My name is Justin. I am a startup founder spending one month in Silicon Valley fundraising. I’m documenting this journey to share my experiences with other founders considering making the trek for the first time. Hope this helps!
Other posts in this series:
2: The Real Silicon Valley
It's easy to listen to the buzz and have a pre-conceived notion of what Silicon Valley is like before visiting. I am still piecing everything together, but I can clear a few things up after two weeks in the Valley.
Startup "talk" runs rampant. With such a high concentration of startups and tech companies, everyone is connected to the tech scene, making casual conversations often sound like this:
Yep. It is here. But that doesn't mean people are lining up to throw you money. It just means you have way more opportunity to find investors that invest in your space and your stage. It is true startups can raise higher rounds at better valuations
on the West Coast. But a lot of this has to do with the higher cost of operating a business here vs. back home.
Building a Network
This isn't easy if you don't already have West Coast connections. I'm attending networking events, and have been accepted to pitch at two events next week, so that is a step in the right direction. I think 3-4 weeks should be a minimum if you are coming to start building a network from scratch. 1-2 weeks is a tease unless you already have lots of contacts and meetings lined up.
I found 2nd-degree connections for most of the angels and funds I'm targeting on Linkedin. The problem is that most of the connections I have aren't well connected with those people any more and don't feel comfortable reaching out since they barely know the person.
Alternative options for building your West Coast network
1) Apply to accelerators on AngelList.
Being part of an accelerator is a fantastic way to network and get reliable introductions right out of the gate. Most accelerators will take 5-7% of your company for $20-$125K. Your team will need to relocate for 3-4 months.
2) Find a super connected advisor with deep Silicon Valley roots. You want to find someone who can help your team fill a particular knowledge gap. For example, I'm looking for someone who has experience scaling double-sided marketplaces. Next, check to see if they are well connected with the investor community. I began my search this week using FounderDating.com
, a website where you can find advisors and other team members. Be prepared to part with .1% to 1% of your company for a high-quality advisor who can help you with advice, connections and fundraising.
I'm heading to LA to stay with our media advisor to see how we can better leverage the SnapYeti brand across social media. Wednesday I'll be back in SV for pitch events and more meetings. Please help share my journey across social media, and if you have anyone you think I should meet with, please feel free to holler at me at Justin at SnapYeti dot com. The best is Yeti to come...
The Best Caption on this Snap will win a SnapYeti T-shirt! Comment below.