Making Fundraising Suck Less:
Healthy Founders, Healthy Businesses, Closed Rounds
One of the most challenging times in your career as a founder is when you are actively raising capital: long hours, travel, shortening runways, frustrating encounters with investors, navigating confusing term sheets. It’s high stress and it takes a toll on your business, mind, and body. Every yes, no, or maybe feels like a judgment of your self-worth. In the words of one successful founder, this work is “soul-sucking bullshit.” Even though you’re constantly meeting people, it can be one of the most isolating times in your career as an entrepreneur.
I asked a few founders who have successfully raised multiple rounds to describe their personal experience with the fundraising process. Here are a few excerpts from their responses:
- I felt like I was losing my mind. A yes would turn into a no. A no would turn into a yes. WTF did “maybe” mean? It f*ckin sucked.
- It was **** (name redacted) the monkey dancing for term sheets.
- Lonely as f*ck
- Soul-crushing bullshit
- Emotionally consuming
- The first half was death by 1000 no’s and the first yes seemed like salvation. Until we closed the round, every day felt like Groundhog Day.
- A complete shit-show
The consensus is clear: fundraising sucks and it takes a toll.
Fundraising doesn’t have to suck.
Founder5 groups help founders and their companies remain healthy and growing while they raise the funds to fuel their growth. Founder5 groups do not introduce you to investors or give you tips and strategies for fundraising. But, let’s be honest, nothing makes fundraising easier than a healthy, collected, and sane founder, representing their well-run business.
What Founder5 Groups Do:
- Help you remain healthy and sane
- Ensure you have a healthy & stable business to return to after you raise your funds
- Remind you that you run a business: fundraising is only a temporary stage in growing it
- Give you greater perspective by exposing you to the challenges that your peers are facing
- Provide a supportive group of people in your life who “get it,” and are there to support you through the good and the bad while you work to close this round
- Expose you to a community of people facing the same challenges
- Introduce you to best practices and resources to help ensure your success
What Founder5 Groups DO NOT Do:
- Founder5 Groups DO NOT provide funding
- Founder5 Groups DO NOT help you create or perfect your pitch
- Founder5 Groups DO NOT introduce you to investors
- Founder5 Groups DO NOT teach funding tactics and strategies
Founder5 Fundraising groups are curated groups of five motivated founders who are all currently fundraising. These groups create a supportive environment of people who understand exactly what you’re facing. Over the course of six months, you’ll develop deep connections with your peers in the group. Your Founder5 group will challenge you to up your game, support you in the work you’re doing, and provide you with the tools and network to help ensure your success.
Who will be in my Founder5 Group?
Each participant in a Founder5 group is carefully vetted. Groups are designed to bring together members with similar levels of business experience and a diversity of industry backgrounds. You’ll be with your peers, but never your competitors. If you’re currently raising your series B, no one is your group will be raising their seed round. To the greatest extent possible, complimentary industries will be placed in the same group. For example, if you run a medtech company, you wouldn’t be placed with a game developer.
Have more questions? Feel free to ask!
New groups are being formed on a rolling basis. Apply today to reserve your spot in an upcoming Founder5 group.
Why join a Founder5 Fundraising Group:
- Develop supportive relationships with other founders
- Ensure you and your company not just survive, but thrive while you fundraise
- Don’t get taken down by tunnel vision
- Catch your blindspots before they become a problem
- Be the leader of your company, not just the fundraiser
- Learn from the experiences of your peers
- Access unique, relevant resources
- Avoid costly mistakes
About the Facilitator:
Founder5 groups are facilitated and run by serial entrepreneur turned coach, S. Brian Smith. Known as the Founder’s Coach, he brings his depth of experience as an entrepreneur coupled with extensive training and experience as a coach to his clients. Brian is uniquely skilled at revealing the powerful leader within every founder.
Brian is a Fellow at the Insitute of Coaching, McLean/Harvard Medical School, an active member of the Young Entrepreneur Council, and a member of the NeuroLeadership Institute. Brian has received the CoBiz GenXYZ Young Entrepreneur Award, as well as recognition from numerous organizations ranging from Under30CEO to the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Each group is comprised of five founders and facilitated by Brian Smith, who is himself a founder and seasoned in fundraising.
- Six-month commitment
- Bi-weekly group coaching calls, conducted via conference call. During this call, we do not discuss funding strategy. Instead, we check in to ensure that everyone is operating at top mental and physical levels and work together to build tools and habits to help you reach your goals.
- The weeks without coaching calls are unstructured strategy calls where the members can exchange tactics, get feedback on pitches, and discuss any topics you wish. The coaching calls are mandatory, the strategy calls are not.
- One group call each month with resources. Resources include investors, thought leaders, and founders who have successfully funded and/or exited their companies.
- Ongoing communication via private Facebook group, Basecamp, and email
- Ability to continue the group after six months, or join another Founder5 group
Cost: $1,000 – paid upon acceptance into program. 100% of the fee is donated to charity. The fee represents a commitment to the group.
Please answer all of the following questions to apply to the Founder5 program. Once your application has been received, Brian will be in contact with you to discuss your options.
Note: All of your answers are 100% confidential and will only be used for the purpose of assessing your application to the Founder5 program.