Story time. Berlin, 2013.
Cold November afternoon. Just passed the 200 investor meeting mark, countless hours building my pitch deck and refining financials, excel spreadsheets, not to mention the excessive number of mind-numbing cold emails. But still nothing. Sons of bitches.
We've all heard founder stories like this. One too many perhaps. The growing frustration and debilitating pain that comes with trying to raise funds while building a business. Startups going down the drain, all kaput, all the time.
This miserable November Wednesday certainly feels like a good day to call quits on this startup bullshit, I thought. But the Gods felt otherwise.
Feeling like shit from a poor night of sleep and a depressed cortisol-filled existence, I opened my laptop. There it was. Right at the top. The shortest reply to a follow-up email I had ever seen: Love to know more. Fly to Athens next week, he said. And so we did.
That miserable Wednesday afternoon wouldn't let us go gentle into the night. The impossible was happening. We had an investor on board. Ready to wire a million dollars. Fuck me, that's what I call a happy ending.
Don't piss on my back.
And tell me it's rain. Trust me, I had read all the blog posts, watched all the videos, mastered all the templates. There were a lot less back then, I'll give you that. But none of that really mattered. It just happened that, unknowingly, I did the right thing that day. Stroke of luck, no stroke of genius.
Let me tell you this. Knowledge is a commodity. Everyone has it. If we're all using the same templates, watching the same videos, listening to the same podcasts, and still 90%+ of us can't successfully fundraise, maybe we press pause and reflect?
You're signing up for it.
As far as I'm concerned, insights are the highest form of knowledge. There are certain experiences and reflections, so pungent and so pervasive, that once you are faced with them, you will never be the same again. That's why we're here.
Over the next few posts, I'll be sharing with you my insights on fundraising: on strategy, psychology and my favorite frameworks. If my advice can make you think in a better, clearer, more intentional way, then my job is done.
For me, this is the way forward. No way around it, no way back, no other fucking way. Just quality thinking and a lot of hard work.
Rest well tonight. Tomorrow is day one.