gaurav Jain (@gjain) March 23, 2020
Many VC firms are taking this time to focus inward and support their portfolio companies. If able, you can use this opportunity to do the same for your company. Hit pause on non-vital activities and focus energies on supporting your teammates, customers, and building a healthy business.
Given the uncertainty, we can only expect that the fundraising environment is certain to change. If a fundraise is not vital to your companies success in the immediate, it may be time to hit pause on the raise. Take this time to get your fundraise organized, nurture your investors, and have things ready to go once we get more clarity on the funding environment.
If raising capital in the immediate is essential to your business, put your head down and hit fast forward to get a deal closed. All investors will tell you they are open for business. If you can get your foot in the door and prove that your company is worthy to be venture backed, investors will be waiting to write a check (there are also some awesome alternatives to venture capital, check them out here).
Raising venture capital has always been and always will be difficult. The current circumstances may heighten the difficulty but there is capital to be had. It is true that successful companies are built during difficult times. How leaders prioritize and strategize over the coming weeks can lay the groundwork for a successful future.
If you’re looking for a list of investors to get your raise started. Check out our open sourced investor database.