What happens when you get a bunch of founders into a virtual room to talk about company building? Canaan Partner Michael Gilroy wanted to find out. He recently called on the founders of Bellhops, CircleUp, Embroker, Kustomer, Ladder, ScaleFactor and Tari to convene over Twitter to discuss their experiences in navigating the VC pitch process and building a company from the ground up.
We’ll be sharing clips of their conversation in a series of posts — emojis, gifs and all. Here’s today’s Q&A:
Michael Gilroy: Let’s level set. How much money has your company raised and what stage / series are you?
Jamie Hale, CEO & co-founder of @ladder: Series B and raised $54M.
Dan Teree, co-founder of @tari & @tari_labs: Capital resources are important but execution matters most! Tari Labs is honored to have Canaan’s support. And, Michael, you’re the best.
Kurt Rathmann, CEO & founder of @scalefactor: With the recent close of our Series B, ScaleFactor has now raised $45.5M in total.
Ryan Caldbeck, CEO & co-founder of @CircleUp: More than $50M. Series C. I don't know if I know what series/stage means anymore given massive Seed Rounds but that's at least what the docs said. 😀
Brad Birnbaum, CEO & founder of @kustomer: We just closed our $35M Series C last week, bringing Kustomer’s total funding to $73.5M — we couldn’t be more excited.
Luke Marklin, CEO & Cam Doody, founder of @BellhopsMoving: Total Raised: $50M+ 💲Stage: #Rocketship 🚀Series: C 🚛
Matt Miller, CEO & founder of @Embroker: $14M + raised, Series A.
Gilroy: Assume you just closed a round of funding. How soon until your next VC meeting? And how often do you meet with VCs when you’re TRULY not raising?
Teree: It's important to earn trust with investors and supporters. Most startups don’t do a great job with updates. Be the exception.
Caldbeck: Probably every 2 months when I'm truly not raising. I could argue it might be better to meet more provided the VCs can actually provide market insights.
Marklin: We’re based in TN, and don’t casually bump into investors on the reg. Once a round is closed, we go heads down until we’re lining up meetings for the next raise.
Hale: We are selective when not in market. It’s easy to confuse VC interest in meeting with true interest in investing. Time and focus are precious and once spent can’t be regained.
Gilroy: I totally agree, and for first time founders I frequently see fundraising processes blown up because of this. VERY hard to start and stop a process. VCs are just as responsible here.
Hale: Matt, what’s your take on managing VC inbound?
Miller: If you’re not actively raising, I would try to limit conversations to a few a month, and focus on building deeper relationships with firms that are good potential fits for the next round.
Birnbaum: It's important to stay connected to the investor community in preparation for future raises. Also, it helps to spread the brand and I always have an ask — "please introduce me to 2 portfolio companies.” Trust me, it works!
Rathmann: Almost immediately, as long as it isn’t a distraction. Funding means the business will function and grow without needing these meetings, but part of the CEO’s role is constantly making connections and keeping up with VCs.
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