Raising Capital — A Guide from the School of Hard Knocks

Exploding the myths behind raising money, doing it yourself, and keeping it legal

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A few years ago a business partner and I sat around an elegant boardroom table having against all odds landed a meeting with a top-flight venture capital firm. We were there to persuade the two smartly dressed gentlemen to invest in our latest startup. From memory, it was a small bar chain. The meeting was in full flow when I kicked my partner under the table. He smiled at me and we both asked to be excused from the room for a moment.

‘We can do this ourselves,’ I told my business partner. We had attended numerous meetings up until that point pitching disinterested venture capitalists to invest a few million dollars into our ‘hot’ new startup. We had so far received zero interest.

‘This is like being interviewed for a job at McDonald’s. It is demeaning. I am doing all I can to stop myself leaning over the table and punching these morons in the face!’ I complained.

‘I totally agree!’ He replied.

‘Then let’s blow these guys off and do it ourselves.’ And that is precisely what we did. From that moment on, we vowed never to darken the doors of another VC again. In the future, if they wanted to invest in one of our projects they would have to come and see us and invest on our terms. We were now in the business of launching and funding startups.

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