Pajamas and SAFEs: Raising 2M during the Pandemic

Tale of the Tape

First things first — know your audience. When you’re raising venture capital, that audience is usually going to be an analyst, partner, or panel of partners. And what are you going to use to pitch them? Well, a pitch deck of course. It’s the one tool you’ve got heading into that meeting, so you need to know it like the back of your hand. But that’s not enough — you also need to know exactly what the audience is doing with it when you are not around.

Process, Process, Process

This second time around I fully committed to something I had only experimented with in the past — I practiced my pitch with funds that weren’t at the top of my list of picks before beginning my outreach to the funds I thought would be a better fit with our mission and vision. Why? Because even though a lot of life at a startup is like drinking from a firehose, that doesn’t mean your fundraising needs to be. Start small, dream big, take notes, and keep improving with each pitch.

Same Same, but Different

So on a macro level what had changed since I last raised capital? A few things. First of all, pre-seed was becoming the new seed round. Secondly, as opposed to my last time raising early rounds, the pre-money SAFE was out and the post-money SAFE was in, definitely a welcome change. How about timelines? As a “serial entrepreneur”, I was able to accelerate them considerably in this digital-first environment. We ended up raising our round in about 6-weeks which was great as I had targeted 2 months (8 weeks) as my internal goal. This is a big win for entrepreneurs everywhere. Investors are looking for great ideas and killer teams, they no longer have to be based in the Bay Area and if they like what you are up to they will cut a check.

Spin me Right Round

I’ll always remember the first thing a friend with several startup successes under their belt told me when I started on the entrepreneur journey in 2015. “They say that time in the life of a startup entrepreneur is a bit like dog years.” In some (most) ways that’s a blessing, but if you aren’t proactive, introspective, and meditative without still maintaining a bias towards action it can be a curse. Time moves so fast, new methods and learnings become out of date and entire industries change in the blink of an eye which can be overwhelming. But that’s what I love about it and I wouldn’t change it for the world. And it just so happens that I’m not alone in that. Tech entrepreneurs, no matter how busy, will always take the time to talk to each other, share advice and even just lend a shoulder to lean on.

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Andrew Arruda

Andrew Arruda

| doing well by doing good @AutomateMedical | no fear. no envy. no meanness. | prev. @TorontoSRI , @ROSSIntel | alum @YCombinator @TEDTalks |