You have a great idea. Built a prototype, and now you need funding to get it to the next step. This can be one of the most challenging times that a new company faces. The first round of funding can be the toughest.
"Everyone tells me that I have a great idea, but no one wants to sign a check. We've bootstrapped the operation so far, but we're running out of room. It's so frustrating. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.” Gabrielle is a savant. She knows her technology and product inside out. But, there's a challenge that every entrepreneur faces. Everyone gets excited and likes to do the thing he or she does best. It's easy not to focus on those areas we don't like or don't understand. However, that's what a pitch can go sideways. It's important to fix those gaps before they become deterents from funding. Gabrille's challenge was her go to market strategy. She spend so much time discussing the 'wow' of the technology that the 'how' of launching was gettting lost. Investors tend to care about 3 things: uniqueness, potential, and team. Gabrielle was missing the last part.
How We Helped Gabrielle
Problem: Too Much Tech
When we first met, Gabrielle spent 50 minutes of our 60 minute call describing the technology. I was 'wowed', but after 30 minutes, I began to see the problem. I didn't want to interrupt her flow, so I waited. Then, I asked two simple questions. I asked, "Gabrielle, what's your plan and timetable for launch?". Gabrielle glossed over the question in a way that signally that she wasn't really sure. Then, I asked, "Who's leading that effort?". When I heard her reply, "the team", the problems were clear.
Solution: Understand the Gap
So, here’s what we did. We used a few case studies to demonstrate what investors are looking to see for candidates. Gabrielle is very smart so she saw the issue and was quick to admit there was a gap. This is very common among entrepreneurs. You gravitate to people you know with skills you understand. It can be tough realize your blind spots until someone with an outside perspective points them out to you.
Problem: How to Find It?
Gabrielle was a great designer and coder. Her product was great. What she wasn't was a marketer. Most importantly, she wasn't a digital marketer nor had any experience of leading a commercial launch. She wasn't sure who or what roles she needed so that made it. Understandably, this made her uncomfortable. She wasn't sure where to go or what to look for in a partner
Solution: Fill the Gap
The great news was that Gabrille's product wasn’t the issue. Instead, it was her lack of marketing and launch experience which was really hurting her. Luckily, she had us.
We have extensive background in marketing and our sister company, ProStrategix, could fill-in the gaps. Plus, we also have years of commercization experience from which we could draw to build a robust go to market plan.
We could act as that temporary gap fill, and she could leverage or CV to give her team to boost it needed.
Problem: Roadshow 2.0
Since Gabrielle had already approached investors, she needed a reason to reconnect. She need to share with them what was different, and why they should reconsider.
The great news for Gabrielle was these investors were hungry for what she was developing. They just weren't convinced that she had the right team in place to get the product to market. In addition, once in launched, it would have the right marketing support to maximumize the its upside potential.
Solution: Relief Pitcher
We helped her craft a new outreach e-mail and elevator pitch, which focused less on the technology and more the go to market strategy and year 1 support.
They were intrigued. She set-up the initial calls, and I attended. We were able to overcome their objections on the team. After several meetings, we were able to convince a set of Angels to invest. As part of the agreement, we remained with the team through launch. After which, we agreed with the investors that we would build a succession plan, help recruit and on-board our replacement, and then, exit.
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