Fundraising · Entrepreneurship

How to find someone in (Silicon Valley) who helped raise funding and has sales/marketing background?

David Coleman

January 6th, 2016

We have a great idea, and already are in talks with a group to help build the product, but we want to raise seed funding. I would like to find someone who has experience in this, but once the funding is gotten, could transfer into the head sales/marketing role.
Experience with simulations or gaming is useful as well as with subscriptions, enterprise sales and online communities.
As a founder, you’re always in fundraising mode (whether active or passive). In this course, we’ll teach you how to successfully raise follow-on capital, establish a valuation for your company, build an investor pipeline for your next round, and more.

Patricia Wetzel Founder at The Anti-Cancer Club™

January 7th, 2016

Hi David,

Jason's advice is excellent and it closely mirrors our experience.  The investor community is extremely risk adverse at an early stage. We have a base of over 50k potential customers, a social media reach that extends beyond 1m, and they still want to see a fully developed, monetized platform.  Everyone seems to think that all you have to do is build a simple app.  Our platform incorporates some fairly sophisticated technology and--as you're finding-- it's not that simple.  On top of that, we are terrified of explosive growth from our POC that we can't afford to service.

As you go about looking for money, keep in mind that many of the Bay area investors made a lot of money on corporate stock options; they may never have actually been in your shoes starting and bootstrapping a business without significant wealth to draw on. The Bay area is also a club.  You may need to recruit (for substantial equity) an "insider" just to get in the door.  High priced lawyers can be an asset as well.  

My advice: have deep pockets. It costs more and takes longer than you may anticipate. And be sure you are passionate enough about your business to be in for the long haul.  Personally, I would never do this just for a product. For me, and many on my team,  ThinkTLC is a heart felt, all consuming passion.

EM

January 6th, 2016

So, you're looking for a startup CEO then.

jason illian Founder/CEO of BookShout, Startup Advisor

January 6th, 2016

David.....a couple things: 1. Most of the seed funding in Silicon Valley (and other places) comes to people who already have some type of beta software in place. It is getting increasingly difficult to raise even early stage funding without some type of product or service. Most experienced angels won't fund something on an idea when there are so many other early stage companies with operational software. The exception is talking to an angel or VC with which you have a personal relationship. 2. I've raised a considerable amount of money, and the person raising the money and your head sales/marketing role are not always the same person. Someone who is good at raising capital is going to want a co-founder title, a good chunk of equity, and a seat at the table. 3. Silicon Valley is not the only place to raise money. Family offices, hedge funds, corporate entities and non-profits are all playing in the game now. Worth consideration.

jason illian Founder/CEO of BookShout, Startup Advisor

January 6th, 2016

You typically can break the Catch 22 by creating a founding TEAM--developer, designer, and hustler. This triad can build the MVP at no cost, all with ownership in the company. You need these different skill sets anyways.

Bill Vanke VP Global Sales & BD | Sales Pipeline Forensics | Business & Society Observer and Commenter | Wireless | M2M

January 6th, 2016

@ David Coleman

If you are looking for someone to help with the fundraising, how much are you willing to pay them?  You will need to pay them apart from any direct or contingent success regarding any money raised unless they have FINRA certification.  Otherwise, it is not legal for you to pay them nor legal for them to accept payment for placing investment into your firm.  

Greg Welch

January 6th, 2016

Fundraising is a tough thing to do and its important that you do this yourself as the CEO.  It's fine to get the coaching and have the support of a strong sales person, BD person or team but you need to be the point on this.  Relationships that are formed and bonds that are created in the fundraising process are why people invest in early stage companies.  Of course your technology and business model are critical but an investor wants to look the CEO in the eye, here the story, understand who you are before they write a check.  As an angel investor this is critical in any company that I look at.  Great engineers can learn and be taught to be good sales people.  It's all about the leadership and the drive.

if you need help with fundraising there a number of great places to get introductions and learn the ropes.  Take the time to do your homework and go for it!

Josh Miller EVP, Country GM - Zapper USA

January 6th, 2016

Good feedback here.  There isn't a strong sales/BD person who is also strong in marketing and fundraising unless they have significant GM / CEO experience.  Sales, fundraising, and marketing are not as much common ground as they may appear.

Len Chermack Software Executive in Cloud, Iot, Enterprise & SMB. Proven in Turnaround and Growth in Sales and Services

January 6th, 2016

Having served as a CEO in multiple tech companies, all I can say which is stated above, you are describing a CEO with experience in capital formation and has grown up via the ranks in sales and marketing.

Put put it simply, investors including seed funding will want to get to know the team, but rest assured they will fund the CEO they expect to lead the efforts.

Cameron Ackbury President US Operations | Investor | Seeking top tier University entry level Sales, Marketing, PR Candidates

January 6th, 2016

David - we might be able to help you. Ping me and we can discuss.

David Coleman

January 6th, 2016

No, I am the CEO, but may be looking for a co-founder.