Having observed numerous startup journeys from up close, I have gotten into the habit of providing several important disclaimers to founders I work with. It only seems appropriate to add them here as well.
Disclaimer one is that I have been wrong on numerous occasions, far more than is comfortable to admit out loud. While my ego has undoubtedly suffered from this rather painful realization, it is nonetheless a useful reminder that everyone reading the Fundraising Lore or working with me should keep in mind. Take everything with a grain of salt and make up your own mind!
Disclaimer two is that there are many paths to success. In my opinion, the Fundraising Lore spells out the “classic” approach to early-stage venture capital fundraising in Silicon Valley. But for every best practice I mention, an inquisitive reader or an experienced student of startups will definitely be able to find exceptions. Such is the nature of the rather niche startup game - it is all about unique circumstances and competitive advantages mixed in with a solid dose of good old-fashioned luck. Instead of trying to describe every possible edge case, the Fundraising Lore aims to outline a coherent fundraising strategy assuming no special advantages other than grit. Use whatever makes sense to you and lean on your strengths to create your own flavor of the fundraising strategy outlined here.
Disclaimer three is that anything I discuss with founders stays confidential unless agreed otherwise. This obviously doesn’t apply to a written text such as the Fundraising Lore, but I am including it here to satisfy my OCD. And who knows - perhaps I cross paths with founders who read the Fundraising Lore and then this disclaimer serves as a useful foundation for a working relationship.
These three disclaimers notwithstanding, I firmly believe in the framework described in the Fundraising Lore - both because I have applied it successfully as well as because I have seen it executed numerous times. The best practices described here are best practices for a reason - namely, this stuff works, where “works” is defined as maximizing the probability of closing venture capital financing for qualified startups, as long as the founders are willing to put in the time and work required.