At least twice a week, I get an email or a LinkedIn message from first-time founders seeking advice. They’re beginning their journey and looking for direction to get their venture going and turn their vision into reality.
In 2016, I was in their shoes. I joined BenchSci as a co-founder and CEO. I was a first-time entrepreneur at this scale. (I had previously co-founded a smaller company in Israel.) I didn’t know what I was doing and had to figure it out.
If you’re in this situation now, I’ll share some practical resources to guide your journey in this post. …
If you never raised funding before, you might think that the most challenging and important part of the process is getting meetings with angels and investors. That’s what I thought when I had to raise money for BenchSci for the first time. I had moved to Canada 15 months prior and had no professional network. Through sheer perseverance, we scored a few investor meetings. After completely tanking those meetings, I realized how wrong I was. Getting the meetings isn’t the hard part. Telling an exciting and compelling story is.
Four years ago, I was fortunate to go through a three-month storytelling boot camp as part of BenchSci’s participation in FounderFuel, a startup accelerator that focuses on storytelling. For three months I pitched to VCs and other successful entrepreneurs on a weekly basis. After that three-month period, I presented BenchSci’s story to a live audience of 1,200 people. …
When fundraising, CEOs get a few common questions from every VC. These questions may seem simple. But if you answer them incorrectly, it can derail your raise. So you need nuanced answers with particular words. During our fundraising at BenchSci, I went as far as memorizing my answers word for word.
Here are the top five questions and my suggested responses:
I got this question at every meeting that went well. Investors want to know how urgently they must act. I always told the truth. I gave the following answers, depending on the situation:
I remember the exact day. It was March 1, 2018. I was about to board my plane back to Toronto after spending three weeks in the Valley area when my phone rang. It was the call every CEO wants to hear: “We want to present you a term sheet to lead your A round.”
I’m not going to lie. While I tried to remain calm, I was ecstatic. I did it! I had promised myself that I wasn’t going home without a term sheet for BenchSci’s series A. …