Roy Chung is the co-founder and former COO of Apollo.io, a $1.6B unicorn sales automation startup backed by Sequoia Capital, Y Combinator, and Bain Capital, among others. Roy is also a General Partner at JoyFund and LP in multiple VC funds like Pioneer, GTM, and LionHeart. Before founding ...read more
Tobias raised $25m of funding from top tier investors like FJ Labs and Left Lane Capital among others. He launched and localised memmeo.me, an app for personalised video messages from celebrities, in 15+ markets. During his time with memmo, Tobias helped creators earn millions and reached ...read more
Sam Hodges is the co-founder and CEO of Vouch, a venture-backed commercial insurance business focused on serving the needs of high-growth companies. Previously, Sam served as co-founder and U.S. Managing Director for Funding Circle, a leading global lending platform for small businesses, w...read more
T Zhu is the co-founder of Tellus, a smart savings platform powered by real estate backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Alumni Ventures and Decent Capital. He previously founded and scaled a number of companies, including Sodacan, a social consumer mobile app startup that released Sip, an anonym...read more
Chris Yeh is a writer, investor, and entrepreneur who has been in the world of startups and scale-ups since 1995. Co-author of the bestselling book Blitzscaling together with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Chris offers advice and mentorship on on how to build and scale your business. Hundr...read more
Dr. Edvard "Eddie" Engeseath, MD is the Co-founder of telehealth startup Nurx, angel investor, startup advisor, and a former family physician. He founded Nurx to make prescription birth control more accessible. The company has since grown into a full-service telehealth startup in the presc...read more
David Anderson is the founding partner of Beat Ventures, an early-stage venture fund that invests in startups reshaping the future of work. Prior to this, he was an investor at Toyota Ventures, and the co-founder of Bamboo, Detroit’s first co-working space for entrepreneurs. He holds an MB...read more
Amit Garg's career in technology spans over 20+ years in Silicon Valley. As a venture capitalist he has focused on seed-stage applied AI investments in digital health, automation and enterprises. Some of his key successes are nuTonomy (seed, sold for $450M) at Samsung NEXT Ventures and Mis...read more
Colin Rogister is the founding partner of Beat Ventures, an early-stage venture fund that invests in startups reshaping the future of work. Prior to Beat Ventures, Colin was an investor at Maven Ventures and served as a technology advisor in the Obama White House’s National Economic Counci...read more
Chris is an expert in taking startup ideas from zero to one and in turning around underperforming corporate innovation teams. He has built product portfolios and SaaS platforms generating $750M ARR across disparate industries and technologies including AI/ML in Health Care, NLP, IoT and vi...read more
Rogelio "Ro" Choy is the CEO of Cars & Bids, . Previously he was the CEO of Eaze from 2019 to 2022, a cannabis-focused on-demand marketplace, where he led it's growth from less than $2OM to $2OOM+ in revenue. Prior to Eaze Ro was the CEO of BitTorrent (acquired by TRON blockchain), CBO of ...read more
Max Samuel is a venture capitalist and lawyer. He has formerly worked at Thiel Capital (Peter Thiel’s investment office), Wilson Sonsini and Credit Suisse, and attended Yale University, Penn Law School and Wharton. Max is passionate about mentoring both startup founders and people looking ...read more
Alec Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Endless West, a beverage startup that creates its own unique blend of wines and spirits using scientific production methods. The whiskey has won 14 awards, and the company has raised more than $100 million in funding from IndieBio, SOSV, Horizon Ventur...read more
Jacob Jaber is the Co-Founder & Chairman of Philz Coffee. As CEO for nearly two decades, Jacob grew Philz from the original coffee shop in San Francisco's Mission District to more than 70 locations across the country. Jacob has raised more than $100 million in funding from investors. Jacob...read more
Erik Shani is the Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Fyllo. He's a 25 year veteran in the tech startup ecosystem with experience in multiple verticals (telecom, adtech, insurtech, and cannabis to name a few), across multiple regions (North America, EMEA, APAC), and business models. He...read more
Anada Lakra is the co-founder and CEO of BoldVoice, a Y Combinator-backed startup that provides accent training to non-native English speakers. Anada previously worked as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Co. and as a product manager at Peloton. She graduated with honors from Harvard Bus...read more
William (Billy) Bosch is a consumer products entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience launching products, scaling into retail and e-commerce, and raising money. He is most known for founding ICONIC – one of the largest natural protein supplement brands in the United States. Starting w...read more
Sascha Eder is the founder and CEO of NewtonX, a B2B enterprise research startup that has raised $40M+ in venture capital. Prior to NewtonX, Sascha was a management consultant spending time at both McKinsey & Co. and the Boston Consulting Group, as well as as a financial analyst at P&G. He...read more
Carl Carell is the Co-founder and CRO of GetAccept, an all-in-one digital sales room platform helps salespeople win more B2B deals. GetAccept has raised more than $30M in venture funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, Y Combinator, Amino Capital and DN Capital. Carl has co-founded several...read more
Chad Fox is an advisor to entrepreneurs and family offices through his firm F Partners. Through his VC firm, Fox Ventures, he invests in exceptional founders focused on “The Future of Financial Services”. Chad has a global network that spans from North America to the Middle East and can...read more
I am a venture investor, operator and expert in Artificial Intelligence and Managing Partner at Gaingels, one of the most active investing networks fostering social change in venture. I am a founder and operator first, having co-founded Powerset, a pioneering AI company that developed one...read more
Alexandra Zatarain is the Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand and Marketing at Eight Sleep, the world's first sleep fitness company. Eight Sleep solves sleep's most pressing issues through innovation and cutting-edge technology. The Pod, its best-selling product, has a cult-like followi...read more
Hamilton Chan is the CEO of Coaching for Startups. He holds a BA in Psychology from Harvard University and a JD from Harvard Law School. He worked as an investment banker at JP Morgan in Hong Kong and in New York, performing Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate Finance. After graduating fr...read more
Rune Hauge is the co-founder and CEO of Mentorcam (YC S21), angel investor, and startup advisor. Before co-founding Mentorcam, Rune founded three different startups with one successful exit as a founder. He has raised millions of dollars in venture capital from top-tier Silicon Valley VCs ...read more
Robin is a three-time CMO with more than 20 years of experience in marketing and growth leadership roles at companies like Salesforce, Box, LinkedIn, Matterport, and WeWork. He's done 3 IPOs, several acquisitions, and led companies through hyper-growth to become household names. Robin now ...read more
Mahsa Rostami is the founder and CEO of Revero, a digital health startup backed by a16z and Goodwater Capital. Her personal health transformation inspired her to found Revero. Prior to founding Revero, Mahsa worked as an AI engineer in Silicon Valley, specializing in the development of AI ...read more
Amir Tarighat is the co-founder and CEO of Agency, an enterprise cybersecurity startup backed by Y Combinator (W22). He is a software developer and cybersecurity expert who enjoys advising founders on early-stage sales, GTM, and fundraising. Amir graduated from Harvard University with a de...read more
Ryan McManus is the co-founder and CEO of SHARE Mobility, a transportation-as-a-service subscription for cities and businesses. Prior to founding SHARE Mobility, Ryan worked as the Marketing Director for Kern International, an enterprise-grade logistics and office equipment supplier with a...read more
Liz Tsai is the founder and CEO of HiOperator, a customer service-as-a-service solution company that allows businesses to handle client customer service tickets faster and more accurately through AI, backed by Y Combinator, 43North and HearstLab. Liz spent several years working in the phys...read more
Ryan Mendoza is a Partner at Scrum Ventures, a Japanese fund investing in US startups. Previously, Ryan worked at a university accelerator called PCI Ventures, where he was in charge of spinning out companies based on technology developed at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to that, h...read more
Sasha Tan is the founder of C.riously, a company that makes nutritious health snacks. She previously founded Favful (a personalized beauty care platform), which was backed by Segnel Ventures, Gobi Partners, and 500 Global before it was acquired by iMedia in 2022. She is a serial entreprene...read more
Wil Eyi is the CEO and co-founder of Toolbox, a Y Combinator-backed startup building a vertical Fintech platform. The company has raised $18M in debt and equity. Prior to founding Toolbox, Wil worked in private equity at Walburg Pincus and as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. Wil hold...read more
Cristian is Founding Partner of Iluminar Ventures, a Seed fund investing in LatAm with 35 investments in fintech, marketplaces, SaaS and supply chain. He's a Venture Partner at Gaingels, where he led the firm's Research team. Cristian founded TrueColors LatAm, the first non-profit for LGBT...read more
Startup fundraising is the process of raising money to finance a new business venture. At its core, the fundraising process involves identifying potential sources of funding, developing a pitch, and presenting to investors. Founders can turn to a variety of sources to raise capital for startups, including:
The right time to begin raising funds for your startup is when you have a clear idea of your business model, market opportunity, and revenue plan — in other words, don’t raise capital before you know what you’re going to do with it! The perfect timing for fundraising depends somewhat on your particular industry, but in general, the best time to approach investors is when you start to see demand for your product start to pick up. The amount of demand you need varies, but most investors will want to see user or revenue growth of at least 20% month over month.
Let’s explore how startups get funding in more detail. We’ll go over different potential sources of funding, discuss the value of fundraising mentors for startup founders, and explain some of the most important concepts you need to understand to successfully raise capital for your startup.
First, let's look at a few of the different types of investors:
Founders often rely on donations or loans from friends and family during the earliest startup fundraising stages. This is not a formal type of funding, but rather based on personal relationships. It’s important to invest in your startup’s reputation by being transparent and honest about how you use funds from friends and family. Friends and family will often invest using a SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity), which allows them to convert the money they’ve invested into equity at the time of the startup’s next funding round.
Angel investors are typically high net-worth individuals who use some of their wealth to invest in young companies they personally believe in. Angel investors normally ask for equity in exchange for their funding. Some (but not all) angel investors also provide the founders in whom they invest with valuable advice and guidance as their startups grow. Angels will typically invest between $25k and $100k, but the exact amount you can expect to raise depends on your startup and the investors you choose to approach.
Venture capital firms are organized groups of investors who pool their money to back fast-growing startups with potential for high returns. VCs are able to provide some of the largest financial investments out of all the different funding sources. However, they typically take substantial equity stakes, and may expect some degree of involvement in business strategy decisions to protect their returns. For example, VC funds generally require the startup to first secure a lead investor before other venture capitalists in the firm will invest, and this lead investor will usually seek a board seat with the startup.
Accelerator programs like Y Combinator, 500 startups, Founders Fund, Techstars, and many others offer a wide range of benefits for startups, including (but not limited to) funding. In addition to capital investments, startup accelerators provide the startups they accept into their programs with resources like mentorship, access to industry connections, and conveniently-located office space.
Crowdfunding is a form of fundraising for startups that has taken off recently due to the ease with which social media allows founders to spread the word about their projects. A typical crowdfunding campaign hosted on a site like Kickstarter or GoFundMe accepts many small investments from backers — most of whom are not professional investors or high net-worth individuals — in exchange for whatever kinds of incentives the founders choose to offer, such as early access to the product. Founders can also try equity crowdfunding using a platform like StartEngine. Equity crowdfunding is very similar to regular crowdfunding, except founders offer equity stakes in exchange for investments.
A startup fundraising mentor is an experienced entrepreneur or investor who provides guidance, advice, and support to startup founders attempting to raise capital with which to build their companies. A fundraising mentor can help you develop your fundraising strategy, create a compelling pitch, identify potential investors, learn to negotiate term sheets, understand fundraising methods and more. They can also provide expert feedback on your financial projections and growth potential.
The most valuable asset a fundraising mentor has to offer you is their experience. A mentor can help you avoid common fundraising mistakes — as well as not-so-common mistakes you may not have otherwise anticipated. Mentors can provide firsthand insight into the fundraising experience, making it easier for novice and experienced founders alike to navigate the sometimes enigmatic process of courting investors.
A fundraising mentor provided through Mentorcam can also provide a fresh, knowledgeable perspective on your startup’s growth strategy. This type of guidance is essential for aligning your fundraising efforts with future growth opportunities and plans for scaling your business.