Got $ 100,000 pre-seed investment in 30 minutes with nothing but an idea

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It was my first time presenting a venture capitalist.

I had settled on the sofa in my living room, ready for a video call with someone I had never met in person. I had a business idea and a team to make it happen. He had the money and the interest in start-ups. Fingers crossed it’s a match!

The call was short and to the point. We talked about my idea, the team behind it and why we needed the money.

Half an hour later, an investment of $ 100,000 landed in our bank account.

How did it happen?

First of all, there has never been a better time to raise seed money – investor activity in Europe is higher than ever. According to Crunchbase, European startups have raised a record $ 51 billion in the first six months of 2021. It seems investors are hungry for European innovation and we jumped at the chance.

And second, after working as an investment analyst in a venture capital fund before pursuing my own business idea, I knew what investors needed to hear to make a decision in my favor.

We were able to tick all the boxes:

A strong team

Your team and their combined experience, knowledge and skills are probably the most important thing for investors. Because ideas are great and everything, but if the people behind the idea can’t get it started, there’s no point.

In my case, I already had a history of business relationships with my two co-founders. Prior to launching our new startup, we had started a profitable online store, brought it to $ 1.5 million in revenue, and ultimately led it to an exit. It proved that we have a solid track record – not only did we have the experience of building a successful business, but we also proved that we are a cohesive team.

The bigger the round you are aiming for, the more important the team and its expertise become. That’s why it’s common, even for late-stage startups that are lifting rounds A, B, C to hire board members whose expertise matches the specific fundraising round.

Trustworthy approval

I have always been an active member of my local startup ecosystem. Before the pandemic hit, I regularly attended local technical conferences and networking events. At these events, I rubbed shoulders with other entrepreneurs, listened to their experiences, took their advice and shared mine.

Over the years, I have built a solid network of people from the local ecosystem. So when the time came to look for investments for my startup, I reached out to a founder I had met at one of the many networking events who had some fundraising know-how. He had a close relationship with a number of investors, so I asked if he could do an introduction. He accepted.

If you ask me, personal introductions are just as valuable as you have heard. For us, an introduction and personal recommendation from a successful startup founder was the necessary mark of confidence to convince the investor that we are worth their money.

A convincing pitch

Finally, the pitch.

In my pitch, I focused on two things:

  • The impact – how many people will my solution affect?
  • Money – how does my startup plan to make money?

In other words, my pitch was less about the product itself and more about the potential ROI of the investor.

I talked about money – how we plan to profit from the $ 13.8 billion influencer marketing industry, how the solution will enable millions of health and fitness influencers to monetize their content, and how exactly we will register them on our platform.

Having worked in a venture capital fund and heard many arguments from founders, I have noticed that not paying enough attention to the company’s revenue and client acquisition models is a common mistake. In my pitch, that was the main objective. Investors may like your idea, but they won’t invest if that’s all you have.

Farewell remarks

A few seconds after my call with the investor ended, I received a message: he was ready to invest.

Prior to our call, I had already done my homework to make sure the process of receiving the money would go quickly and smoothly. I had the contract in place, ready to be electronically signed. All the investor had to do was enter the name of his company and put his signature on it. I had also prepared our bank details for the money transfer, and even a draft email for such a case.

So, as soon as I got the message, I wasted no time. I sent the investor my email with all the necessary information and the contract already signed on my side. A few minutes later it was sent back to me, with the investor’s signature on it.

The rest, as they say, is history.


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