Raising money in the tech world – strategically

Happy Sunday folks, we had a holiday last weekend up here in Canada land, which I used to relax, go for a run, then proceed to waste said run by eating far too many blueberry pancakes.

But hey, we only live once, right?

Let’s jump in:

Crossroads and raising money in the tech world

It’s an interesting time in a good way for my immigration tech startup, Visto, as we continue to grow week over week.

Usually things are a bit quieter in Canada during the summer due to vacations and such, and while it is a little quieter, we still continue to head in the right direction.

But we’ve come to that infamous crossroads in a business, where our revenue is growing and we want to scale up, but don’t yet have the funds to hire (yet). We’re certainly on pace for it, and we know we’ll get there soon, but we’d love to be able to hire yesterday to expedite our growth.

And for that reason, we’re in the process of trying to raise more money from our current investors, which would be great because a) we’d have the funds to grow the team much quicker (and by extension, the company/product/revenue), and b) being able to raise from your current investors (as opposed to going “outside” to new investors) is typically a smoother process (since they already know and trust you).

Have you ever raised money for your company before? Is it something you even want to do?

To be honest, I never know how much time to spend talking about fundraising because I feel like some people won’t ever do it (they may not want or need to, for a variety of reasons), especially since this list started out focused on solopreneurship – which by definition is probably the types of businesses you don’t need or want to fundraise for.

So unless there’s a big demand to read more about it, I’ll keep it surface level for now, and also say that we’re lucky because we don’t have any big fancy venture capital (VC) firms that invested in us. Mostly angel investors, family offices and other successful entrepreneurs who believed in us.

Which is pretty great because there’s less pressure, more realistic expectations (as opposed to some VC firms that expect 10+ times their investment returned within 3-5 years) and a more personal relationship.

Maybe you do or don’t plan on raising funds at some point, and assuming you’re not building the next Facebook, I recommend going the route that we did (which, to be honest, was mostly by accident and not design!).

Key takeaway: raise money, like anything else, very intentionally for your business

Fundraising ain’t for every business and/or person, but if you decide to do it, I still recommend doing it intentionally. Like anything in your business.

Especially if you don’t want/need to raise a ton of money, try to stick to more down-to-earth investors that won’t have the expectations and pressure from VCs. Easier said than done, as most things are, but it will help you sleep better at night and, given the tools and resources out there these days, most companies probably don’t need as much money as they think anyway.

If you’re starting out on your own, try to leverage everything else possible. All of the new AI tools, communities, maybe even a business partner to fill in your blanks, and get as much traction for your business first before going out for any money.

Because if you can fund your business through revenue then you may never need to raise, and if you do need to raise, it will be much easier if you have revenue to show to prospective investors!

Book of the week

I finished reading Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried, and I gotta say, it was a great read. Best comparison I can make is to The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz – if you liked that book, you’ll like this too.

In short:

  • highly recommended read, especially to entrepreneurs/founders of any kind of business
  • short, punchy chapters that are easy to read with very little fluff
  • covers a wide variety of topics and provides a ton of advice in very few words (a great combo)
  • topics range from starting a business, motivation, productivity, hiring, culture and more. You may not need to know it all this second, but they’re quick to cover and the book acts as great reference material for down the road

It’s pretty short too, so it won’t take you weeks to read.

Up next: Jack: Straight From the Gut by Jack Welch. I’m about 50 pages in and loving it…

That’s it for me – have a great week, make sure to get all of my updates right to your inbox, and keep grinding,

– Josh

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