What are some common misconceptions that startup founders have about getting funded? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Vladimir Novakovski, Founder and angel investor, works at South Park Commons, on Quora:

What are some common misconceptions that startup founders have about getting funded?

There are a lot -- sometimes I am surprised by how smart, technical entrepreneurs who know a lot about products and business models make mistakes when it comes to fundraising. A few things that come to mind:

  • You should consider both upsides and downsides when looking at VCs in your seed round. The upsides are clear but there are other nuances to consider. If a VC is already participating in the seed round and does not lead the Series A, that's a negative signal. The dynamics of how VCs bid for the price of your next round depend on the existing structure of investors. Finally, some VCs want to have too much control and influence early on.
  • Some founders make the mistake of self-funding because they don't want dilution but miss out on all the validation that happens when you talk to investors. There is a middle ground where you can raise small rounds and be selective yet still have conversations with lots of smart people at every stage.
  • Other founders make the mistake of raising too much too soon, often from several VCs, which can cause unnecessary dilution and the issues mentioned above, before there is even true product-market fit. What's the point of raising $2M at a $5M cap if you're going to pivot in 3 months anyway?
  • Finding the right set of investors who have the expertise to help you is important, as well as knowing which investors and advisors to turn to for which things. You probably want to get investors who are also going to be helpful advisors. Conversely, if your strategy is to just take in capital and not ask for much advice, that might work too, but you should have a strong internal understanding as to why.
  • Don't just look each investor as a single entity but rather as the network they bring to the table. For example, say that there is an angel who raised Series A and Series B from Sequioa and had an IPO -- this might be a better person to have in your seed round than even Sequioa themselves.  

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Published on: May 18, 2018