At Galvanize, we’re putting a whole new spin on Study Hall with monthly, members-only sessions. At every Study Hall, industry all-stars present on one of three topics –– growth, funding, or product –– and collaborate with Galvanizers to spur innovation, solve problems, and harness the power of our dynamic startup community.
The Austin campus had the distinct privilege of welcoming Evan Baehr, author of Get Backed: Craft Your Story, Build the Perfect Pitch Deck and Launch the Venture of Your Dreams. To advise Austin entrepreneurs, Evan drew from the fundraising experiences of the dozens of founders featured in the book. He also cited best practices from his experiences raising money for Outbox from Peter Thiel and closing his round for Able in a record-worthy 60 days.
To kick off the Study Hall, Evan asked each member to share a bit about their company and specific questions they had in the area of fundraising. With the topics gathered on the whiteboard, he divided them into three categories: equity vs debt investing, finding investors, and crafting your perfect pitch. Finding investors generated the most active conversation, so Evan pulled back the curtain on how to find the investors of your dreams with these four steps:
1. Understand Your Audience/Types of Funding Groups
- VC Firms – Multiple funds that invest using someone else’s money
- Angels – Single fund investing their personal money
- Family Offices – Family controlled investment group
- Caution as these investors are typically less experienced in tech. Ask: “Have they done any deals of the same size, same terms, same industry, same geography?”
2. Define Your Approach
- Bottom Up Approach
- Who do I know, who do I have ties to, previous companies, previous co-workers, friends, mentors, etc.
- Leverage tools like LinkedIn
- Top Down Approach
- What is the overall universe of people writing checks
- Leverage tools like CB insights, Pitchbook, and Crunchbase
3. Organize Your Funding Process Like Your Sales Process
- Treat potential investors like your customers with as much aggression and focus as the sales cycle.
- Determine: Product Market Fit, Funnel, Qualify, Pitch Close
4. Monitor Your Engagement and Be Genuine
- Log all conversations leveraging tools like Evergreen, Contactually, or another CRM Tool to stay in frequent communication
- Avoid canned emails. Add something personal about the investor to show you’ve taken your time to do the research.
With these four steps in mind, Evan’s top tip was to get out and meet investors before you need the money. One trick he used was reaching out to potential investors a couple months before raising his round. Through a quick email with the subject line “Not fundraising – 20 minutes of your time” he secured calls with over a dozen of his goal investors. When he met with them while raising his round, he was able to recall their feedback and highlight how he incorporated it into the current strategy. Now that’s something that will set you from the herd!
Many attendees saw immense value in these steps and were eager to incorporate them into their current investor strategy. From early-stage entrepreneurs to established founders, Galvanize Members at every stage of their careers will benefit from the insights shared at our Study Halls.