What it takes to drive a start up? Finding investors… a fun ride?

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    Now we are at Step 2, Finding the money!

    Money can be injected at different stages of the start-up growth, from the research activities to building the product and pushing it to the market.

    In my experienced opinion”the later the better” so you have a chance to grow your company value before sharing some of the pie.

    We have been lucky to sell services while building ClicData which has allowed us to remain independent for a while and still pursue our R&D activities, building our software and getting to know our early users.

    At some point, we felt that it was time to go with much more marketing and sales power since the product was getting such great feedback already. And for that, investors were needed. Truth is, jt will always be better to own a smaller part of a very successful company rather than retain maximum control of it and miss the chance to go big.
    Something else that I wanted to share: going through a round of funding felt quite similar to giving birth:

    •           It takes about 9 months.
    •           The First trimester is the happy discovery / first pains:  the challenge of getting noticed and putting together the right Business Plan…not too crazy but ambitious enough for the newcomers to get to dream.
    •           The Second trimester is the best, networking, presenting your plan and ideas, getting feedback to tune the plan and meeting a lot of exciting people and opportunities.
    •           The Third trimester is exhausting and way too long…not because one is getting very heavy but from negotiating the terms of the agreement, getting all parties on the same page and finally closing the deal so that we can start getting back to work.


    Now that we have raised a million dollars we need to make this happen, I would like to share some anecdotes, as a way to show that despite its ups and downs, finding investors is quite the “fun” ride.

    • Raising money sometimes felt like looking for a job, you are never quite sure what the selection criteria really are or what it really takes to get  noticed:

    “I am sorry but your project does not quite fit our current screening criteria”
    “which are???”
    “I will have to check with my manager and get back to you”.

    At the end of the day once the front line has been passed and you get to impress them in person, it comes down to the relationship factor.

    • Team over numbers!

    That was one of the major learning of this experience and that’s lucky because the Business Plan always seemed too ambitious for some  and not enough for others.

    • Of the many presentations we conducted, the most constructive questions we ever got came from the least attentive people

    “So to start with, understand that the future of the company in your hands….” and Investor #1 takes a phone call at the first slide of the presentation and leaves the room

    At the end we received positive feedback from a mix of venture capitalists and business angels, two different approaches and needs, particularity in the amount of Tender Loving Care that they require.

    Business Angels need to feel like they matter, regardless of how much they understand what it takes to put a Cloud application on the market 😉

    Quite the ride anyway,

    Happy Dashboarding!