This week I officially start the process of raising money for Coach Wizard.
We would like to raise money to add a bit more engineering help and provide some basic living wages to ourselves as we ramp up (in fact, our biggest cost for the foreseeable future is really just payroll).
Right now, and until we raise or reach a reasonable enough revenue level, we are not paying ourselves anything (and the bulk of the engineering work falls on my shoulders).
All of this is actually OK as we have a plan in place to bootstrap the company, and we’ll continue to execute against that throughout this process (or in the very possible event that we fail to raise).
Servers are pretty cheap and we can build at least a hacky version of just about anything we might want. We have enough savings, and can do freelance work if we must, to survive - to stay in the game.
And if there’s one thing I feel I’ve proved over and over again throughout my career it’s that I can do more with less than just about anyone.
Really, money just equals speed for us (speed to build, speed to grow, speed to execute).
So as I start this process, of course I’m reaching out the investors I’ve built friendships and connections with over the years first.
These are the people I respect the most when it comes to ‘professional investment’ and the ones I am personally most interested in having on the team and involved in the company.
Outside of money, I believe they all bring qualities and connections that would be really big wins for our efforts right now.
But it’s actually a really small list…and most are long shots (I believe in them way more than they believe in me).
The truth is I have never actually raised money before and so I have not gone out of my way to get on the radar of investors in the past (even when we were trying to raise for knowabout.it, Will was really the one out beating the pavement on the fundraising front; I attended a few meetings but the relationships were really cultivated by Will and I just focused on the tech – this time my intention is to be the CEO and as quickly as possible hand over the reigns of tech to my team).
Anyway - the investors I have connected with over the years have causally seen me build lots of different things (and I think respect my technical ability)…but are they really going to bet on our team and believe in my ability to lead it when it comes time to write a check?
It’s easy to say you like someone, that you believe in them and want them to do well…it’s another thing entirely to back it up with action.
That takes *real* guts. True faith.
Now I believe we are onto something really big and important. Something that will have a massive positive life impact on parents and kids throughout the world (and hence our communities as a whole).
I believe we have a solid and interesting plan (that we continue to improve upon).
We are already starting to execute on it…and we really are limiting as much risk as we possibly can, as fast as we can (for everyone involved).
But we’re so early in the process that the truth is, people who get involved at this stage are *really* making a bet on the team (and a large part of that is simply a bet on *me*).
A bet on our ability to make the magic happen, one way or another.
I know I’m going to get the standard pushback on traction, questions about the market, and skepticism about our revenue plans – in fact I’ve already been turned down by four of the people on my short list (pre-meeting) for these reasons.
That’s fine. I’ll adjust and evolve because of this.
I’ll get better at sharing the *real* story behind what we are doing (at the highest level it’s an education platform and it’s about parents and kids).
We’ll get stronger. We’ll continue to make progress.
And most of all we’ll find out who the true believers really are.
…and then we’ll make sure to do everything and anything we can to prove it was the BEST decision they’ve ever made.
And by the way, being a true believer at this stage doesn’t have to be just about money and investment (we need engineering and design help *more* than money; we need introductions to investors, more tech, and of course parents, kids, and coaches just as much; and we can never have enough evangelists).
So if you’re one of the early, true believers, and are ready to back it up with real action, I love you, and we should talk!
You can reach me via email at info at falicon.com, via Twitter @falicon, or even by simply reaching out in the comments below.
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Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.
If you have comments, thoughts, or want to respond to something you see here I would encourage you to respond via a post on your own blog (and then let me know about the link via one of the routes mentioned above).