Technical co-founder · Foreign Cofounder

Funding issue with remote co-founder

Satyajeet Nandekar Senior Software Engineer at PatientKeeper

May 16th, 2015

Hi,

I have 2 co-founders in India and I am a technical co-founder in US. We have known each other for 4-5 years before started working on an idea. We went live with the product after working together for around a year. Things are working great.

Now, we are seeking funding and investors have concerns on my being remote (in US). Within our selves we have no issues but not sure how to convince investors? I can not go back to India for a year or so.

Anybody, any thoughts or suggestions? Thank you.

Chris Carruth VP/Director. Strategy | Business Development | Operations | Product | Solutions

May 16th, 2015

I think they are focusing on the #1 reason for investment - the team. A good team with a poor product can make it happen, a poor team, even with a good product, not so much. I think I would point out what has been accomplished with the existing structure, why is has been effective and how you will have some flexibility after another year.

You could also create some stage gates for investment that would capitalize on the fact you are in the US, ie., what could be done in the next 12 months because you are here versus in India?

 

Remember facts tell but stories sell. What's your story?

Karl Schulmeisters Founder ExStreamVR

May 17th, 2015

These are your earliest investors.  Be open with them. You are working to get your green card in the USA and once you have that you actually are a stronger long term sales and engagement asset.  And then dive into an example of a typical week:

I am a CTO in a virtual company with an HQ in the USA, I'm based in Paris FR and my Dev team is in Riga LV, and I continually get pitched to do dev. work in SE Asia.

So here's how I would explain to them how I keep the team on task in a different time zone:

  1. I am available to my Dev team via Skype to answer questions at any time during THEIR working hours
  2. We have a "StandUp" every day at a time that works for all of our locations  and we identify what was accomplished, what any blocking factors are, who owns the blocking factors and what will be done in the next 24 hrs
  3. My Dev Team either does a "shelf checkin" or a formal checkin every night to a common cloud based source repository
  4. I track every code checkin and validate the code changes and the comments associated with the checkin
  5. Our budget includes my flying to be on location for each of our major milestone acceptance meetings
  6. My business leadership and I meet formally every Monday and Friday via Skype to identify where we are in the process, the budget and to identify next steps
  7. I work with my CEO informally on an as needed basis
  8. I meet with my CEO every day for a 30 minute check in via Skype at a time that is mutually convenient for us consistently every day
  9. we schedule working sessions that are mutually convenient as is necessary.
  10. We use Office 365 SharePoint to share files
  11. We use a common CRM tool
  12. We share our calendars so that we can understand who is doing what.


And if this is not enough for them to "trust you" after a F2F engagement - then they are not the right investors



MaxBlox/Founder Institute Director, Chennai Area at The Founder Institute

May 16th, 2015

Goes to show that not all investors are smart. They make many simplistic rules of thumb to decide on investments.

The fact that one of the founders in the US ought to be a tremendous advantage if the marketplace includes the USA too. There are a lot of teams that actually move to the USA just to be able to execute better in this marketplace.

Address this concern right away in your presentation. List all the advantages of having a founder in the USA.
- make your market include USA
- discuss the connections you get here
- discuss access to the marketplace directly
etc

Larry Shiller

May 16th, 2015

"Investors have concerns..." What concerns, specifically?

Satyajeet Nandekar Senior Software Engineer at PatientKeeper

May 16th, 2015

Thanks a lot Gopi. 
Larry, they are asking questions like
1. When is remote co-founder coming back to India, why cant he come back in a month?
2. How can we trust him, what if he does not come back?
4. Why is he not in India?
5. How can he coordinate with team because of different time zone?
6. He is tech co-founder and is remote. How will he keep up with the co-workers and keep up               their morale. (We have a small technical team and keeping morale was never a problem. I talk to             them everyday )

Thank you.

Ming Tsui

May 16th, 2015

Your investors must be very small angels.

Satyajeet Nandekar Senior Software Engineer at PatientKeeper

May 17th, 2015

Thank you Chris

Karl Schulmeisters Founder ExStreamVR

May 17th, 2015

Flip it around though.    These folks are looking to invest their hard earned money and don't have the ability to meet you.  It seems that you should at least be willing to fly to see them in person.  I know that can be tough on the budget of a startup.   But the reality is that investors are conservative, and you have structured your organization that is not the usual form and thus it is going to reduce your pool of possible investors

Satyajeet Nandekar Senior Software Engineer at PatientKeeper

May 17th, 2015

Thank Karl for your perspective. Makes sense.
I can definitely visit and see them in person on my own expenses if that can help us to get funding. However I can not leave US permanently for at least a year. With the way our organization is structured, what would your suggestions to handle this scenario? Appreciate your help.

Satyajeet Nandekar Senior Software Engineer at PatientKeeper

May 19th, 2015

Thank you Karl for suggestions.