As HereToday is nearing our beta launch, I’m making preparations to raise our first round of funding. My co-founders have done an amazing job building our platform, but as CEO it’s my responsibility to ensure we have strong investment partners and sufficient capital to execute to our fullest potential. As such, I take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about fundraising and meet prospective partners. This week Jason Calacanis and the hardworking team from Inside hosted “Meet Our Fund”, a reverse demo day where world-class investors pitched startup founders on why we should partner with their firms.
At a typical demo day, founders pitch venture firms; but the founders don’t get a chance to learn about the firms. At Meet Our Fund the event script was flipped. Brilliant! Over two days I listened to some of the world’s most successful individuals. Notables for me included Katie Stanton from Moxxie Ventures, Elizabeth Yin from Hustle Fund, Garry Tan from Initialized Capital, Jed Katz from Javelin, Paul Judge from Panoramic Ventures, Ben Ling from Bling Capital, and Pejman Nozad from Pear VC. A special thank you to all the investors who participated in this first event. Everyone who presented was incredibly forthcoming about their firm’s focus and requirements for success.
The premise of Meet Our Fund was so simple and beautifully executed. Why this type of event hasn’t happened in the past is beyond me, but I can’t thank Jason and the Inside team enough for putting it all together. Over two days, 25 venture funds, accelerators, and seed funds presented to over 6,000 founders. Each presenter had 20 minutes to introduce their teams, outline their portfolios, and discuss the firm’s investment thesis. Approximately 10 minutes was set aside after each presentation for founders to ask questions. Truly insightful! As a founder, it was incredibly helpful to hear an investor’s premise, their value-add proposition, and what they look for in prospective investments. The amount of detail shared was invaluable — I’ve been working on my seed target list for a while, which includes individual firms’ strengths and focus, and this event took my research and knowledge to a new level.
Each investor on HereToday’s cap table will be viewed as a long-term partner on our journey. Perhaps an overused statement, but one that’s true, the average investor relationship lasts longer than most marriages. Therefore, it’s imperative that a founder and an investor forge an honest relationship. I need to share my past experiences (first non-founder employee at Mashape, now Kong), skill sets, product vision, and desired outcome in a sincere and transparent narrative. Conversely, I need partners that’ve been in the trenches and can provide guidance and support when needed — a true value-add to any early stage company. Everything is predicated on honesty and aligned objectives.
As an early stage company we don’t know what we don’t know, so it’s vitally important to have strong partners with a shared vision of our company and market potential. It’s a mutual buy-in on each other’s strengths and beliefs in what we’re building. The Meet Our Fund couldn’t have been timed better for a company at our stage.
Inside and Jason recently announced that an in-person event will be coming soon — I can’t wait to attend!