The Emotional Stages Of Startup Fundraising

Enjoy The Work blog post. The Emotional Stages Of Startup Fundraising.

At ETW Advisors, we advise A LOT of startups fundraises. Not surprisingly, first-time founders often have the same questions for us. One of them was recently posted on Quora, and we chose to take a slightly more playful approach to the answer. Enjoy.

“What are the different stages of startup funding?”

Others have answered this question in the more traditional manner (friends/family, pre-seed, seed, Series A, etc.), so I won’t re-cover that ground here. Instead, let’s discuss the emotional stages (of the 1st time entrepreneur).

“I’m going to kill it” —  optimism reigns supreme. We’ve read Techcrunch articles of $30M rounds for squeezed juice… This is going to be great.

“I’m ready to kill them” —  1st couple of dozen pitches, zero term sheets, suspect reasoning, repeated ghosting. I’m a misunderstood artist surrounded by plebeians.

“Someone kill me” —  50 investor meetings later, I’m nauseated by questions that once inspired me. What’s the problem we solve? What’s the market size? What’s our unique differentiator? Euthanasia feels preferable to one more evaluation of our per-unit economics.

“Kill or be killed” —  It’s a war of attrition. One more pitch. One more passionate plea. One more partner meeting. One more round of diligence. The only way to fail is to quit.

“I killed it!” —  Let the bragging begin. Techcrunch can suck it. Total amnesia regarding the 100+ meetings, 7 months, 18 lbs lost, two bleeding ulcers, and at least 1 failed relationship. All hail the holy term sheet.

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