Argyle isn't my first start-up, but it is my first time as a founder and my first time as the CEO. And Argyle's $325k seed round was my first time raising money. So here are a few quick thoughts from the process from the perspective of a first-timer:
Raising money takes forever. Not sure what I expected, but I expected things to move more quickly. Patience has never been a strong suit for me...
Product matters...but not that much. As much as Adam and I love to dote on our product, most of the people that we pitched just assumed that it worked and didn't really want to spend much time talking about the little details of our app. As conversations progressed, we obviously spent more time talking about product strategy. But the first conversations were all about market problems.
Paint a big picture. Per the previous nugget, the more high-level, big-vision our pitch, the more receptive/interested the prospective investor. The more we focused on the nitty little details of our product that we love so much, the more blank stares we got.
Optimization is expensive. I think we spent too much time negotiating terms that aren't incredibly important and it cost us both in terms of time and legal fees. We got all of the big ticket terms squared away pretty quickly, so it was frustrating to spend another couple weeks cleaning up lots of little stuff. Live and learn - I know better for the next time around.
Raising money isn't a milestone, it is a means to a milestone. I'm excited to be done, but I'm more excited about what we're going to do with the money. Adam and I have welcomed the congratulations from friends and family...but I'll be much happier to accept the congratulations of more product and more paying customers.
Relationships raise money. We have six investors in our deal and - to a varying degree - I knew five of the six well before we pitched them. (I received a glowing introduction to the sixth through a trusted mutual acquaintance.) I didn't set out with the goal of building these relationships to one day ask them for money...but it sure didn't hurt when the people that we pitched already knew me, my bio, and my M.O.