- Beryl Stafford raised $18 million for her baked-goods enterprise Bobo’s by focusing regionally.
- Lindsay Holden raised $17 million for her finance app Long Game by refining her pitch over time.
- The two mentioned they had been nervous to pitch buyers however the expertise taught them so much.
Starting a enterprise — and elevating cash to fund it — isn’t any simple feat.
Beryl Stafford, a meals entrepreneur in Colorado, has raised greater than $18 million for her baked-goods enterprise Bobo’s. Lindsay Holden, a tech entrepreneur in San Francisco, has introduced in $17 million in funding as a cofounder and the CEO of Long Game.
The two shared how they did it and their suggestions for different burgeoning founders.
Leverage a neighborhood repute and powerful development
Stafford launched Bobo’s in 2003 and bootstrapped the corporate herself, having taken on credit-card debt, a second mortgage on her house, and a few small financial institution loans.
She hadn’t identified something about meals distribution or gross sales on the onset, she mentioned, however created a profitable enterprise because of her connections to commerce exhibits and her area people. In 2020, Bobo’s income hit $33.5 million, in massive half due to its pivot to e-commerce.
Stafford informed Insider she was petrified to pitch to buyers, as she could not simply stand behind a desk and feed individuals her product like at a commerce present.
“I couldn’t hide in my own vacuum anymore, but I kept at it,” she mentioned. She went to each kind of meals distributor, gluten-free client, and low commerce present she may to seek out like-minded buyers and highlighted Bobo’s market match and “strong velocity on the grocery shelf,” she mentioned.
“Network like crazy, and you will meet one or two investors that believe in you,” Stafford mentioned.
Since she’d constructed a repute in Boulder, she additionally aimed to maintain funding near house and associate with native corporations. Bobo’s first fundraise was a $eight million Series A in 2017 led by Boulder Food Group, adopted by a $four million Series B in 2019 led by Boulder Investment Group Reprise, and the Boulder funding agency Range Light LLC.
“The standard advice in raising money is to do it before you need it. Don’t wait until you’re desperate,” Stafford mentioned.
Use robust inquiries to refine your pitch
Holden, whose financial-planning app makes use of prize-linked financial savings and rewards to assist customers get monetary savings, informed Insider she had pitched buyers lots of of instances. Before Long Game, she cofounded an public sale startup and labored in enterprise capital.
“Every fundraise, you go in thinking the company could die at this moment. It’s hard, scary, and a lot of pressure,” Holden mentioned.
But, she added, it forces you to determine what’s working and what’s not when pressed with exhausting questions.
“You may realize you need to explain some things with additional data or illustrative stories. It’s an iterative process on how to communicate about the company,” Holden mentioned, including: “You’ll start to see patterns in the questions asked, so you’ll then make sure to cover those when you pitch again.”
If a enterprise capitalist questions the worth proposition of a enterprise, for instance, then you might want to elucidate buyer motivations or issues in extra element.
“You may also need to break down your various customer-acquisition channels, such as paid search or marketing, and provide data that shows you can scale,” Holden mentioned.
Long Game’s buyers embrace Vestigo Ventures, Franklin Templeton, Thrive Capital, and Collaborative Fund. The firm is in a bridge-financing spherical and trying to cushion itself financially because it modifications its enterprise mannequin.
Stay assured, Holden mentioned, however be comfy admitting what you do not know.
“People aren’t really trying to stump you — they are trying to understand your business,” she mentioned, including that there had “been times I had to get back to them with an answer or a specific business-case model.”
“Always seek input from people who understand your industry and how investors think, and remember that building a company is more difficult than fundraising,” she mentioned.