Congratulations, you just closed funding! After what was likely a year of pitch meetings to different investors, your fundraising is finally complete. A few fist pumps, a round of drinks, a celebratory toast to the team, and you think the hard part is in the past.
In some ways it is, but in other ways it's just beginning.
Over the last few years, the amount of venture capital invested in startups has significantly increased, with $71.9 billion invested in 2017 alone. It is one thing to sell a vision but it's another to translate that vision into a reality. The pressure from investors after the money has been raised is something that most entrepreneurs aren't prepared for -- meeting milestones, generating revenue, and keeping the company on track presents a whole new set of challenges.
Techstars Ventures, our venture capital arm, has helped countless entrepreneurs through the process of raising money and we've learned that the first 100 days are critical. Here's what we tell entrepreneurs to do even before their funding is closed:
1. Control the news.
Even though the process took what seemed like forever, now that you've raised funding things are going to speed up and have no plans of slowing down, so you'll need to be prepared to act fast. You'll want to be the ones to announce your own news. These announcements often find their way of leaking before you're ready, so to make sure you get the most out of the announcement, try to get ahead of it.
2. Set up regular communication with investors.
It's mission critical to instill confidence in your investors right off the bat. You never want them to question why they saw potential in you from the beginning. Set up a monthly update with your investors where you're able to provide them with continual updates on the company. Make goals for the first 90 days and make sure you're able to meet those goals. By doing this, you're giving your investors a plan of what they can expect from you and it will keep you accountable on your end as well. However, don't rely on your monthly updates alone to communicate with your investors. Be sure to have regular interactions with them, whether it be weekly email updates or hosting a happy hour.
3. Take advantage of your network and mentors.
Now that you have the capital, you'll want to build out your dream team. And by dream team, I mean you'll need to hire the best of the best for your company. Recruitment should be top of mind as now that your company is finally picking up steam. Use your resources. Your network of investors, mentors and board members are your biggest allies as they have the connections you need and want you to succeed just as much as you do. So network, ask for recommendations and build out the team that will make your company even better.
4. Don't let your newfound money burn a hole in your pocket.
After pitching your company to investors for what seems like an eternity, it can be awfully tempting to get a little over eager with all the money you now have your hands on. Not being smart and strategic with your funding can make or break your company. Let all the sleepless nights you sacrificed for this fundraising be a reminder of how conservative you need to be with your finances. Create a detailed plan to calculate all your spending for the next year. This will emphasize to your investors that you are not a risk to them. By building out a plan for your expenses it will also ensure that you're not overspending.