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What they mean
How long have you been out pounding the streets looking for investors? How long have you been pitching investors?
Investors don’t actually care how long have been raising for, per se! This question is trying to figure out if you are a winner or loser.
If you have been raising for four months and not getting a bite, then this is a loser. You clearly have been rejected a lot. There must be a reason the investor will be thinking.
If you have been raising for one day then, who cares? You only just started raising.
People talk so this is hard to lie about. You can take a little poetic licence, but +/- 15%.
Really good deals are fairly effortless. Those deals get done. But, if you hear about a deal getting done in say 3 weeks, you don’t know the backstory.
Here is a real example from Mathilde, CEO of Front:
A few weeks later, we had raised $66M, led by Sequoia and followed by DFJ.
“A few weeks.” Wow, cool. So that will be the same for me too you may be thinking no. Here’s the backstory:
I don’t have enough experience to draw general conclusions as to why it went well, but there is one thing I’m pretty sure has helped: I leveraged my existing relationships with one partner in each of the VC firms, to be able to get a partner meeting right away. Building these relationships happened over the course of Front’s entire existence, so in effect, it took me 4+ years to secure this funding ? Build relationships early and maintain them regularly, but keep it short and focused (I usually meet with each firm once every 3 to 6 months).
She put in 4 years of relationship building in order to get the deal done rapidly. Raising sucks for everyone, but you can make it easier and ensure you don’t get viewed as a dead deal.
What you need to say
“We started our process two weeks ago. Our first meetings were just to get our footings and now we are talking to the big boys like you, ha ha. We haven’t raised before, so sure you know it’s a big learning curve.”
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