We’re happy to announce our initial funding from TechColumbus (full press release). It’s truly a great moment that’s helping make browser customizations a more available marketing tool. As a quick reflection, and for the benefit of other startups working toward their funding, here are three unexpected lessons learned from this process.
1. Coach-ability – Our investors wanted us to listen more than we talked. From the Entrepreneurs in Residence to the investment advisors, they all stated they looked for entrepreneurs that could take advice. Too many startups ask for advice, but then refuse or ignore it. They want to help you succeed. And early on, they look for that willingness to accept the help.
2. The Story in 10 Minutes or Less – It’s got to be a refined story, and that happens over a lot of lunches and phone calls. It starts with close friends and family, evolves to the professional network and gets polished with the investors. Ten minutes is the most time we had in a formal presentation. It forced us to be clear and concise – and ultimately, it worked.
3. Validation – It takes a lot of thick skin to keep the drive to build an unproven and unknown product – and there are moments the confidence wanes. This initial investment is concrete proof that others see the potential of our idea. Now, we not only have funds in the bank to build the product, we’ve received an emotional deposit that’s fueling our energy and spirits. Coming into this, we didn’t realize the importance of the psychological victories.