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• What does a Series A mean? It is your first round with professional investors, with true financial targets and commitments.
• How to get from seed to A: deliver an MVP, build out your team and get customer traction
o MVP: the core of your business to prove the business
o Committed team: working together full-time and covering the key bases of the business
o Product/Market Fit: proving that you have built something that target clients will pay at a commercially viable rate
• When do you need Series A
o When you have proved the above
o 3-6 months before you need the money
o When you need to get to the next level
• Investors matter
o Money isn’t money... remember that you will be in a close relationship with these investors for years! They should be a resource to help grow your business. They should be people that you would really like to work with!
o They will generally follow-up in subsequent funding rounds and will have influence over your future equity
• Start early- start to casually network and pitch 3-6 months ahead of time. Investors will want loads of data, but try not to let it distract you from running your business (consider doing this ahead of time or appointing someone to focus on this)
• Build a relationship- have trust for the road ahead & understand their firm (their investment thesis)
• When pitching, be UNIQUE and put the vision in context of your competitors
• Agree on milestones with your investors early. This is important to align the vision of success and motivate the team. Less direct milestones might be of equal importance. Examples can include: user conversion/engagement rates, team & product development.
• You have series A- now what?
o Know your runway- how much time do you have before you need to fundraise?
o Start investing to grow the business
o Communicate the milestones that you agreed with your investors with your team
Set a communication schedule and keep to it
o Think about your own role (will you be the person who will lead the company into series B and beyond, or should you start specializing?)
o In your board meetings, use it as a working session to problem solve and automate your data so that you don’t spend too much time generating data just before the meeting
• After Series A, B/C is for expansion and team building, C/D/later is growth including expanding to new locales, product lines, etc.