CEO’s job is a full-time fundraiser — and how we could change that

by Vadim Lidich

Posted on September 20, 2018

A story of how commitment to finding smart-money investors for our startup led to a business that is now helping others.

“CEO’s job is a full-time fundraiser”. I’ve heard this one a lot, but I’ve only truly experienced it when I had to spend several months fundraising for coSquare. It was a nightmare.

I was a first-time founder, and together with my co-founder we had no network or formal knowledge to approach fundraising systematically. It was a mess. We were throwing tomatoes at the wall to see what sticks, taking every meeting we could, and attending every conference that listed members of VC community as speakers or guests, just so we could catch up with them after, for a minute or two, while simultaneously using our bodies to block the exit, leaving investors no choice but to engage with us in the conversation.

Back at the office, we were trying to figure out how investors that we’ve just met could add value to our business beyond writing us a cheque. We were searching for “Smart Money” — investors who would understand our business aspirations, and would have the knowledge and resources to help us along the way.

But finding them wasn’t easy. We would start with public searches on Crunchbase and AngelList, and then had to manually research investor requirements for each stage of financing, look through portfolio companies and partner background to gauge industry expertise, and then traverse the web to find contact information or mutual connections who would give us an introduction.

Multiply that process by 20 investor leads a week, and we had a full-time job that needed to be taken care of for as long as we would have been fundraising — which in a startup world seems to be a never-ending process.

Needless to say, we’ve learned a lot. But we also sacrificed time with our customers, time building a product, and growing our business. It made us feel like we were in the business of raising money, rather than solving a real-world problem. It felt like there had to be a better way. Ironically, this is when we had a revelation:

“What if we could offer a service that would take into the account the needs of resource-constrained founders, and help them discover and connect with smart-money investors more efficiently?”

The problem we’ve experienced led us to start Airdyme.

Initially it was a collaboration of founders working under the same roof that kick-started this initiative: putting in long hours, collecting information about investors, their funds and portfolio companies, amalgamating partners’ and angels’ backgrounds, experiences and interests, and developing a technology that would make it easy for founders to use that information during their fundraise.

What came out was a quick and easy way for startups to discover smart-money investors, who would understand and relate to the problem that team is trying to solve, who would have an experience working with similar companies, and who would add value by leveraging years of experience and extensive network from a related industry.

We turned a problem, that stood in a way of us, and many other founders, into the quest to help startups get the right investment, and turn their aspirations into reality.

So what can we do to make it happen? We have recently launched in beta, and are actively working to provide our clients with:

  • A curated list of investors, delivered to inbox
  • Detailed overview of each investor, including investment requirements, partner background, related previous investments, and even contact information
  • For those joining us during our beta — a personalized pitch-deck review session

Ultimately we are hoping that Airdyme will help founders save time, narrow down the list of potential investors to those who understand, and provide all the information to make research process instantaneous.

If you’ve read this far, then you probably care about the issue discussed. Perhaps you even experienced it first-hand. If so, I’d like to ask you a small favour: leave a comment, ping us, let’s start a conversation.

And if you’re a founder that’s looking to raise, leave your email and join our beta community today.

Good luck!