Funding Advice From a Local Startup

Emily Blythe began her first startup at 16 years old. Since then she has run three startups, funding various companies through a combination of friends and friends investment, grants, and angle investment.

Q: Where are you in your fundraising trajectory and how difficult has this process been?

A: We have just completed our first angel investment round, having previously supported the business through family and friends investment alongside grants. The journey so far has been a long one which brings its unique problems with budgets being strained. Our R&D had to slow during the investment round, so we could make the time to answer various questions for stakeholders.

Q: How did you prepare for your first meeting?

A: Our first meeting was a showcase where we had to present to an audience of 900 investors, so it was a little different to your average pitch presentation. To support our pitch we prepared diligence files detailing our IP, hiring plan, financials, team, technology and company strategy. This was an enormous support as many of the files requested by potential investors following our pitch were ready to hand over straight away, keeping everyone engage and moving towards the ultimate goal of funding the business.

Q: What’s the single biggest challenge you’ve faced in your fundraising journey?

A: We had very little experience of the fundraising process and every ‘expert’ we turned to had a different recommendation for how to structure shareholder’s agreements and other key processes.  It took a lot of learning and time to eventually form one that we could be happy with.

Q: What’s been the most helpful solution to your funding challenges? Or are there any choices you wish you had made differently?

A: For us it hasn’t come down to just one solution.  The most important thing I can recommend is to ensure you are totally prepared.  You’ll need:

-A good understanding of who you’re talking to and what you’re looking for in an investor

-Full time commitment to the raising of funds (one employee dedicated but supported by others)

-Completely independent mentors who you trust and have been through the funding process

-Strictly observe document deadlines and ensure plenty of time for internal and external review

Q: If you knew what you know now at the start of your funding journey, what would you do differently?

A: We would have a clearer profile and idea of where we want to get the investment from and how that connects with our long term strategy. Additionally, we would set a strict but realistic deadline for the investment round.  When the funding process takes 6 months, which it can easily, the company funds start getting slim which obviously impacts every part of the business.

Q: Who or what is your inspiration?

A: I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by a team who are just as driven to bring our vision to life. Standing alongside them on this journey is an absolute pleasure and every day I am inspired by their confidence, willingness to try new angles, positive energy, and remarkable ability to keep standing up regardless of what hurdles come their way.