I haven’t had so much time to write blogs lately because
I’ve had a couple of major life events happen and happening. One is that I got
married, which I wrote about here. The other is that I’ve been raising startup
funds for AvecMode, the most significant professional undertaking I’ve ever
Not to take anything away from how special getting married
has been, but the two events have been eerily similar for three reasons:
1. The dating process.
Finding investors has been a very
interesting process. People ask me how I started finding investors, and it’s
actually very similar to how you find a girlfriend or boyfriend. You start with
your friends and personal network. Chances are, like a future lover, your
investors may be friends of friends. You may meet them in a bar, either for a
tech meetup or a happy hour.
This is not to say that every
friend of a friend is a good match. That’s far from reality. In fact, what ends
up happening is that most of those friends of friends are simply willing to go
on a date with you. They may already have, in the back of their head, a reason
not to spend any more time with you (or invest). But at least you got the date.
Being open to a relationship is
just as important as creating opportunities to meeting new people. The same is
true for investors. Once you start talking, you quickly begin to learn what
that person is into, what they’re looking for and whether or not it’ll be a
good fit. Some people date for years before getting married, others date for
months. Star and I dated for four months.
2. You know when you know.
That last sentence goes to show that the
saying that “you know when you know” is really true. In the first three minutes
of talking to a potential investor on the phone or having an in-person meeting,
I can usually tell if it’s going to go further than that. It’s more difficult
to know if you’re going to go all the way; if you’ll get an investor…but you
know if they’re genuinely interested. The most honest investors, like honest
people you may date, are up front after an initial conversation/date about
I have been very disappointed in people
who’ve strung me along, and gained more respect for the people who were more
up-front. Rejection is something I can take if I feel like it’s coming from a
good place and that the person gave me a fair shot. If they didn’t give me a
fair shot, I make sure to remember it like remembering a bad girlfriend and how
they did you wrong. You may forgive, but you never forget. Spite is a great
source of motivation, at least short-term.
3. It’s never perfect at the start.
Long-term, however, your motivation has to
be to have sustainable, repeatable success for all the right reasons. Some
people start businesses to make lots of money. For me, and my business partner
Jon, I think we’re in it to solve a real problem that we perceive which we
believe will lead to money if we execute our business plan properly. That means
we have to be entering this relationship, we have to want to date (and seek
investors), for the right reasons.
For us, it’s all about finding people who
share our vision and are willing to acknowledge that not everything is perfect
simply because we agreed to get in bed with one another. Sometimes the business
plan needs to pivot, maybe an assumption was off or a new revenue stream opened
up. The best relationships, like investors, have a lot of dialogue,
understanding and a hell of a lot of faith and trust in the abilities of the people
I’ve been raising money for AvecMode
because we believe the right investors will help Jon and I take this business
to the next level, with hyper-growth trajectory. You often hear people say that
their husbands or wives are their other halves. Star is just that for me; she’s
the woman that God gave me to take me to the next level as a human being.
These major life events take faith, patience, respect, and trust.
I know that’s a lot to ask for so I’ve been doing a lot of talking with God to
make sure my head’s in the right place and I’m making the decisions I’m making
for all the right reasons. There’s a lot at stake for me personally and
professionally, with the most important people in my life counting on me.