In 2014, Acceleprise backed our first 7 founders. In 2019, we surpassed 100 investments in an exceptional group of people known as the Acceleprise portfolio founders. Looking back on those 100 decisions, we learned quite a bit. I outlined a few of those lessons for the early and aspiring founders.
- Focus on sales and customer conversations early and often. We’ve heard too many teams say they wish they’d started selling sooner.
- Don’t put too many eggs in one or two baskets. Large corporates and their big contracts can be enticing but those deals always take longer than you think to get done. Be weary of putting all your eggs into closing a large corporate deal vs. testing mid market in parallel in the early stages.
- Treat fundraising like a sales process. Be organized, take good notes so you understand the objections and risks investors are thinking about for your business and run a process. Use platforms like Signal, GlassDollar, Crunchbase and AngelList to identify investors that could be a fit and find a good path to them.
- See into the future. Make sure you can clearly articulate how your market will evolve over the next 5-10 years, why you will win given the market dynamics and what your company looks like at venture scale (ie. how do you actually get to $100M+ in ARR)
- Design matters. First impressions with customers and investors make a big difference heading into conversations. Make sure your website and deck represent you and your company well, so you make a good first impression.
- Be mindful of your health. It’s a grind, you work long hours and can get burnt out. Exercising and eating well makes a real difference.
- Starting and building a company is really really hard. Find a community of people you can count on for support, even if it’s just an open ear or a cheerleader.