Class: 2013 Summer Accelerator

Company Description

A mentor and funding platform for women entrepreneurs.


On Thursday, August 1, 2013, the topic was ‘Raising Capital and Asking for Money’. As usual, for the first hour, David lead a discussion as we went around in a circle sharing any good news for this week. Some helpful tips and insight he gave us were:

  • “it is a big world with a lot of wealth and value - keep in mind how different audiences view you.”

  • Even if you don’t feel like you need to ask mentors for help or information at the time, make sure to conduct weekly check-ins with them over email or phone even just to let them know what you are working on. There will be a conversation that they can instigate from there like talking about priorities for example. Above all, it is important to keep your mentors up-to-date on a regular basis.

  • Pricing is something that all business people worry about, so make sure to test.

  • Goodwin Proctor - for one reason or another, EVERYONE needs a lawyer, but make sure to read the fine print.


Now on to the main topic of this post: HOW TO RAISE MONEY!

Joining us were Dan Pullman, Partner at Fresh Source Capital, and Barrie Atkin, Founder & President of Atkin Associates, with David as our host, and who also has a lot of experience in regards to this topic.

The topics of discussion were:

  1. Sources of Money - Which is right for you?

  2. Attitudes about money / asking for money - Are you comfortable talking about money?

  3. Why do people or organizations give/invest?

  4. Preparing for the Meeting

  5. Resources


Some points from each topic

1. Sources of Money

- Questions to ask: Which might be best for your enterprise? Who might be interested in your project/business/idea?

  • Professional Investors: Angel investors, venture capitalists, social venture capitalists... but there’s more...

    • Angel Investors/Seed Stage ex. Kapor Capital (an unusual case): invest at a small level, are involved earlier than VCs, are easier to work with, and can be individuals or groups

      • However, they take a long time to process an application and you will be competing against thousands - so keep your expectations low.

      • They do lots of networking.

      • They tend to like tech-based companies because they are looking for returns that are still high ($5 million is at the low end of what they want)

        • So you need to show a big market.

    • Social Venture Capitalists: within the grant-world, willing to take more risks and forgo return unlike private investors/VCs. They may even give up return for the mission.

    • Venture Capitalists (“vulture investors?”): have a lot of money and congregate in Boston, San Francisco (Silicon Valley), and New York. They are looking for people with big ideas for the next billion dollar company.

      • Have generated revenue and reliable customer base

        • Because they want to take control of your company :(

  • Friends, family, business colleagues, advisors

    • Advantage: they trust you, and will hopefully will be around you for a long time

    • Disadvantage: may ensue awkward family gatherings? So be sure to send out monthly/quarterly notices, THINK IT THROUGH, and make an AGREEMENT.

  • Credit Cards, Loans, Banks

    • Banks require collateral - expectation of 0% from banks

  • Grants - Government & Foundation

    • Grant-makers

    • Relationship - contact well before the deadline; try to meet people on a more casual basis

    • Sponsors

  • Crowdfunding

  • Strategic Partners / Collaborators

    • marketing, promotion - Who will be using/having an interest in your service?

  • Potential Customers = self-fund growth by selling product/services

2. Asking for money - Putting yourself/business out there.

  • Know who you are talking with and what their interests/benefits are - do the RESEARCH.

  • Arrive early, dress well, and PLAN

  • Establish a personal connection


3. Why would someone give you money?:

  • To make more money - in which, you will need a compelling story.

  • The impact that you will make

  • They will receive rewards - ex. physical reward, or even just feeling good about associating with your product or service

  • Philanthropy

  • They believe in your mission statement

  • They identify with your cause/value proposition

  • Tax deduction (for supporting nonprofits)

  • They co-invest with someone that they admire - big names


4. Prepare for the Meeting

  • Just ASK! (With Passion!)

  • Get over your fear of asking

  • REMEMBER: There is a right time, right person, right amount, right message, right fit

    • RESEARCH ahead of time!

  • If you want money, ask for advice. If you want advice, ask for money. [which roughly means: don’t ask for money initially - don’t ask them for it, but let them know.]

  • ***What’s in it for them? Why should they be interested in you?

  • Give them a reason to have CONFIDENCE in you and our team

  • Time management - ALWAYS allow them enough time for feedback - how to improve and ask for referrals

  • Respect their time, they’ll respect you

  • Follow-Up

  • Use mouth half the time you use the ears


5. Resource: Laura Fredricks’ The Ask

Lastly, if anyone would like to begin or learn more about CROWDFUNDING, you know who to ask. :)