Concerned you might be not lean if you raise funding? That’s actually a pretty common myth related to the Lean Startup approach.
Let me ask you this.
Have you ever received a “recycled” present?
While it’s clearly new, it doesn’t actually match your interests. In fact, you know that the giver received that present from someone else a few months earlier. It’s likely, therefore, that they never opened it, and just gave it to you.
That’s similar to the day-to-day experience of a tech startup investor. I actually worked at a VC fund in the past. More on that in future emails. Download a free chapter of Launch Tomorrow to get in on the action.
Many times a day, VCs get pitched equity in a tech startup. The founders don’t want the equity. They prefer cash. This immediately reduces the equity’s perceived value, in the VC’s eyes. In some cases, screams desperation. If the founders, who have lots of equity they got somewhere else, are willing to give it away…what does it say about the company’s value? About its prospects? About what the founders believe about the company?
A common question that I get from people first looking at tech startups is why tech startups need so much money. After all, it shouldn’t cost that much to throw a product prototype together. Isn’t it all just self-serving hype?
There are five strategic reasons to raise money in the tech startup world:
- Funding customer acquisition
- Hiring top talent
- The “land grab”
- The “pre-emptive strike”
- The cash flow shortfall
So, starting from the top.
In all but a handful of businesses, if you can’t buy customers, you don’t have a business. Sometimes an idea takes off and goes viral. For the mere mortals out there, though, you need to figure out how to acquire customers and serve them profitably. Paid advertising, in particular, has a bad name because it’s easy to misuse with other people’s money. It’s easy to fool yourself and others that something is happening, unless if you know what you’re doing.
Admittedly, most investors aren’t keen on providing money just to acquire customers, unless if you have already proven you can do this. Turn $1 into $4. Or $40. A marketing expense can reliably generate profit.