At Movi we have been building this amazing solution for several years now. We took some initial steps towards Go-To-Market activities already back in 2018, but during spring/summer 2019 we started planning & properly building our commercial & sales efforts. And from summer 2019 the results have been very good, especially taking into account our limited resources. Based on the work done 2019, our sales funnel looks very good & forms a solid basis to be very optimistic about the future.
To keep that momentum going, and speeding up, we have been working on raising our Pre-Series A funding round, which will enable us scaling our sales & delivery operations to the level we can credibly aim for the global markets & extend our live customer base from the current 8 closed deals to about 30 by end of the year. While making sure they all are happy customers too.
We started the funding process well before Slush, analyzing & shortlisting potential VCs & lining up meetings during & after Slush. While Slush itself is a fantastic opportunity to meet with a large number of potential investors, it is anyway far from perfect setting to discuss anything in detail. More like speed dating for two days & back home figuring out what happened and what next. And with whom… No wonder the Slush matchmaking tool has started to resemble Tinder!
Finding a VC with the best fit between your start up and the VC is an art-form of its own: it is not enough just to find the ones which make investments to the line of business you are in. Optimally the VC(s) should also add other value than just money: networking with potential new partners, customers and influencers: bring in more business. And help growing the team & the business to the next level as an active contributor. Sounds straightforward, but in practice not that simple to figure out which combination would work best for your venture.
So just like in sales, it’s a numbers game: you need a big pipeline you work on towards closing the deal with selected few. You also need to make use of each engagement with a VC, potential investor for you or not: it’s always an opportunity to learn from them so that you will be better equipped once you meet with the chosen one(s).
When you find the ones you really want to work with, you have to really make sure that this is right for you, your team and your vision for the company’s future. Remember -you will practically marry your company to this investor for the lifetime of the company in especially early stages of your company: after the honeymoon is over, you just must have the fit to carry you forward to the next level with your venture.
Most of the time, this just requires allocating time for focused work together with the people involved. At this stage you should be very honest about how this makes you sure of a good fit, or if not - walk away.
It’s all about the people
Raising financing in any stage is also a team effort. No investor invests in a single person - they invest in functional teams, on a mission they’re deeply connected with and exceptionally experienced for making reality. This also extends outside of the founding team and senior management.
Activating the people around you and your company will greatly increase your chances of closing a deal with your most attractive investor. You’ll find your extended team in your board of directors, your advisors, your customers and also industry experts you’ve been able to form a relationship with while building your company.
So, at the end of the day everything is based on people chemistry, the fit: you just need to see eye to eye with the people, have good communication, agree on the common targets and direction. So obviously we have been meeting quite a bunch of people from all corners of the world (well, more from certain corners than others) looking for the right set up for Movi.
And naturally your startup needs to fit into the right maturity level for the VC: angel, pre-seed/seed, Series A etc.
So, there are many moving particles you have to get aligned and many unknowns before you actually meet with the people and be able to start putting all those pieces together in practice.
Deals, deals, deals
As we are working on the pre-series A funding, it has meant our focus with VCs has been in our commercial traction & commercial results from the live deals: show the impact. And with the funding to be raised now we must be able to maximize our commercial results in order to be able to raise what is needed (if needed) through Series A. After all, we would love to minimize the need for external funding, but in our line of business, cannot survive completely without it.