3 Takeaways from raising $1.2M USD during COVID-19 (using WhatsApp alone)
As Henri Jules Louis Marie Rendu once said:
“the best way to learn to swim is to dive”
Undeniably, our first round of seed funding did justice to that quote — albeit being a truly enlightening experience.
Let’s jog back to June 2020 — there we were — a band of entrepreneurs armed with faith, a list of believers (a.k.a. friends and family), and our beloved pitch deck. COVID had struck once again — so physical meetings were off the table. WhatsApp, it had to be. After three months, fast forward to today and here we are — equipped with a sizable 1.2mn dollars, a lean but mean team and three quick takeaways for our fellow “COVID-preneurs”.
Takeaway 1: People who fund companies are busy. Don’t take it to heart; they aren’t ignoring you.
We thought people would reply to our messages. After a few sleepless nights each week, we couldn’t help but wonder whether our idea was a bad one.
After repeatedly mustering up our courage and inundating our advisors with phone chats — we learnt that it was perfectly ok to chase, insist, call, call-again, ask a friend to reach and use several other small persuasive techniques to track our investors without feeling “too” needy. If you believe in it, don’t stop at anything.
Takeaway 2: Your deck (even after trimming all the fat or maybe especially then) will need explaining — especially to people outside of your network.
After almost 20 versions of our pitch — we thought our deck was a perfect one. We ended up having 16 more versions — one new one after each of the first 16 real pitches. Even then, we still had the occasional “I’m glad we spoke, it’s much clearer when you explain it like that!”.
We thought we had a brilliant, creative and disruptive idea…but explaining it quickly (a la elevator pitch, face-mask edition) was still tough after hundreds of conversations.
You’ll see your idea evolve after every single conversation you have with a potential stakeholder. It’s up to you to make the best of their feedback and apply it to refine your pitch little by little.
Takeaway 3: Contrary to what most people do — talk to as many people as you can about your idea. Talking to people will bring you much more than just potential investment.
The conversations we had with investors and advisors brought much more than capital, and this is where we saw the magic happen between pitching and idea regurgitation. The discussions gave us soundboards, new connections, alternative perspectives, tricky questions, questionable doubt and some much-needed emotional support when our morals were low. Well, safe to say — after one month on our journey, we reached our initial target of $750,000 and a couple of weeks later — with some added support, we passed the $1.2 million mark.
It was then time to relax a bit and enjoy a new form of stress: delivery!
A side, but important note:
Our team wants to issue a warm ‘Thank You’ to all our angels and VCs that took the time this summer to listen to us. Thank you for believing in our vision and for giving us a healthy runway to turn it into a reality!