Exposed Brick

How to Raise $10 Million for Your Tech Startup

Dave Pell


We have an idea. We can build it for $100,000. So we need $100,000.

Well, we have $10,000,000 to invest.

Oh, interesting. We need $100,000 to build this thing, and we’re good to go.

Love that. We gravitate towards companies that can run lean. Smart and lean. Lean in. You can lean on us. All of it.

Excellent. So we basically just need the $100,000.

We’d love to provide that, and oh, I don’t know, another $9,900,000.

Wow, we really appreciate the vote of confidence since this is our first meeting and our first slide, and we haven’t even told you what our idea is.

Great. So we’re good with a $10,000,000 investment, convertible note, $40 million cap? Vanilla terms. We like to keep it simple. Keep the paperwork to a minimum, especially on these small seed deals.

Wait, I’m not sure we’re on the same page.

Gotcha. Look, I don’t like to bullshit. We’re obviously connecting on a real level here. I think of myself as the kind of investor who sits on the same side of the table as the entrepreneur. If it’s a stand-up desk, I’ll stand. If it’s a treadmill desk, it’s still doable. I mean, I’m wearing dress shoes right now, but I can easily pivot and put on some sneakers. But here’s the thing. I can’t do more than $10,000,000. If I go over that amount, I need to bring in one of my superiors, say a junior partner, or an entrepreneur in residence, or maybe one of our summer interns. If I do that, we’re looking at another 20-30 minutes to get this thing closed. And I can’t risk the opportunity cost of taking my eyes off my Twitter stream for that long.

Hey, we like what we’re hearing. I really think if we could just get to this second slide, you’d have a better idea of our actual needs.

You’re mobile first, right? We need that tag to match our AngelList profile word cloud.

Well, not quite. Let me try to give you an idea where the product is headed…

From what I can tell, you’ve got all the basics. The messaging, the gamification, the anonymity, the big data, the small data, the photosharing; sort of a Whatsapp meets Tesla meets delivery drones meets a guy with a hipster beard and some cool glasses, with a clean, hot or not-inspired UI, exposed brick, and some decent artisinal coffee pods in the kitchen?

We’re interested in moving in those directions…

Good, good. So let’s do this. $10,000,000 should work. It’s not much. But it should get you to the point where you have some alpha testers and an even better deck. In the meantime, trust me on this, we’ll incubate the fuck out of this thing. It’s part of the value we add.

But we only need the $100,000.

Luckily, I’ve got $10,000,000. But I’ve also got a hard stop in about 38 seconds. Why don’t we docusign the digital paperwork right now? I mean, we’re in the same room, so we could just sign the real papers, but I don’t carry a pen. Like I said, we keep it lean. It’s part of our ethos. It’s who we are. You know, sustainable.

And we totally dig your team and that ethos and your portfolio and your values. We’re sitting here because you guys came up first when we Googled for that stuff. But we just need the $100,000 to do this right.

I’ve got $10,000,000. Let’s close this thing and make sure you guys are heads-down, laser-focused on nothing but the product until this afternoon when we should probably talk about a strategy for the A round.

It’s just that, well, we wouldn’t know how to spend it, what with us only being able to work on weekends since there’s just the two of us and we’re both in junior high and Friday nights are pretty booked up with Magic the Gathering tournaments and a Minecraft world we’re still only halfway done with.

So $10,000,000 works?

Ok, we’ll take the $10,000,000.

For the day’s most fascinating news, get NextDraft — via email, or iPhone app or iPad app. And it’s typed on a standup desk.



Dave Pell

I write NextDraft, a quick and entertaining look at the day’s most fascinating news.