Ben Hron of McCarter & English invited me to speak at a workshop yesterday on “Perfecting Your Fundraising Pitch.” I’ve written a blog series on “how to raise venture capital money,” and it’s a topic about which I’ve presented many times before.
But, this time, it was different.
As I walked over to the Cambridge Innovation Center, I decided instead to get very personal and share what it was like to raise a new venture capital fund for a new firm while alone. I shared some anecdotes from that journey and what got me through it.
You see, there certainly are the “mechanics” of fundraising: how to get the meeting, what to do when you meet a VC for the 1st time, etc. But, I think the secret to fundraising boils down to intangibles, such as, how you deal with excruciating stress from repeated rejection and how do you actually instead try to accept, and in fact, rejoice, when you are rejected.
For real. The good news about rejection when you’re fundraising is that you won’t waste time on that account again. Rather than working hard to turn a “maybe” into a “yes,” you instead can focus on finding new prospects who might be more likely to get to “yes.”
I stayed around afterwards to chat with anyone who wanted to spend time, and what I learned from this event is this: by being raw, honest and revealing, it made for a much better gathering, at least for me.
I think I’m a better VC now that I’ve gone through my own personal fundraising experience by myself. It truly was a humbling experience, and it affirmed in me the belief that every entrepreneur should be treated with honesty and respect.
I know I appreciated it when prospective investors did the same for me.