Alex is founder and CEO of Next Big Sound, a company that provides online music analytics and insights, which raised about $1 million from Foundry Group, Alsop-Louie Partners, and SoftTech VC after completing TechStars in 2009.
Raising money from investors was unlike anything else I'd ever done in my life. When I tried my hardest in school, previous jobs, and extracurricular activities, I had a sense that if I exceeded some threshold I'd be able to get the A, promotion, or leadership position I wanted. When raising the first round of financing for my company, I could give the best presentation in the world, but if the investor was uncomfortable with any part of the team, idea, revenue model, competition, industry, market size, amount of money we were asking for, our development time line, how it fit with their portfolio companies, or an almost infinite list of other variables, then the funding wouldn't happen.
With so many factors at play, there are numerous issues that can derail a financing. The trick is to present a compelling solution to a big problem and then have the right answers to every conceivable question the potential investor might ask. For me, the first part is the easy one since most entrepreneurs wouldn't be pouring their hearts into a business if they didn't think they had a great answer to a big problem. The trouble comes ...