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Funding Do's & Don'ts


To do, or not to do...

Fundraising dos, don’ts and top tips

Fundraising is something you have to grit your teeth and get on with.

So if you’re about to plan your fundraising journey, here are four top tips to make the process as pain-free as possible.


Tip 1: Build a good business

The easiest way to get funding? Build a business that investors will be falling over themselves to be a part of.

VCs often have a set of secret red flags that will tell them if your startup is likely to fail. Some of the warning signs that your business is likely to crash and burn include:

  • Your overheads are too high

  • You rely more on paid advertising than organic means of growth

  • You claim you have no competition

  • You don’t have enough experience

  • You have another job – nobody likes a part-time founder

If you think you have any significant weaknesses, get them sorted before you start pitching for money.

And of course, it goes without saying, don’t get so distracted by fundraising that you forget to look after your company.


Tip 2: Create and deliver a good pitch deck

I’ve seen a lot of great pitch decks in my time. I’ve also seen a lot of bad ones. While death by PowerPoint may not be a real thing, boredom by PowerPoint definitely is.

A solid, well-thought-out pitch deck can be the difference between getting that all-important meeting and getting a hard pass.

I won’t go into too much detail here, but if you want to know more, I’ve put together several playbooks about managing the pitch deck creation process.

There is a definite skill to writing pitch decks, but once you know the basics, you’ll be one step closer to getting that investment.


Tip 3: Trust the process

Fundraising is always a lot harder than you think it will be. You need to start early, a lot of people will need to get involved, and you’ll likely be working 15-hour days for several months.

Sleep? Pfft. What’s that?

However, the more flexible and focused you can be, the better.

Whether you’re new to the fundraising game or need an extra boost to get you through, here are some handy pointers.

Keep your communication channels open, delegate tasks to your team and get a good lawyer with experience in negotiation.

And remember… if you end any discussion with friends by saying, ‘let’s take this offline,’ it might be a sign that you need to take a break from fundraising. Just for a little bit.


Tip 4: Build an investible business case

Step one: Write a business case

Step two: Follow the business case

Step three: Success

In my experience, the scaleups that don’t have a good business case in place don’t get very far.

A business case will help you understand how much money you need from the get-go.

Not sure where to start. Don’t worry, I’ve got you:

Whew, we’ve covered a lot of ground here.

Check out the links above for more information, and if you need any additional support or coaching, I’m here to help.


Comprehensive set of top tips from entrepreneurs and experience VCs on every aspect of start-up fundraising. From Jonathan Bullock, ex Google Chief of staff & SoftBank COO

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