Discover more from Building Blochs by Michael Bloch
How to Raise Your Pre-Seed Round
There's a lot of advice out there about how to raise your first round of funding. I've raised $7M from top-tier VCs and learned the hard way that a lot of it isn't true. Here's my advice.
There is a lot of advice out there about how to raise your very first round of funding. I've raised $7M from top tier VCs and learned the hard way that a lot of the common wisdom at the earliest stage isn't true. Here's my advice on how to fundraise pre-launch.
FALLACY #1 - Talk to VC firms first
MY ADVICE: Get angels & operators onboard, then go to VCs
You only get one chance at a first impression. Angels (particularly other founders & operators) add legitimacy and open doors. VCs will pay more attention with these people onboard.
Not sure where to start? Go through Crunchbase, AngelList, and fundraising announcements of companies in your space. Look through sources like First Round's Angel Track and Conduit. Comb through Linkedin. Add everyone you think might add value to your target list. Then reach out
FALLACY #2 - You need warm introductions
MY ADVICE: This is great if you have them, but most people don't. Save time and go direct In most cases intros take time to get. They require coordination. There's no guarantee the other person will describe your business the right way
Speed is (always) of the essence. It's better to email yourself vs. waiting days for an intro to materialize. Craft a compelling narrative and clearly explain why they should pay attention and want to learn more. Here's an example of what I sent in the early days:
FALLACY #3 - all early-stage VCs invest at the earliest stage. "No idea is too early!" they say. That's BS
MY ADVICE: find investors that think independently & from first principles, can develop their own conviction, and will invest in pre-launch ideas, not just proven businesses. You'd be surprised how many VCs are afraid of taking risks. Many will talk publicly about how no idea is too early or too crazy. Then they'll ask for data no pre-launch startup has, drag their feet, and ghost you. Once you get a big name onboard, they reappear and ask to come in
Overall, it's hard for founders to know who actually invests pre-launch since "early-stage" can encompass everything from just a founder + an idea to companies with proven PMF and millions in ARR. If you're a founder that wants advice on specific people / firms, feel free to DM!