I don't think I need funding, should I shop around anyway?


I'm making what I guess you'd call a website startup, at it's current state, I can do all the developing myself and I have a design coming along from my partner. Overheads will never exceed the cost of hosting and marketing - which I will probably do without spending any money any way.

I have not looked around anywhere for investment as we simply don't need any starting cash due to our combined skillset. My main concern however is that I will not reap the benefits of having a proper investment with experienced people behind it. I'm reading up about all these startups (with less prospects that my site imho) that are getting large investments and it certainly creates buzz.

Are there other worthwhile things companies get out of proper investments aside from cash that I will miss out on? Will this outweigh the fact I'll own the entire company?

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asked May 25 '11 at 22:10
161 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

4 Answers


Shop for evaluation feedback. Convincing investors is just a step earlier to convincing the mass of your customers, so the effort will pay back, since convincing your mass market is going to be much more expensive (you don't show mockups anymore, but real products).

answered May 26 '11 at 00:15
198 points


The other thing investors being to the table besides money is

  • Contacts. The right investor will be able to open doors with a phone call that you could spend a year or more trying to contact.
  • Experience. If they are Angel investors normally they have been there and done it before. This can be critical for the first timer as there is so much to running a business that is beyond the technical or marketing skillset you both have unless your both 50 and been working for a range of companies in CxO positions for the last 20 years.
  • Objective view point. They will bring a useful alternative view ... most startups are excited, out to kill it in the market and have a very focused view on what they are doing which is exactly what is needed ... but often people get drawn into the fiddly detail optimising something and aren't looking ahead to see if its stil the right direction ... an investor will say "hey, is this really the right direction it feels like X could work far better for us".
  • Ability to scale. You don't need it today but if you start growing and are successful you may need to grow in the future ... having someone onside who can tackle this to get the next round of funding is a big asset or knowing who they are so that when you get there you can knock on the door and say "hey we are ready" can cut out months of time when you really need the money today.

The downsides are:

  • Pick the wrong one and your constantly battling with someone who doesn't understand you or your goals.
  • You have diluted the shareholding ... but 50% of $1Billion is still more than 100% of $100,000.
  • Finding them takes away from your focus of getting the job done today ... short term this is a problem ... longer term when you look back it will most likely look like a sensible investment.

So, I think it is worth some of your time to attend events and say hello, practice you pitch, see if there is interest both on the spot and more importantly on the followup ... You don't have to commit till you sign on the dotted line.

answered May 26 '11 at 10:12
Robin Vessey
8,394 points


There are two costs for seeking funding that should not be underestimated.

1) Time: Prepare and talk with all of these people regarding funding. Don't underestimate the amount that this is going to take.

2) Dilution: I realize you are suggesting to not get funds but you are going to have to show a business plan that needs funds in order and will prove to be profitable. So the only significant reason to look for funding is to get funding.

I suggest look at the SBA sight or the local business college and find help through them. Frequently there are programs to give business insight to start ups that are free. This will give you business councel which it sounds like is your real motivator for looking for outside funds. Yes they won't have a stake in it so their advice won't be the same but you can cut right to getting suggestions to problems rather than taking the time and effort to look for funding so you can then get advice.


answered May 26 '11 at 00:43
John Bogrand
2,210 points


1. You need Money As much as you believe you can bootstrap, understand that in most cases you will need funding at some point, even if not now. It is very rare that a company becomes a great success story without funding. Since it can take many months to network with VC's let alone close a deal, start as early as possible. If you wait till you really need funding, it might be too late. There are countless stories of companies nearing the end of their lives just to be saved (literally) by last minute funding, let alone companies that ultimately met their demise because they ran out of runway - see EverNote as an example.

2. You need Advice Even if you truly don't need the money, know that good VC's tend to be AWESOME advisors. It sounds like this is going to be your first startup? Definitely pitch to VC's. Tell them you don't think you need the money now but that you know it might be necessary 6 months down the road and you'd love to build the relationship with them. Then pitch them! If VC's like your idea, that's a reaaally good sign, and it is worth spending the time to get reassurance from an expert. If not, you're gonna be very grateful for the criticism they throw your way. They will grill your business idea left and right and make you question yourself. You will walk away from the pitch feeling like you got FREE advice.

answered May 27 '11 at 06:54
Anson Kao
101 points

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