My name is Justin. I am a startup founder spending one month in Silicon Valley fundraising. I am proud to call NC home. 

I’m documenting this journey to share my experiences with other founders considering making the trek for the first time. Thanks for tagging along! 

Heading Back to the Land of the Pines 

My one month trip to Silicon Valley has come to an end. I planted seeds with investors, made lifelong friends at a hacker house and learned invaluable lessons from other entrepreneurs and a pastor who saved me on the side of the road. I plan to give a more in depth update on what SnapYeti got out of the trip in the weeks to come.

Top Takeaways 

  1. Silicon Valley is not a magic pill. It has an incredible startup ecosystem, but you have to hustle to network & build relationships to get meetings with potential investors. Here are the best sites to find events and get your hustle on Startup Digest—Silicon Valley and Meetup— Silicon Valley/San Francisco 
  2. Most SV investors will consider investing outside of SV if they like the team/product, so try and build that bridge as early as possible if it makes sense for your startup. I’d say 60% of the pitches I heard at weekly pitch events were still in the idea phase. If you have traction, your pitch will stand out. If you can’t find a warm intro, try a cold email. It’s worth a shot, and you can usually find an investor’s email address on their personal website if they do not publish it on LinkedIn or their fund’s website. 
  3. Stay as far away from “the tenderloin” in San Francisco as possible…super sketch. 
  4. If you want affordable accommodations for $40/night (including all meals), stay here and thank me later. 🙂 
  5. Jeans, a button up, and sports coat made me feel right at home at networking events & business meetings. Suits can be frowned upon, but just know your audience. Or you can just go more…casual.
  6. Driving in San Francisco is not fun. I rented a car for the month from FireFly for $16 a day but avoided driving in SF as much as possible because parking is $30/day. All in all, it was great having a car for events in San Jose, San Mateo, Palo Alto and to visit awesome places on the weekends like Half Moon Bay, Point Reyes, and Yosemite. 

Before making a trip out west, check out NC IDEA’s Resource Guide for a list of programs, accelerators, investors and coworking spaces that can help you stand out here in NC before you decide to venture out. 

If I can be of any assistance or answer any questions for other founders thinking about venturing out for the first time, just drop me a line: justin at snapyeti dot com. 
Thank you all for your feedback and encouragement! I’m happy to be back home in the land of the pines where this yeti belongs. 
The best is yeti to come… Beard out.