So, despite earlier posts declaring I was going to get my startup launched all on my own, and the self-evident pride I felt in calling my little venture a ‘self-funded startup’, I have decided I need other people’s money.
You see, I work full-time, and do all the work I need for my business at nights and on weekends. But the last few weeks have driven me to the brink of utter burn-out, and I am a trifle ruffled at the thought of continuing at this pace for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, my heart and soul are dedicated to my business, its all I think about, and all I want to do. So its close to torture for me to turn up at work each morning, and pretend to care about someone else’s business. I struggle. I am bored. I feel frustrated. And I feel guilty that I am being paid to work when my mind isn’t really on the job.
I had planned to keep at it for 6 months or so, see if the business had legs before leaving my job, funding it with my own savings, and growing it organically. I was driven largely by greed and pride, I have to admit. Greed in that I thought if I could do it all on my own, I would retain 100% equity and control in my company; and pride, in that I wanted to prove I could do it on my own. So I pushed on, tried to stay focused at work, and tried to work on my business in my spare time.
Then, my boss at my job resigned. I don’t love my job, but I really like working for my boss: he has started, run and sold off three businesses, he is dynamic, smart, and fun to be around. My day was palatable as long as he was around. So when he resigned, my heart and soul sank. The thought of persevering at this job for the forseeable future without him around was inconceivable.
I did a bit of research, and found out about seed capital firms specialising in technology here in Sydney. As previous posts have discussed, the venture capital market in Australia is not as plentiful or risk-willing as in Silicon Valley, and my research validated that. Nevertheless, I found one company that seemed to fit the bill. They had spare capital to invest, had a portfolio of companies that were similar to mine, and seemed to have an investment philosophy that resonated with me. So, I picked up the phone, told them about my business, and they offered to see me in an hour!
I was rather excited! I printed off my business plan and requirement specification, and sped off.
The meeting went well, the investment associate understood my proposition, confirmed it fit well with their portfolio, and saw the benefit it offered. I have to say, after working on this business in one way or another for a year now meant I KNEW my business: its value proposition, its target market, how I wanted to market, how I wanted it to evolve, how much money I needed, etc. Discussing the concept with this investment associate felt comfortable and right.
So, now I am waiting. My concept is being presented to the investors, and I guess they will make a decision as to whether to progress. I am busy visualising them agreeing to invest.
If they do, it will LITERALLY be a dream come true. I can resign from my job, and just work full-time on my business. Of course, I still need to make it successful and profitable, but I feel so much more capable of achieving this if I can dedicate myself fully to the task.
So, please, everyone, wish me luck! Its very presumptuous to assume the first seed capital firm I talk to will want to invest in me, but I don’t have a whole lot of choice here in Sydney, and I have a good feeling about this firm. I’ll keep you all briefed!