In this week’s newsletter, we see that pitch deck interest is up 8.5% this week (more on that below) and we have Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures talking about fundraising in the current climate.
The Active VC List keeps growing
The list updates live with additions from our fundraising community. Since last week, there have been 39 new firms added to the list, for a total of 285, including Cowboy Ventures, Flybridge Capital, and Ripple Ventures. Click here for live updates.
Q&A with Aileen Lee: Founder and Partner at Cowboy Ventures
Aileen Lee (who coined the term “unicorn”) was recently featured on the first episode of Extra Crunch Live. Here’s what she had to say about fundraising in the current climate.
How should a founder pitch right now?
Founders should be clear on how much they want to raise, how long they want it to last, and what they believe they’ll be able to get done during this time…If you were raising a month or two months ago, it’s really important to go back and almost start from scratch with your pitch. You should rethink how you tell your story and why you’re raising now and what you plan on getting done.
You have to be more open-minded and less wedded to benchmarks in the past and really think about, based on what you do and the market you’re going after, what is ambitious but realistic to accomplish in the next couple months?
What changes are taking place in the fundraising marketplace right now and what do founders who are trying to raise need to know?
If you’re looking for seed (and I know it sounds a little self-serving, but), I would focus on talking with seed-stage funds because that’s what they’re dedicated to. If you’re raising a Series A or beyond, you should maybe talk with the folks you’re engaging with at a multi-stage fund around understanding what’s going on in their lives, in their portfolio, about their process, because they have a lot of different things going on in terms of how they’re going to spend their time. At least, that’s my understanding.
What are you looking for in a future investment?
We’re looking at stuff that goes after the aging population, aging in place and isolation…We’re also looking at things that help women, in particular, with healthcare. I think that those things, especially if they have a telemedicine component, will still be exciting. We’re investors in a company called Drop and they have a consumer e-commerce business, and they have a lot of stuff for audiophiles and people who work from home, so they’re doing really well. I think there are things that will still do well in D2C. We’re investors in Natalist, which does a lot of fertility products and pregnancy tests and they’re actually flying off the shelf.
Ritual reflection promotes founder wellness
Taking the time to self-reflect in order to stay on track as a founder is important right now. Learn how one of our founders does it deliberately.
You need to plan to thrive, not just survive
It has always been true that if you’re simply staying afloat, you’re failing. During COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to know how to thrive.