I’m also an ex venture-funded company’s CEO who’s raised money and sold to companies. So I’d like to share with you some thoughts that I have as a CEO goes forward with a company and how they’re funding growing that company.
When you raise money you’re going to find that there are a wide number of choices and places you can go to get money, but what you have to focus on as a CEO is the lead investor. Followers are a waste of time.
So think of it as a sale, you start with a group of suspects who are the organizations that need investments in the category you’re looking for. Once you have that suspect list you have to look carefully and identify whether or not they’re actual prospects and if they are you have to call them. You have to have a discussion with them through your network, through a mentor, just a discussion. You’re not pitching them. You’re having a discussion to see whether or not they’re a qualified prospect to be a lead for you.
Once you have the lead in place look for those companies that have made similar investments and talk to those companies. Find out what type of investor is this going to be. Are they easy to deal with? In the honeymoon stage, everybody looks good. It’s really what happens when something goes wrong.
So in summary you have to be committed. You have to show that you understand how to succeed. You have to find a lead. And then you have to make sure before you pull the trigger that lead you selected will be the right choice for the long-term.
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