I had coffee with a local service provider last week. I am always up for meeting new people and it was the first time we had met.
Our conversation went really well, but he mentioned he was very disappointed one of our portfolio companies didn't invite him in to pitch when they were selecting someone that offered a similar service.
While I always respect someone that wants to grow their business, I was a little surprised to hear his disappointment. After all, other similar providers have surrounded the company for years and invested a ton of time building up that trusted relationship with the management team and board.
So, when I sat there last week, I realized we were meeting because it was reactive to what had happened (him not getting a shot). The others that were proactive and given our company attention over the years were the ones that were given the chance to compete. Of course we selected one of them.
So when growing your business are you proactive or reactive?
We invited some local tech founders over to our office Wednesday night to meet Scott Kupor Managing Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. We have been close with Scott since before he joined Andreessen Horowitz. We thought this would be a good chance for folks to have an informal conversation with him in a small group setting while he was in town.
One entreprenuer asked Scott what North Carolina needed to do to improve. Another founder immediately responded that the region needs more capital. It was not a very popular comment but I challenged that. Do we need more capital here? Or do we need more passionate founders. More risk takers. My take is that is what we need.
But duh, if you have more entrepreneurs, don't you need more capital to fund them? Yes! And here is my answer to that.
1. There is more angel capital in this market than any point I have seen of being a VC. This comes in the form of angel groups and a lot of individuals.
2. Once a company gets some decent (doesn't have to be revenue) traction, there are out of state VCs really interested in writing checks here. In fact, I count five venture investors that have written a check to a NC-based company for their first time in the last 6 months alone! So capital is very mobile.
So, what's your take on this? Do we need more capital? More entrepreneurs? Or what else is missing?
I referenced WedPics' CEO/founder Justin Miller in my last blog post. He sends a monthly email to us. His emails serve 2 purposes:
1) Keeps Justin and WedPics top of mind
2) Shows off his continued success as he thinks about his next round
Here is the email Justin just sent us and with Justin's permission, I am sharing it here.I like that it is short, easy to read and to the point. This is a good strategy and format to follow.
Although Justin said it was ok, I removed all the numbers from his email.
Raising capital from investors can be a long, tough and often an incredibly frustrating process. Entrepreneurs often ask us for help (even when we're not in their company). I thought I would share my email I just sent in response to a local entrepreneur with their request for help. My hope is that it helps other entrepreneurs. Feel free to post here with your other ideas.