Tagged: series a

Do you believe in miracles?

7.14pm. We have pushed back our deadline day to salvage something to next Thursday. In my mind we are in the zone whereby if anything happens… it’s a total miracle. I am facing the reality for what the situation is more and more; I have to with the clock ticking down at the rate it is. 

Really something biblical needs to happen. 

Speaking of which I was just in the gym and I had a phone call. Nobody phones me in the gym… nobody phones me much in general actually. I picked up…

“Hello John, its Bob Blank (made up name). How are you?”

“Good Bob. Just in the gym. Actually on a treadmill…killing myself.”

No idea who he is.

“Look, remember we spoke a couple of weeks ago. Well one of our investors wants to talk to you. We’re closing our fund this week.”

“Yeah sure. That sounds great.”

Completely lost. Not the foggiest.

“Great. Ok, he’ll probably call you this evening.”

“Thats great Bob!!!”

Anyway, there you have it. Do you believe in miracles?

Wishful thinking. But I’ll take a call from anyone just now.

John Startup

 

 

INJURY TIME – Whats Going On Time

11.16am. So your wondering whats going on…

So am I. 

Yesterday one of our investors was scheduled to talk to our other investors with a view to getting them to chip into a small bridge round of funding. I got a small email from him to say it was a good call, and that he’d call me this morning to let me know how it went.

However I have not heard from him yet.

My gut tells me this is all a bad sign. Because if the call went very well, he would have phoned me and told me so. 

I had hoped that I would have had a yes or no on this by now. If it was no, I wanted to be making some biblical last minute calls to try save the day. I need that no before I can do that. I need to be in desperation, last chance saloon mode where I am totally fearless of a FUCK OFF response.

My worry is that everything will just linger on a few extra days… and I want the clarity in my mind on the future one way or another.

I just feel like I’m waiting and a bit powerless right now.

There are the logistical issues of winding down a company, letting everyone else go, packing my bags and moving home 🙂 (sad but true). All that requires its own energy and time. So we do need to know the future as soon as possible.

I sat up late last night watching Love Actually with a tub of Ben and Jerrys. 

This is what its come to.

John Startup

 

Day 28 of 30: Reflections

1.49pm. Met up with an old friend I used to live with. She lived through a lot of the trials and tribulations. I gave her the whole picture. Pretty much all you’ve read here… but LIVE! It’s more entertaining.

My ‘startup’ has actually been around a long time. 8 years to be honest. It was never created with business in mind, but it just kept on growing in a bizarre organic way with me nudging it uphill. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always felt there was a business here, but its been a very slow process. I have refused to take no for an answer and constantly refused to let it die. I have been stubborn as hell in getting it to this point.

So when I told my friend that I had this impending deadline to save the day, she began reminiscing on the amount of times I had said the same thing. She reminded me of all the times I said… “that’s it, I’m giving up”… but then plowed on regardless.

She also reminded me of all the funny times over the last 8 years, the women that have broken my heart, the despairing times, and all the achievements too. She asked me how I summated it…

There is a story here. A story onto itself. The problem is that not many other people in the world really grasp it in full apart from me. Some people have parts of the tale. Others have chunks of it. But nobody has the full view of it like I do. Our current investors certainly don’t understand the passion and energy behind it all. Nor should they. I don’t think.

I told her that when you get to this level, a level where I’m meeting the biggest people in the room… I only have time to give them a very high overview, and in truth that never does the story justice. The emotion and energy is removed from it somehow.

I told her that I did understand what had been achieved, but at this point, it is where it is, and this really could be the end of the line. 

I really want to be able to summate things properly, to have good perspective on it, and to pull the story together correctly when all is said and done. But right now… its tricky.

It’s not over yet. Tuesday is D-Day in terms of bridge round possibility which would represent yet another life line on this crazy adventure. 

Will the story go on? We will know very very soon.

John Startup

Day 27 of 30: Feeling Lazy

1.08pm. It’s the day after thanks giving and I’m trying to motivate myself to do more stuff. But right now I’m completely lethargic to do anything. Everywhere is quiet Stateside to I’m a little excused. I’m somewhat banking on this bridge round of funding coming through next week, but it’s not guaranteed at all…

But everyones on holiday… so theres only so much a person can do.

In the last few days we have switched off our Google Ads we have had running. Just looking at our current analytics – wow, they have really plummeted. We have had distrust in Google Analytics in the previous months. Simply put, they don’t quite match up… our Google Ads say its directing X amount of people to our site… but our Analytics say we have less people on the site than that.

Our programmer insists we have all necessary coding in place. But somethings amiss.

Nevertheless, the numbers make for depressing reading. No point looking at them from here on in…

Going to the gym… need to get some movement in this body.

John Startup

Day 24 of 30: A Lifeline?

8.10am. I haven’t been very good writing in recent days.

After Fridays post, I went on a drinking binge with a couple of friends which resulted in the alcohol blues on Saturday. I felt so ginger that I decided to check myself into a cheap and cheerful hotel with a swimming pool. I just wanted to float

This was an indulgence I could not really afford in light of my immediate future, but for survivals sake… a pool was needed.

– 

Yesterday morning I woke up spritely and met with a legendary dude I look up to. I’ve taken to just asking for meetings with people for two reasons – 1/ To ask for wisdom 2/ To put my situation in their heads on the chance they might come up with something. 

The wisdom being the key though. I’m asking people… ‘What would you do if you were in my position with a week to save the company?’ 

This guy who was 62 and surrounded by a stunning funky office space told me I was doing everything he would do. He told me that he gets 99% of things in life wrong. He told me how in his past he’s taken his wifes money, his childrens education fund, and remorgaged the house to keep things afloat… and still failed. He was full of positive helpful energy… and I just came out of the meeting feeling better. That feeling goes a long way. 

– 

Spent most of yesterday Crunchbasing and emailing random companies who would be a good fit when one of our existing investors called –

Investor – “So John, I’ve just came out of a board meeting, and I was really thinking, we can’t let this die. I mean, I don’t think this will become a big company, but I really think it needs a home somewhere. How much are you burning a month?”

John Startup – “Eh…. 40ish… I think.”

Investor – “Ok, so I propose we try and raise 200 to give you a few months, and we’ll work together to find this a new home.”

Quick mental calculation… need at very least 240k.

John Startup (on his knees) – “I mean yeah. I think that too… that would be great. Errrrrrmmmm I really think we’ll need 240 though.”

Long story short, he’s going to try get the other investors to put in to give us a 6 month lifeline. At this point I’m feeling anything would be a miracle… so this phone call is welcome news. Their call is not till next Tuesday, so we wont know till next week. It would be a savior… and I’m not counting my chickens… but we’ll have to wait and see.

John Startup

 

Day 20 of 30: Letting People Go

6.26pm. So had to let every non essential employee go today. 3 people left. 

I came to the decision yesterday morning when I met an advisor. I asked him… what would you do in this situation. He said… I’d let go of everyone right now. He said 2 days makes all the difference. You need anything you can get back right now. 

As I walked out of that meeting, the harsh reality of it hit me. Of-coarse thats what I needed to do. We were barely affording the next month anyway. It had to be done.

I was too chicken to do it myself. I’m no good at such things. Who is? George Clooney in that movie I guess. 

The truth is that I had to take a meeting at exactly the same time as we had planned to do it. I’m not sure if that’s a good excuse… but timing did just unfortunately clash. Hmmmm… 

It’s a bad time of the year to be doing this stuff. Heartbreaking.

I walked by Michele Bachmann on the street today. She walked straight by me. I should have asked her to cough up. She was shorter than I thought.

We had a meeting with a VC today that I met at a party a few weeks back. I only thought of him a few days ago. I emailed him and he said sure he’d meet, but he warned me that they only do investments of 75K or so, but no harm telling the story eh…

On the way to the meeting I told my colleague that these guys don’t have much money, so not to get that excited.

Suffice to say the meeting was high looking over Central Park… the most spectacular view you could imagine. After I made my presentation… he reiterated that they only do investments of 75 million or higher!!!!!!!

“Did I say we were looking for 350K? I meant we needed at least 75 million!”

Felt pretty small coming out of the meeting.

So with time ticking down, I told our investor today that we needed a bridge round of funding in the region of 350K. It’s not a huge amount for these guys… but the vibes are not what they should be. I don’t have any confidence they will give it to us, so I have to make a deal happen elsewhere.

The survival of the company is paramount, this money has to be found. It will be found!

Wont it?

Gulp.

Finally, just to let people know… as some are probably getting the sense that I’m about to jump off a bridge or something…

You certainly get the blues at times, but there are also plenty of laughs. When confronted with the reality, things become clear, very fast, so you gain perspectives with that.

The anxiety comes out of thinking… what the fuck will I do next?!!! 

And money! Money anxiety is an undoubted killer.

John Startup

Day 19 of 30: Crunchbasing

8.26pm. In office space alone. It’s a little chilly.

You know things are desperate when you have taken to sending the most random people emails trying to nudge their interest. 

I’ve been on Crunchbase for the last few hours. Seeing who’s invested in who… and then randomly emailing them. Of coarse it’s hard to find the emails of the multi millionaire types, but LinkedIn is proving surprisingly useful today. You can find a lot of people, and see when they’ve looked at your page. I didn’t know people actually used LinkedIn. But they do!

I managed to get the attention of a fairly high up CEO who I hope to get on the phone in the next couple of days. Touch wood.

– 

This has become a fight for survival. Forget Series A. Forget acquisitions. It’s clear these things are not on the cards now. So my mind has been trying to work out how we might buy ourselves 6 months.

Last night I made a great offer to a CEO. I said we need 350K, and by the end of that we’ll be in proper business, having hired the exact right personal. It was a great offer… I got a little excited by it… but this morning I got the rejection response.

Yep. Things are not looking good.

I wish I didn’t believe in this fucker so much. I know we have something special. 

But the market dictates… the market dictates. All the rejections can’t be coincidence. Maybe I have bad breath?

Terrible closing line.

John Startup