• Women 2.0 HowTo Conference San Francisco, September 30 - October 1, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of First Time Fundraising

theskimm

Two co-founders who recently raised their first round share the ups and downs of the process.

By Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg (Co-founders, theSkimm)

Last week, we announced that we had raised a round of funding. We could not be happier about who our partners are and what is to come. We have been in full hiring mode since the announcement but have had time to reflect on the fundraising process. Our next few posts will cover different parts of the raising process but here are some initial thoughts.

Things We Learned

Fundraising is hard.

Fundraising is really hard when it’s your first time doing it.

Fundraising is a lot like dating. It’s really fun to talk about the good ol’ days once you’re settled down in a relationship. Going through it, however, can be miserable

We went into the process admittedly naive. We thought we’d show investors the email. Some nice press articles. Give them a Skimm T. They’d fall in love. Money would be in the bank in three weeks. We’d all have a glass of champagne.

That is not how it went.

The process was long, stressful, and brought about the first tears in Skimm HQ ever. But it was necessary and transformative. Being able to pitch our company to someone else forced us to rearticulate, redefine, and sharpen our vision for theSkimm. It turned us into better co-founders and co-CEOs. It brought us focus, tougher skin, and made us so excited for what we could get done with the right partners and funds.

Things That Are Great About Fundraising

You focus

You meet so many new people. We have developed such an incredible network of mentors through the process and never would have met them had we not been out there

You get more excited than you ever thought you could be about your company

It is very surreal to talk about more money than you ever imagined seeing in your bank account

Things That Are Not Great About Fundraising

It’s awkward asking people for money and doesn’t get less awkward over time

People can be rude and condescending…especially during your first time

You are giving up ownership in your company

It’s very hard not to take things personally

You say your pitch so many times that you sometimes blurt it out while ordering dinner

Things We Are Happy We’ll Never Hear Again

“Is this your first time raising money?”

“Have you even thought about your business plan yet?”

“Do you two hate each other yet?”

“Who did you pay to put your deck together?”

“Who’s doing the raise for you?”

“Do you just do this on the side and have day jobs?”

New Entrepreneur Lesson of the Day: Fundraising is hard and it’s very tempting to hire people to help you. But it’s extremely valuable to do it yourself. It’s your company. Make it happen.

You can sign up for theSkimm here.

This post originally appeared on theSkimm Tumblr. 

Share your own fundraising lessons learned below.

IMG_4535_croppedAbout the bloggers: theSkimm was co-founded in 2012 by Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin. Danielle was an associate producer for MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and previously worked for NBC’s “Nightly News.” Carly was an associate producer for NBC’s Peacock Productions. Prior to that she worked on MSNBC documentaries.