Day 1 of 45: Series A Head Scratching

It’s 10.50am. I’m sitting in my office. I have a large coffee in a polystyrene cup. It’s full of sugar. Too much sugar. My midday crash is not far away. 

Looking at my email. Cluttered with spam. Delete, delete, delete. 45 emails remain. My eyes scan them. Looking for that nugget. Looking for the one that stands out from the rest. Not today.

I run a startup. And simply put, I have 45 days to raise a Series A round of investment. A Series A round of investment ‘is the name typically given to a company’s first significant round of venture funding in the Silicon Valley model of startup company formation.’ ‘A typical Series A round is in the range of $2 million to $10 million, purchases 10% to 30% of the company, and is intended to capitalize the company for 6 months to 2 years’ (So says Wikipedia)

So how large is the pressure? Well somehow I oversee 150 people around the world who love what they do working on a novel unique concept that I created in my attic. If the money is not raised, that will be the end of days on a project that has been many years in the making.

I have personally invested the best part of a decade getting it to this point. What I would do with my life afterwards is a mystery. I would be broke and having to start afresh with no discernible skills. The anxiety is high.

I am attempting to put on a brave face everywhere else but in this blog.

– 

So does my startup warrant a Series A? Hmmmm yeaaaaah kinda…. Possibly not. Definitely.

In this business you can have no doubt about things. You must portray a full belief in what you do externally. You probably should possess that belief internally too. That is the mark of a true entrepreneur. But I look at the full picture and can’t help but see things the way they are. 

In startup land I sometimes get the feeling that if your not the biggest thing in the world, your nothing. If your not Facebook, Google, YouTube, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter your nobody. Being pretty big counts for nothing. Maybe we are nobody?

Investors want to see significant scaling.

We have millions of users. But what you need is millions and millions and millions of users. Fuck that… you need billions.

So with the anxiety sky high, I’ve decided to start this blog to help me keep my sanity. I’ve also taken to going to the gym everyday. I’ve figured the most important thing is to have the clearest head through this process. If all goes belly up, and the worst happens, I want to be in a head space where I’m not slitting my wrists. And trust me, in this process its very easy to see darkness at any given moment.

But some might say thats a defeatist attitude. 

Must believe.

John Startup

(Happy to field questions)

 

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