Monthly Archives: October 2011

Turning 40, Progress Report

Back in August I wrote about my plan to get serious about my health on the eve of my 40th birthday. I thought it was time for an update. In July I weighed 260 pounds and my goal for November (fyi – I realize it is still October) was 214. Today I weighed 212 – 48 pounds down from my peak weight. The best part is that I feel great. I had to donate every suit, slacks and khakis in my closet since I went from a 42 waist to a 36. I wanted to thank all of you for your kind notes and messages – your support has been helpful – thanks! I still have some work to do to reach my goal weight of 170 by April, but if you know me you know I will be able to do it. Now for the pics:

Oh, and if you didn’t get invited (I tried to invite everyone) I ma having my 40th birthday party on the 4th. I love it if you could come. Here is the evite: email me if you need to be added.

Post Funding, The Real Work Begins. . .

If you have ever attempted to raise capital for your startup idea you are in pretty good company. Once you have actually raised capital for your startup idea you are part of a relatively exclusive club. Your close friends and family (who know how long you have been working on raising a round) will congratulate you. The other members of your team will want to celebrate. The PR folks will prepare a press release and try to get TechCrunch interested in the funding story. But, if you are like me, you might not feel comfortable accepting congratulations or celebrating or even getting some TechCrunch love.

Raising money is a lot of work. First, you have to come up with a startup idea that resonates with investors – if it doesn’t resonate they won’t meet with you. Of course getting an investor to meet with you based on an elevator pitch is pretty easy once you figure out what sort of investments they are looking for (assuming that is the sort of business you want to start). Once the meetings begin you will experience a roller coaster of excitement, disappointment and despair. Some investors will LOVE your idea, your team and generally be ready to put a term sheet together only to learn their partners aren’t the least bit interested in having your deal on their website. If you are lucky you will hear no a LOT. If you aren’t as lucky you will hear a lot of maybes. But eventually, you might get a term sheet. Of course once you get the term sheet you are on your own 10th yard line. You still must negotiate the terms and agree on a final term sheet. Once you have signed the term sheet you are on the 50th yard line. Of course sometimes closing is harder than you think. Papering disclosures, employment agreements, charters, financial statements – all can throw a wrench into a deal. When you finally get the wire you are likely so exhausted you may feel relieved, but I would argue that you are actually back on your own 10th yard line.

The congratulations, celebrations and press coverage should make you feel uncomfortable. Your team won’t understand at first, but raising outside capital is a HUGE responsibility and you should start feeling the pressure at about the same time the wire hits the bank. Your investor believed in you, your team and your idea – enough to put their hard earned treasure at risk. While your Mom, Dad and close friends were more than happy to cheer you on – how many of them wrote checks to fund your deal? Maybe a few, but generally encouragement is free. Your investor is not looking for a standard return – he is specifically looking for outsized returns 10x is the norm. For every dollar you spend you have to figure out how to make it worth $10. People who can do that are few and far in between. If you think the venture backed entrepreneurs is exclusive – try getting in the ‘provided outsized returns to investors’ club – it is downright lonely there. Outside capital isn’t for every startup or every entrepreneur, but if you decide to accept it be sure you understand the responsibility you have placed firmly on your shoulders.