Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Funding Your Startup

Source: Douglas Magazine
Author: Erin Skillen

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Funding Your Startup

Seeking startup investment could be a real nail-biter, as our writer knows from personal experience. Here she shares what not to do.

Once upon a time, I was a startup founder with a dream to create a socially conscious gaming company that would inspire kids to make the world a better place. Our first game would be a business simulation where kids would create a skateboard company focused on the triple bottom line  — people, planet and profit. I’d find investors who believed in my vision and they would provide the investment to make it happen.

Hard “NOPE” on that one. I did get interest — and I did come close to raising money more than once — but, ultimately, I got nothing. Well, nothing financial anyway. But I did learn some powerful lessons from my mistakes.

Mistake 1: Being Unknown

I spent the first 15 or so years of my career working with film-related organizations and then as the VP/co-owner of a production company. I got to produce, direct, write and even host documentaries that were meaningful to me. When the industry shifted away from documentary to reality TV, I decided to shift too. I moved into the tech sector and reinvented my career. I knew very few people in the industry and had to hustle to establish myself.

As time went on, I did build a team of co-founders and mentors, but I was still relatively unknown, with zero gaming experience.

What I really needed was a champion who was well known in the investment community and willing to put their own money behind me, while encouraging others to do the same. I didn’t have that. Other deals available at the time had players who were better known, with the right champions behind them to lead their round. I had lots of supporters, but few people willing to put their skin in the game.

Mistake 2: Being Overly familiar... [Click here to continue reading]