Tagged: vcs

Last Minute Offer!

Unbelievable. I woke up yesterday morning with the mother of all hangovers having decided to drown my sorrows late into the night.

Yesterday was to be the very last day. I was planning to call an end to everything at 6pm. But we had 1 last meeting planned with a company we had met a couple of weeks prior.

I told my colleague how hungover I was. I was dying. I told him in advance that ironically, I had pulled off some other notable deals in my life hungover. Perhaps it would happen again. Hah. I’m not saying thats a great strategy for raising funds by the way.. just happens to be true.

So we went into this meeting at 10.30am. The alcohol still running through my head… more than likely dripping out of my pores. I felt physical pain… But this was the last meeting I was to ever have on this crazy startup that never wants to die. So I gave it my all. A full on, impassioned, emotional spiel. My defenses were down, but I had nothing to lose. “This is what it is, are you interested?”

On the spot they made an offer to pay off our existing investors, and crucially to fund the company to the level I want for the next couple of years.

Unbelievable, considering.

The fact is that nobody gets rich here, this is not a Snapchat acquisition, but what this is is a deal, survival, security and a future. Personally and for the entity.

Obviously nothing has been signed yet, anything can fall through… but thats where we are.

The show goes on. Hopefully.

Will keep you posted.

John Startup

Day 16 of 30: Changing The Timeline

1.38pm. Back home after 4 rambling days spreading the good word, and fighting the good fight. 

I have decided to change the mission of this blog from 45 days to raise Series A to 30 days, as the outlook now has to get even more realistic. If I can’t pull something out of the bag in the next 13 days or so… we are going to have to go back to our original investors and ask for a bridge round of financing.

The prospect of asking ‘can I some more please?’ is already making my stomach curdle. There is no guarantee we will get it. It’s humiliating, especially for a company that I feel deserves more respect. Is it the company I’m thinking about, or is it me? A bit of both I feel. 

If we don’t get an immediate yes on our request, then the first weeks of December will be spent wrapping up the company.

The hardest thing in all this is to keep up the motivation to at very least go down fighting. 

– 

So we spent the best part of the last 3 days going from meeting to meeting. 

We would present the big idea, then get back into the rent-a-car and analyze what just happened. It felt like we are doing a theses on our industry. As we’ve been meeting some pretty big hitters they have all been giving us their views on the state of the nation. They are all different. Which to me proves that nobody knows much, and that gives confidence in it’s own way. Makes me believe that I have just as good ideas as anyone else. Of coarse I actually believe I know best… but allow me to show some humility here.

As you drive around, you try and break it down as much as you can. What is the one line that will be the winner? What are we trying to say? What is at the core of it all? What does it all mean? If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

At the end of the day it’s about money. And we are driving around a giant money engine. We are meeting cogs in the wheel. These cogs are all working to the same objective… get the money. Where is the money? 

Money, money, money.

Despite this, I think people were genuinely impressed by what we have achieved to date. Their eyes light up at key points. I have my presentation down. I know my lines off by heart, and can tell it to them in a way that doesn’t seem rehearsed. I take pauses that makes it seem that I am thinking about what I’m saying, as if I’m making it up on the spot. Sometimes I am. I also get laughs. Once you get a laugh off an audience you can control them. The mood becomes more relaxed, you can pivot… and change the pace.

My presentation always stands out when grouped with others. 

I spoke at a conference a couple of days ago… and I was presenting 4th out of 6 presentations. In these situations I always get extremely competitive to stand out from the others. I want to make it memorable and entertaining to the audience, and so I watch the preceding presentations… and they are often so boring.

People are too programmed in what they think makes a good presentation. You need a good story,

The point is that I’m good at presenting… now if I could only get good at raising millions and millions of dollars.

The clock is ticking faster than ever.

John Startup

Day 13 of 45: Smug and Soulless VCs

10.04am. I can’t believe I have made an offer to sell the company. I have worked on this for 8 years! Selling it is a big deal. I’m not sure it’s even a good idea. Perhaps I’d rather go broke and it should wind down than sell it on.

On the other hand, maybe this is just a natural development. Like a child growing up and leaving home. 

We finally came to a valuation price that is a bit high, but fuck it. Let’s see what they say. If they said yes… it would be incredible (realizing I’m contradicting myself already). But they could easily say no. They might not even be interested. Time will tell, and we’ll know very soon.

– 

On Friday we had another presentation with a huge global fund. I was told by my side kick that it was my best presentation to date. I was very aggressive. I spoke the company up on every level. I had an answer for everything.

But these guys were smug. It annoyed me. 

Firstly, they came along late. I hate that. No excuse not to be punctual. It’s just rude.

Secondly the whole time I was making my wizzy Prezi presentation, the main guy we were speaking to, spent most of his time with his head down tapping on his IPad. 

We had a pretty good idea these guys were not interested before we went in and hence why I was aggressive in my presentation style.  I wanted to grab their attention. But even still, they could have been polite, showed interest for 20 minutes, and made a suggestion or two to us. 

One thing I’ve learned in recent years, is that whenever anyone shows you something, or comes looking for advice – be nice to them, give them your thoughts. Give suggestions. Perhaps even suggest another person for them to meet. It’s good karma.

But these people were utterly soulless and smug. I feel sorry for them. Who needs money which such attitudes?

Big week on the cards.

John Startup