Entrepreneur Commons

Why entrepreneurs should join

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You are an entrepreneur, and you need seed funding:
  • VCs are not going to help (unless you already belong to their club)

  • Angels are not going to help

  • The whole "looking for funding" process is pushing you in the wrong direction

  • The Entrepreneur Commons gives you the right option: help from peers and money

Here are a few things you should know if you decide to go the classic investor route:

Looking for funds outside of the friends and family circle is pro-active selling: you will be talking to people who do not know you from the day before, and you will have to convince them that they should buy equity in your company. Just this simple statement raises a lot of flags:

  • You will waste time and energy: selling equity is still selling, and it involves a sales cycle. The bad news is that time is not on your side, but on the investor side. The more they wait, the more progress you will make (assuming you still take time to move the business forward while talking to investors). And the more they wait, the more you need the money, so the investor's game is to find the best time to move in, when you are getting close to the end of your cash while still being a very good option as an investment. The more they wait, the better the valuation they will be able to negatiate.

  • You will set yourself up for building the wrong thing at a very high cost: whatever feedback you get during this process of selling to investors is very theoritical, and even if it comes from senior people it does not mean anything as to how the market will receive your product or service. You sell to your investor the story of how you would like to make this happen, and they have influenced your strategy with what they would like to see during the negotiation (directly or indirectly - I have seen many entrepreneurs work their budget to fit funding requirements and get closer to the typical hockey stick they think investors like to see). So assuming that you are one of the lucky one, your product or service is no better than it was before and you still have no idea whether real customers will buy it. You may have gained some cash but how much time and money did you spend to get it, what is the real cost of this money? You clearly spent (lost) time in the process, and the cost of that is the cost of revenue you are not making now because of this delay, which is also the cost of letting this opportunity for competition to move in before you do, and which comes on top of the cost of money itself - whatever the stock you have sold for a given price will be worth when you sell, money that could have been yours.

  • You will increase your risk of failure: once you have the money, you tend to execute on the plan that you sold. And because you have cash, you may decide to build things before going to market, only to discover later on, when you do go to market with these things, that they were the wrong things. So the comfort that cash brings may also lead to further delays and errors.

  • You will increase pressure on yourself and on the business: if you have sold equity, the only way investors are going to be able to cash out is if there is an equity transaction further down the road. So now you have also set a clock on the business, and you know that something needs to happen within the next 5 to 7 years.

So clearly going after VC or Angel is the wrong focus.

If you are going to do pro-active selling, do this with potential customers, and use the little money you have to move in that direction. Be smart about what you spend, leverage your network to get to the right people better faster. This is true for customers but also operations: if you have a good story, you will find people who are happy to help at a discounted or no cost.

This is where the Entrepreneur Commons helps:

  • A social network of entrepreneurs who are (or have been) in the same situation, and will be able to guide you through these difficult times and help you find synergies with others within their own network so that in the end everybody wins.

  • And a fund that gives you a choice: there is now another way to get money for your business without loosing your focus or your soul.

If you want to get involved, check our comminity page to find a local chapter, or contact us