This is NOT an opinion piece. I’m proud to call NC home. The startup ecosystem is awesome. I love Bojangles. I’m not moving to Silicon Valley. Now, let’s talk about what this is.
This is a real look at what it is like to venture out west for one month to fundraise in the most highly-populated angel investor location on earth. I’m documenting this journey for a few reasons:
- I want other founders to have more than opinion pieces to see what it is really like if they decide to venture out for the first time. I’ll use this outlet to share my experience as honestly and candidly as possible (without name dropping) on a weekly basis. Feel free to leave questions or suggestions in the comment section.
- Many of you have connections out west. Warm intros to angels, founders and connectors would be greatly appreciated!
Prep time: 1 month
It has taken one month to plan logistics and get enough intros to seed the first week with meetings. The first week is about getting plugged in, so I’m meeting with angels, founders and connectors who can make warm intros to angel investors. The goal is to try and get one new meeting for every meeting I have set up. By week two, I should be primarily speaking with targeted angels who invest in early-stage social media startups.
Balling on a budget of $3k
I decided to make my home away from home this hacker house located in Palo Alto. It boasts three meals daily and includes ear buds. If it is anything like they portray on the show Silicon Valley, I’ll meet some interesting people. I packed a tent just in case.
One-month car rental: $650
Plane tickets: $400
I decided to rent a car for the month because I will be traveling daily. This is cheaper than driving to and from CA and NC. It also saves you eight days of travel—you may be able to make it in six days if you drink six Mati(s) daily. If you are staying in one place, a car may not be needed.
HQ Raleigh’s Co-working Visa program allows members to work from other co-working places free for up to three days at each location. I did this in NYC, and it was awesome.
American Underground also has good free options in Silicon Valley too.
Check out www.startupdigest.com/digests/silicon-valley for events, conferences and meetups. I found a two-day investor/entrepreneur conference starting the day after I get in town. I cold emailed every speaker and investor and have five meetings set up. I got $50 off the conference by emailing the organizer—200 bucks for five solid meetings and some targeted networking is a great way to kick things off.
Prepping the pitch
Here's the short version: SnapYeti is an NC-based social media startup helping brands run viral photo contest campaigns. SnapYeti has worked with over 200 brands like American Kennel Club, ABC11 and Petmate to run 350 campaigns and has acquired over 80K users in 18 months with two people and no marketing budget. We are raising funds to scale our team, layer in monetization and increase brand awareness.
I spent time with three seasoned 'been there, done that' entrepreneurs who have raised funds out west. They provided me with valuable pitch deck feedback, advice on asking for intros and insight on West Coast investor mentality.
I don't know what to wear. I guess I'll just bring my Yeti suit and go get em' attitude.
Well, folks, that is it for now. I leave Monday, June 8th at 5 a.m. Feel free to comment below with any questions or suggestions. My personal email is Justin at SnapYeti dot com.
Thanks to the incredible people helping our team chase this dream. The best is yeti to come…
Also, thank you Shia Lebouf for the pep talk: