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10 Immortal Lessons from Laozi for Startup Fundraising

Laozi's lessons from more than 2,000 years ago are still completely relevant for startups fundraising today.

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10 Immortal Lessons from Laozi for Startup Fundraising

  1. 1. 10 Immortal Lessons from Laozi for Startup Fundraising
  2. 2. Tytus Michalski, Managing Partner § Cover all areas at Fresco Capital § 17 years cross-border investment experience § 2x entrepreneur, PMA Capital & Fresco Capital 2 Fresco Capital Overview § Early stage global venture fund § 3 Managing Partners, 8 team members, 23 Impact Partners § 48 portfolio companies, 500+ co-investors
  3. 3. Laozi Lesson 1 3 “Let movement go on, and the condition of rest will gradually arise.”
  4. 4. 4 The best fundraising strategy is to ship what customers want (not investors). Startup Translation
  5. 5. Laozi Lesson 2 5 “Constant action overcomes cold; being still overcomes heat.”
  6. 6. 6 If nothing is happening, you need to act, but if you’re too busy, slow down. Startup Translation
  7. 7. Laozi Lesson 3 7 “The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things.”
  8. 8. 8 Getting the first investor in a round is the hardest. After three investors, you have momentum. Startup Translation
  9. 9. Laozi Lesson 4 9 “If you keep feeling a point that has been sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness.”
  10. 10. 10 Don’t overoptimize your fundraising tactics. Startup Translation
  11. 11. Laozi Lesson 5 11 “The soft overcomes the hard; and the weak the strong.”
  12. 12. 12 To improve your fundraising, listen more and talk less. Startup Translation
  13. 13. Laozi Lesson 6 13 “Those who know (the Tao) are not extensively learned; the extensively learned do not know it.”
  14. 14. 14 Stay away from know-it-all investors, focus on those who ask great questions. Startup Translation
  15. 15. Laozi Lesson 7 15 “Sincere words are not fine; fine words are not sincere.”
  16. 16. 16 Straight feedback is more useful than flattery (in both directions). Startup Translation
  17. 17. Laozi Lesson 8 17 “Governing a great state is like cooking small fish.”
  18. 18. 18 Don’t force the fundraising process, find flow. Startup Translation
  19. 19. Laozi Lesson 9 19 “When gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot keep them safe.”
  20. 20. 20 Raising too much money can create more problems than you expect. Startup Translation
  21. 21. Laozi Lesson 10 21 “Words that are strictly true seem to be paradoxical.”
  22. 22. 22 All startup advice is context dependent. Startup Translation
  23. 23. 23 “Misery!—happiness is to be found by its side! Happiness!—misery lurks beneath it!” - Laozi
  24. 24. 24 fresco.vc @tytusm

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