Founders Issue #71: Founder Led Sales

What's Below in Issue #71:

πŸ“° - Five Different Ways Of Raising Capital in Today's Market

πŸ“Š - Data behind checks are being written from outside of SF 

πŸŽ™οΈ- Podcast #38 w/ Alex Simpson - Raised $800M

πŸ’΅- Premium startup resources

πŸ†“- Free startup resources


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As a founder turned Investment Banker, I've been in the trenches as a tech startup founder and helping countless others navigate the complex world of raising capital.

One of the key challenges I often see founders face is the daunting task of selling their own product -- often referred to as the "founder-led sales" approach.

Many founders shy away from this role, but as someone who's experienced these challenges firsthand, I believe it's a crucial step that can set the groundwork for the company's future success. I'm not alone in this opinion, as most early-stage VCs also weigh their investment decisions heavily on the founder's ability to sell.

Here are five reasons why founder-led sales are crucial in getting to your first few million in revenue and how any founder can do it too.

1️⃣ Authenticity: As a founder, you're inherently passionate about your product. This authenticity resonates with potential investors and customers. Founders need to tap into this energy to win early sales and establish key relationships with their buyers. πŸ‘‘πŸŽ―

2️⃣ Listening: This approach gives you direct feedback about your product and helps you to build solid relationships with your customers. It's the fastest way to understand what needs to be improved in your offering. This directly correlates to product improvements and prioritization based on direct customer feedback. When the founder is not in the sales process, the customer's voice is not represented in the product decision-making which can lead to poor decision-making in product updates.πŸ‘‚πŸ’‘

3️⃣ Keeping it simple: Resist the urge to pitch every aspect of your product or service. Stay focused on asking questions that gives the customer a chance to share what matters to them. By asking the right questions, you can highlight the most relevant features of your product. This will help you refine your pitch and make it more appealing to investors. πŸ’Όβœ¨

4️⃣ Fast response: Founders don't like to wait around, once they have a prospect on the hook, they like to act quickly and keep the conversation flowing. Quick follow-ups show your commitment and can greatly increase your chances of success. πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ

5️⃣ Hiring Sales Leaders is HARD AF: I can't tell you how many founders tell me that once they hire a sales all their problems will be solved. It's not easy to find the right talent, and VCs know it, that's why they want founders to be able to get to the first $1M+ in ARR. Recruiting sales talent is incredibly hard, most talent isn't compatible with the early stages of a startup, and like the job security, they worked so hard for. S

TLDR...don't try to hire out your sales until you've done it yourself. 

By mastering these core principles, not only will you boost your startup's growth trajectory, but you'll also set the stage for a smoother transition when you're ready to hire a Head of Sales down the line. πŸš€πŸŒŸ

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Data Corner

carta data

Going Solo is Possible But The Numbers Are Against You

Being a solo founder and raising from venture capitalists is absolutely possible, though less common in certain sectors. Data from over 9,000 startups using Carta for their cap table reveals that most companies typically have 2 or 3 founders, with larger teams often seen in hard tech industries like Biotech or Hardware.

However, industries with the highest percentage of solo founders in early-stage VC are Consumer (25%), Medical Devices (23%), and Fintech (20%).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Discover how Hiive is shaping future market trends by launching with $4.25M in funding and drawing the right investors, even in a tough market on Episode #39

Sim Desai YT Thumbnail v3

In this episode, I talked with Sim Desai, Founder and CEO of Hiive, a platform to buy and sell secondary shares that recently raised $4.25 Million.

Sim and I give a masterclass on the secondary market. If you’re looking to gain an insight into that world, this episode is for you. Sim also talks about his switch from a career in private equity brokerage to changing how people trade private company secondary shares with his platform, Hiive. He wants to make trading easier and clearer for everyone by using automation and transparency.

Hiive works to improve the buying and selling experience in a market that's usually not very transparent. Sim explains the regulatory hoops you’ve got to jump through to list your shares and how Hiive adds value and streamlines processes in the secondary market.

He also shares his initial fundraising adventure and the strategic thinking behind it while discussing the ups and downs of Hiive’s fundraising journey and what they learned along the way.

Listen Here


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