Using this approach, we were able to finalize the write up in 2 days. I highly recommend taking advantage of Google Docs.
With a backing of over $300k and our deal overview set, finally, on November 9th, Startup Pitch Deck Kyle’s syndicate for Bliss was approved!
Syndicate Launch - The 24 Hour Sprint
On Tuesday November 10th, we launched Kyle’s syndicate to invest in Bliss.
At 9am PT (Kyle suggested this time as he felt this was the optimal time for all U.S. time zones) Kyle kicked things off by emailing roughly 400 investors who had backed or followed him on AngelList. To our surprise, we raised over $100,000 from 8 investors in 5 minutes!
My immediate strategy was to reach out to investors that I have a close relationship with, including investors from the Batchery, who had already invested in Bliss through it’s accelerator program and where our team is headquartered.
By lunch, a few of my contacts jumped in and invested and our total amount raised grew to $129,000.
Adding fuel to the fire, we were lucky enough to be a featured investment on AngelList. I leaned in through social media, emails and texts highlighting the exposure - http://edition.cnn.com/search/?text=exposure .
You can’t plan to be featured on AngelList. This was pure luck. It may have helped that we launched the syndicate close to Thanksgiving. Fundraising around the holidays, in general, is challenging, so perhaps there was a slow down on other syndicates investing in new deals to avoid slow traffic.
I stayed in front of my computer until 2am making sure I quickly responded to any inbound emails from investors and reached out to individuals that downloaded our pitch deck to review.
Tip* Allow your pitch deck to be downloaded from your AngelList profile. This is great for investor lead generation. Here’s the deck we used during the syndicate https://docsend.com/view/xgmz8hp
We had 43 investors check out our pitch deck - https://www.nexea.co/list-of-investment-companies-in-malaysia-2020/ on day 1 and I reached out to them all with a personal email. I took their information (name & email) provided by DocSend and found out more about them on Twitter and LinkedIn. On average each initial email took ~5 minutes to write, given the research I did to add a personal touch. In total this took me about 3.5 hours on the first night of the syndicate.
Day 2 - The Chaos Continues
I woke up Wednesday to find the syndicate maxed out at $200,000! More than $50k came in from another 15 investors.
A handful of the investors were completely random, but others were a direct result from my email strategy (from DocSend) from the night before. The personalized emails paid off!
Because it had only been 24 hours since we launched the syndicate and we felt there was still strong demand, we increased the syndicate allocation to $250,000.
Once again, I spent most of the day in email - answering one-off questions from potential investors and reaching out to people who downloaded our deck.
Adding to the craziness, a few syndicate investors unexpectedly started to Tweet about their investment in Bliss.
This inspired me to reach out to other Bliss investors encouraging them to drive awareness to the deal as well.
We ended day 2 with $223,000 raised from 29 investors.
Day 3 to Day 6 - The Big Slowdown
Given the momentum from the past 48 hours, getting to $250,000 was a lot harder than we anticipated when we increased the amount.
Small amounts trickled in… $1,000 here, $1,000 there.
I realized I needed to step it up a notch. I blocked off the weekend to focus on investor conversations, taking Skype calls with interested investors from Singapore, London, Dubai.
With a full week of sales meetings - http://imgur.com/hot?q=sales%20meetings ahead (and my wife 40 weeks pregnant!) I had to make things happen over the weekend.
By Sunday (day 6) we maxed the syndicate out at $250,000 from 42 investors.
With a week left until we planned to close the syndicate and verbal interest still coming in from our contacts, we asked AngelList for one last increase on the syndicate allocation to $300,000.
The Last Week - Ups and Downs
At this point, a week in, the significant inbound investor interest was over, but because Bliss was still featured on the AngelList homepage we did generate a couple new investor leads each day.
Instead of a random, spray and Pitch Deck pray, outreach strategy, I focused on existing interest from investors. I started by reaching out to investors that have backed Kyle’s syndicate, but were undecided on making an investment in Bliss.
I also reached out to all investors that followed our profile page on AngelList.
Both strategies yielded additional investors.
Ultimately, this last week was slow for the syndicate, Pitch Deck with just a handful of investors participating for smaller amounts. 93% of the investments came in from the first week (what a wild ride that week was).
While the syndicate itself had materially slowed down it still had a major impact on our seed round in other ways. A few angel investors I had pitched prior to the start of the syndicate, and who had been undecided on making a direct investment in our seed round, ended up making the decision to invest! The syndicate helped get these investors to a "yes."
Tip* It helps to close your round of funding near the close of the syndicate. This not only influences direct investors that you have been talking to, but it also helps you manage your time and energy with your capital raise.
Final Results from raising money on AngelList for two weeks:
> $268,000 raised from 57 investors through Kyle York’s syndicate.
> $140,000 from 4 investors with a direct investment in our seed round.
Final Thoughts and Takeaways
While raising this amount of money in a short time may seem easy to most, keep in mind that it took me 5 years to get featured on AngelList and more than 5 months to convince Kyle to invest in Bliss through his syndicate.
For most founders (including me), raising money on AngelList is not an easy task. Just like fundraising in general you need a great story, team and traction to have a chance at a successful fundraise. You also need perseverance and a bit of luck.
Like I said, I pursued being featured on AngelList for 5 years with multiple startups. I pursued our syndicate lead for half a year! And Startup Pitch Deck once we got Kyle interested, we still needed to convince him to lead the syndicate personally (remember - the SaaS syndicate passed on us - "too early").
Luck played a big part in the success of our fundraise once we got started. We were lucky to be featured on AngelList for the entire two week period that our syndicate was live, which drove a lot of awareness to our deal and a ton of inbound investor interest that we otherwise, Pitch Deck most likely, would not have received.
Top tips for having a successful AngelList syndicate fundraise:
Chose a great syndicate lead. Kyle was simply awesome. He spent a ton of time before the launch of the Bliss syndicate getting investors excited about the deal, relentlessly hustling during the deal and was thorough in understanding our business (5+ months of due diligence!).
Be responsive and thoughtful on communication. I made it a point to respond to all inbound interest quickly (same day) and I personalized all correspondence (by researching each person). This paid off - literally!
Fill out your AngelList profile as thoroughly as possible. From the first day we launched Bliss, in March of this year, Startup Pitch Deck I’ve kept our profile up to date with complete details on our company, multiple screen shots of our product, new hires, revenue, etc. This saved me a lot of time when our syndicate got approved by AngelList as all of our company information was up to date.
Close the syndicate as quickly as possible. Most of the momentum will happen in the first couple days, so wrap it up in short manner and get back to work! The Bliss syndicate was open for two weeks and Pitch Deck - https://www.qoocle.com/groups/10-new-definitions-about-new-venture-pitch... it felt too long, if I were to do it over again I’d aim for 1 week.
Be prepared for a lot of "No’s." Most of my personal contacts said no and the reality is, most of yours will, too. Don’t get discouraged. Fight through the adversity.