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Monthly Archives

October 2020

VC Minute: Your Target is Too High

By Startups

Let’s talk about the right target amount for your fundraise. 

The amount you’re telling investors you want to raise is too high. 

This is one of the most common pieces of advice I give to founders, and one of the most consistent mistakes that founders make. And it is completely counter-intuitive. You actually want to set your fundraising target slightly lower than what you want to hit.

If you told me you were raising one million dollars and had $400k committed, you’re only 40% of the way there and I have plenty of time to sit on the sidelines. If you told me you’re raising $750k and have $400k committed, now engaged and leaning in. You may fill out the round and if I want to hit my target check size I need to move quick. 

There’s a lot more to this advice than I can squeeze into a two minute segment, but the lesson here is you want to be able to say this magic word to investors: oversubscribed. You get there by having a both a lowball target and high interest. 

Listen to the whole episode here:
Startup of the Year Podcast Episode #0039 – Funding Strategies with Dawn Dickson-Akpoghene of PopCom

On this episode of the Startup of the Year podcast, we talk with Dawn Dickson-Akpoghene, the Founder & CEO of PopCom, which has developed software to make kiosks and vending machines intelligent through data and analytics at the point of purchase. PopCom uses facial recognition, A.I, and blockchain technology to help retailers collect valuable customer insights. We first met Dawn when she participated in the Startup of the Year program with a company called Flat Out of Heels.

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VC Minute: Never Set a Range as Your Target

By Startups

The VC Minute is my segment on the Startup of the Year podcast where I share a quick snippet of advice related to startup fundraising.

Let’s talk about the amount you’re setting out to raise. 

This is top of mind because I saw it multiple times in the last two weeks. When you set out to start a round, you need to set the amount that you’re trying to raise. What you never, ever want to do is make that amount a range. 

If you say, “we’re raising between 1 and 1.5 million,” my next question will be, “well, which is it? Is it 1 million or 1.5 million? That’s a 50% variance!” Making the target a range creates more questions than it answers. And what I’m thinking but not saying is, “this person doesn’t know the amount of money they need, so they don’t even know what they’re going to do with it.” 

Could you spend another half a million dollars? Sure. But that’s not the point. The point is that you have a plan and that plan requires a set amount of money. Show that you have a plan by knowing the right amount of capital you need to to achieve the plan. 

And next time on the VC Minute I’ll share, in that example, whether the right amount is 1 million or 1.5 million. 

Listen to the whole episode here:
Startup of the Year Podcast Episode #0038 Powerful Black Founder Pitch Event – Startup of the Year Podcast

On this special episode of the Startup of the Year podcast, we recap the Startup of the Year online pitch event hosted in September. This pitch event celebrated Black founders and served as a Fast-Track competition for the Top 100 Summit!

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