Women Founders, Investors on How to Raise First Round of Funding


  • Entrepreneurs ought to increase cash by approaching traders to construct relationships.
  • People who know your product are the most definitely to make investments, so begin inside your community and broaden.
  • You also needs to develop a web based presence on Twitter or Clubhouse to get within the combine with VCs.
  • See extra tales on Insider’s enterprise web page.

If you are a brand new founder hoping to increase funding in your startup, it is essential to domesticate a community of potential traders with out beginning out by asking for favors. 

Case in level: Investor Namrata Banerjee has been getting dozens of strangers messaging her each week on social media for the reason that pandemic began.

Usually, they’re asking for cash or pitching their startup concepts, Banerjee, director of the VentureBridge program at Carnegie Mellon and a enterprise companion on the fundraising platform Republic, informed Insider. 

She stated the slim probability a chilly name like which may work will increase if the entrepreneur does not begin by asking for cash. Instead, it ought to be all about relationship constructing. 

“Asking for money and trying to connect are different things in my mind,” Banerjee stated. “Most of the requests I get are over the 200-word character limit,” she added. “I just don’t have the time to sift through those.”

Melissa Barash, founding companion at Left Tackle Capital, agreed it is higher to strategy traders with questions quite than chilly pitches. 

“Ask for advice instead of money,” she stated. “It helps you understand what the investors care about, the types of opportunities they like to invest in, and when.”

Here’s what else traders and founders steered doing to increase that essential first spherical.

Tap your current networks first

It is likely to be useful to make an inventory of networks you have already participated in, like college alumni associations or pupil teams. It does not have to be a proper community, however merely an inventory of folks you recognize. 

Such was the case with Siqi Mou, cofounder of HelloAva, who stated the primary quantity of funding an entrepreneur attracts is usually an funding in an individual or a workforce, not a selected enterprise technique. 

“It’s important to find people who know you, as the founders, and who trust your vision,” she informed Insider. “Most businesses will pivot and will change. It’s rare to get the right product-market fit on the first try.”

Her magnificence ecommerce platform, based in 2017 and providing personalised skincare consulting and product suggestions, now has roughly 70,000 publication subscribers and raised round $2 million in funding. 

She met her first traders as a pupil at Stanford University and, years later, merely requested them for a gathering to current an concept earlier than she had a full marketing strategy or any customers. She used suggestions from these former classmates to iterate on the thought and launch an organization. They invested in her startup, she stated, based mostly on belief established throughout their collegiate days. 

Cyo Nystrom, CEO of the sexual wellness model Quim, stated she met her first traders via her lawyer and pitching competitions. 

“We started this business with about $12,000 of our own savings and that lasted us until we got our first check in 2018,” Nystrom stated. 

Connect with traders who already care about your target market

Once you have already tapped your current community, the subsequent step is on the lookout for introductions to traders out of your target market.

Suma Wealth CEO Beatriz Acevedo stated most of the traders in her Latinx-centric fintech startup are Latinas dwelling within the United States. One of her first traders was somebody she already knew via a area people group in Los Angeles. Then she requested for introductions. 

Suma Wealth founder Beatriz Acevedo

Suma Wealth founder Beatriz Acevedo.

Beatriz Acevedo


“What helped me was, with the investors, I didn’t have to explain to them why this market matters. They’ve lived this. The numbers made sense to them,” Acevedo stated. “Serving your community is valuable. If people don’t see that, you don’t want them on your captable.” 

Acevedo added that a very powerful half of elevating is preserving in contact with capital allocators. 

“I take investor meetings every single day, although my round closed,” Acevedo stated. “We want to get to know each other, even when I’m not raising.”

Be on-line

Banerjee stated entrepreneurs ought to develop an viewers on a platform like Twitter or Clubhouse, the place enterprise capitalists typically go for information and social networking. 

“It’s like developing in public. I can read about the progress of the product or company they’re making,” Banerjee stated. “There are platforms like Kickstarter that is likely to be higher for merchandise, like a watch or an

ergonomic keyboard
, so as to get the preliminary crowd and to get suggestions on the product.”

Barash agreed, including that constant progress will help construct belief with traders. 

“One of the issues that individuals have seen so much of success with is preserving traders up to date commonly with milestones that they’ve reached,” Barash said. “Communicating the way you’re progressing will assist provoke these conversations when the timing is correct.” 

Plus, Nystrom stated, leveraging social media will be a good way to develop the startup’s viewers and show to traders there’s profitable demand in your product or concept. 

“We went to reaching out to (brick-and-mortar) shops to running our own Instagram,” Nystrom stated, describing how she unfold the phrase about her firm. “Then setting up affiliate programs and subscriptions on our website.” 

Consider beginning with loans or crowdfunding

For anybody wanting to bootstrap their startup quite than go straight to investor networks, Tai Adaya, CEO of skincare model Habit, stated entrepreneurs can get artistic with their cash administration. 

Habit Ceo Tai Adaya

Habit CEO Tai Adaya.

Tai Adaya


“Right now the economy is bad, so there’s a lot of cheap interest loans,” Adaya stated. “Make sure you understand the landscape before you dive into anything. Look at different loans and grants the government is offering.” Even simply elevating a couple of thousand this fashion and establishing the brand new model could make the challenge extra engaging to traders who’re nonetheless getting to know you.

Barash additionally suggested aspiring fund managers and entrepreneurs to “do a mix of everything” when it comes to fundraising and constructing a “tribe” of supporters. 

“Know what is the intention or purpose behind it,” Barash stated about elevating exterior capital. “There are so many businesses where outside capital may not be the answer.”  

Whether it is favorable distribution contracts for bodily merchandise, like Adaya secured for her wellness merchandise line, or crowdfunding from clients, there are lots of methods for entrepreneurs to get preliminary funding outdoors traders.

“I bootstrapped before I raised, until I raised $100,000,” Adaya stated. “During the pandemic, it’s been a little bit more focused on business fundamentals and a little less about relationship building, which can be an advantage.”



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