After co-founding Harry’s and Warby Parker, here’s the best advice I can give you about raising money

raise money jeff raider

Founders often need to know how to raise capital to grow and achieve their company goals.
Jeff Raider, who co-founded Harry’s and Warby Parker, has learned a number of things during the fundraising processes for these two companies, which combined have raised more than $700 million.
His advice is to first ask yourself, “Should I raise capital?”
From there, he outlines the entire process for raising money for a startup, from determining how much you need and finding investors, to what kind of capital you should raise.

I have the privilege of meeting with amazing founders who inspire me with their vision to build companies that truly transform their markets and make people’s lives better. Many of these founders require capital to grow and achieve their potential. Thus, I’m often asked about how to raise capital, and how to get the best outcome when raising money.

The world of fundraising can feel opaque, but it shouldn’t have to.

In the spirit of transparency, I want to share some of the things that I’ve learned over the course of past fundraising processes.

Before wading into this topic, I want to acknowledge that I’ve been really lucky. I’ve co-founded two companies: Harry’s and Warby Parker. Together, these companies have raised more than $700 million from major institutional investors.

Before I founded these companies, I worked in private equity investing, so I started out with a solid understanding of the investment process, and I had relationships with people in the investment world. My co-founders and I also had great guidance — from amazing co-founders, teammates, board members, and lawyers — and lots of luck along the way, so I try not to take any of that for granted.

With that said, and with the caveats that this reflects my own experience — and others may have different, but equally valid perspectives — I hope some of this advice can be helpful to anyone looking to raise capital.

So let’s dive in.

There’s a question I don’t think entrepreneurs ask themselves enough: ‘Should I raise money?’

People have often congratulated me and my co-founders after a big round of funding. But raising money isn’t a badge of honor. While it’s validating to have someone in our vision enough to invest in the company, outside capital is just fuel for a business to grow until it can exist in a self-sustaining way.

It’s a means to an end, not an end unto itself.

My co-founders and I have taken big swings at Harry’s and Warby Parker. We’ve opened more than 75 Warby Parker retail stores and have grown to over 1,000 people in only a few years. At Harry’s, we bought a 90+ year old, 420-person German razor blade factory, even though we’re just a 30-person startup in New York. And we’ve done all of this in highly competitive markets. As a result, we’ve felt it prudent to raise outside capital to enable us to grow quickly.

But raising lots of money isn’t necessarily right for every company. You may …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Tech

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