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, all about VCs:
Michael Gilroy: How many months did it take you to close your last round of funding? And how many different VCs did you meet with? Anything you would you have done differently?
Matt Miller, CEO & founder of @Embroker: Our last one was very fast! Didn't even get to finish my materials. But the one before that was long and painful. It's hard to know what to expect so always plan for an extended process.
Jamie Hale, CEO & co-founder of @ladder: Agree, it is a journey, Dan. We were lucky @ladder. 56 days from first pitch to cash in the bank. Reached out to 26 and pitched 18. We had a lot of interest given our new approach and the proprietary technology in #insurtech
Luke Marklin, CEO of @BellhopsMoving: Total Months: 2. Total Meetings: As many as we could fit into 2 months + sleep/food. Changes: more sleep, spend more time with family, and sign up for a coffee rewards program. Wins: @HotelTonight rewards program.
Gilroy: you forgot to tag @GreyhoundBus for all of your transit needs.
Marklin: The highlight of our two months! 😅
Kurt Rathmann, CEO & founder of @scalefactor: @scalefactor’s Series A took about 6 months. We never officially started fundraising again for Series B because we were approached. The difference was that I had spent all that time building relationships and sharing updates with VCs.
Gilroy: What’s one thing you wish VCs did more of to help you and your companies be successful?
Ryan Caldbeck, CEO & co-founder of @CircleUp: Love it.1) the Hippocratic oath - do no harm for the co. No distracting requests, stop pretending to be a product person if you're not, etc. We have one or two investors that are a disaster in that dept. (NOT @dtcippy [Canaan GP Dan Ciporin] he is awesome), 2) intros/ public evangelism.
Teree: From my previous experience, it’s great when you have VCs that help with recruiting, provide objective feedback, and make high-quality intros.
Miller: Public evangelism and exec recruiting are probably the two biggest areas where VCs can actively add value.
Caldbeck: Agree w/ Matt.
Marklin: More live @twitter interviews 😉 The best investors are T shaped - they have a breadth of knowledge, but uniquely can go deep in one area critical for your company.
Teree: I will not be able to get that "T" out of my brain. I like it.
Rathmann: It’s important that you’re not just working for the VCs, but the VCs are working for you. It’s up to the CEO to make sure that the VC’s are making intros, and providing insight, etc when you’re in need.
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