Cold-calling hundreds of investors for months with no result? We've all been there. Steven Charlap shared an unconventional way of breaking through this. He used it to raise $2M from value-add investors.
Steven is building SOAP Health, an AI medical assistant. Imagine talking to a physician from your home, but it's an intelligent 3D avatar. SOAP’s team mission is to save the lives of millions of people they will never meet.
- Company name: SOAP Health
- Round size: $2,000,000
- Stage: Seed
- Date: September 2022
How long did it take you to raise the round?
Took a very novel approach. Recruited senior executives who were required to invest as part of joining the company and the Board. That led to VC and major angel interest.
How many investors did you talk to?
Spoke to over 150 investors over the past 2+ years. All basically cold-called. All a waste of time. Needed to build out management team to get interest despite previous startup success and exit.
What tools did you use?
LinkedIn to meet the senior executives.
What was the hardest thing in your fundraising?
Figuring it out entirely on my own until I had partners who were invested and vested.
Fundraising advice/hacks for founders?
Don’t even see the box. Boxes constrain thinking even by just imagining them. Any approach that works - works. Conventional wisdom is often biased, and often just the personal experience of someone or just people repeating what they heard.
Refine your pitch until it tells a powerful story. Grab attention from the get go. Say something extreme, but not crazy.
Solve a problem the audience can relate to if they are your customers or investors. Remember though, investors are primarily interested in making money, not saving the world. Don’t waste time on investors until you’ve got something compelling, and remember, investments come with strings attached that can sometimes choke you. So avoid investment until it’s absolutely needed and if you have choices, do due diligence on your investors.
Try to learn from every no, but take them with a grain of salt unless you hear the same reason repeatedly. Then develop a cogent response to that criticism and incorporate it into your pitch.
VC money is not validation. Only customers can validate your go to market.
That was an indeed unusual way of raising money. Thanks for reading!
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P.S: Steven contacted 100+ investors. If you're fundraising, Shizune can find the most active investors in your industry and stage in <30 seconds.
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