Here at Chored HQ, we don’t have to cast our minds back too far to remember how things used to be pre funding. It’s tough out there. Really tough. And if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to paint the picture for you.
Essentially, “fund raising” is very similar to job hunting, in that you aim is to convince someone to give you money to do something. If you’re lucky, you might get enough money to get a few other people to help you out, and if you’re really lucky there might be enough left to spread the word.
But here’s the rub. With a job, if your face doesn’t fit, or you screw up the interview, then perhaps it wasn’t the right role for you. Sure, it stings a bit, but there are other jobs out there. Life goes on.
Imagine now, however, that instead of selling yourself for a role, instead of pitching your ability to produce what is likely to represent an increasingly interchangeable skill set as your career develops, imagine instead that you are selling an idea. Your idea. Your dream. When an investor says to you “sorry, not interested” they bring into question the one thing on which you have pinned everything; your aspirations, your beliefs and your hopes.
After the 7th, or 8th time this happens, maintaining the kind of dedication you know is necessary to prove yourself in that all or nothing 9th meeting becomes a struggle of gargantuan proportion. There’s a good reason why 90% start-ups fail in the first year; the first hurdle’s a real bitch.
The best part, of course, is that if you are among the lucky few pretenders who successfully straddle this all important first step, then, and only then will you get he unique opportunity to see first hand how unconscionably monumental a task it is to take an idea and turn it into a living, breathing business, worthy of the climb before it. An idea is worthless, as they say. Everything is in the execution.
It is with all that in mind that I want to say how utterly and immeasurably excited we are to face this challenge, daunting as it is. The friends and sponsors that helped us get to the starting blocks are many, and to each we give thanks, and make this simple promise; you will not regret it. We will not disappoint.
And to the other startups out there? An incredible woman (who has since gone on to raise over $1m for her own startup – check it out here) told me at the beginning of my journey “never to leave a meeting without taking at least two other emails to follow up on”. Invaluable advice as that advice proved, I think I’d go one step further. Never walk away from anything; a meeting, a conversation, a pitch, whatever…without taking something from it. Something you can learn from, something you can use. Because be it advice, an email or criticism, these things, these surreptitious interludes have the power to change everything, and re-define our paths completely.
Olly – Co-founder and CEO – Chored