Tips for Entrepreneurs Preparing to Raise Their First Series A Round

fundingQ: What is one piece of advice you’d give a fellow founder preparing to raise a Series A round for the first time?

A: Get warm introductions. “Make sure you’re getting your network to warm up your introductions. It makes a world of difference. I think it’s really important to be systematic about identifying the firm that you’re interested in (by checking out their portfolio) and then finding the right partner at that firm. After, find a way to warm up to that partner.” Luke Skurman,

Be pitch perfect. “While knowing your numbers inside and out (as well as proving your concept prior to pitching) is absolutely crucial, you must develop a pitch that ‘sells the shave not the razor.’ This means a succinct, well-considered presentation that appeals to multiple personalities. Investing in professionals to design your PowerPoint is also an excellent idea (i.e. copywriting, logo, branding, etc.)” Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

Keep those Google alerts coming. “Market trends change almost every three days, and the equity that might not have been available for you last week might just materialize this week based on this fact. Do not be the founder who is unaware of new competitors (and their arson) duking it out for the same market — that’s perhaps the saddest way to go out. When you’re preparing to make your pitch, you can never be too informed!” Cody McLain, SupportNinja

Remember that it’s not only about money. “When we raised our first large round of capital, we wanted someone from the U.S. with deep connections and experience building e-commerce, global travel businesses and, in particular, emerging technology markets like the Middle East, Asia and Africa. We realized it’s not all about money when we were trying to secure as much capital as possible.” Obinna Ekezie,

Choose investors wisely. “Before raising a Series A, ask yourself if this is the right path for your company. Remember that money is a commodity and you can get it anywhere. When you sign your Series A, you are committing to investors for the long term. Make sure that you check references from previous investments they’ve made and ensure your objectives for the business are aligned.” Arian Radmand, CoachUp

Remember that metrics are more important than vision. “First, accept that raising a Series A round is going to be significantly harder than raising an angel round, no matter how easy (or hard) that was. Second, practice your pitch relentlessly and discuss strategy with other founders or friendly investors. Third, recognize that angel rounds are raised on vision while Series A rounds are raised on solid business fundamentals and metrics.” Joseph Walla, HelloSign

Analytically build confidence. “Your investments are sound if your idea or product is cutting-edge, useful and fluid. Analytically building your own confidence in your business will minimize risks and exemplify your strengths and strategies.” Alexis Levine, Savvy Media

Be prepared for a reality check. “Because it’s easier than ever to get seed money nowadays, that makes getting Series A funding harder. If the amount of Series A funding hasn’t increased industry-wide, but more companies are getting seed funding, then there’s more competition for smaller slices of the pie. Don’t be surprised when friendly interest turns into hard interrogations about your metrics and value.” Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent

Know your weaknesses. “No company is perfect. In a seed stage, you can assume that many of the finer details of your company will simply be passed over. Don’t bank on that. Habitually create backup slides, and be your own harshest critic. Nothing is more attractive in a founder than self-awareness.” Slater Victoroff, Indico

Get your books in order. “Nothing will torpedo a deal faster than poor accounting practices. You can do everything else right, but if your financials aren’t in shape, no reputable investor will want to put money into your company. Make sure you have a good accounting firm prepare your financials and taxes and that everything is up-to-date when it comes to tax payments.” Sathvik Tantry, FormSwift

(Source: TCA)