Startup Fundraising Tips from Geoff Ralston

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This article is a summary of a YouTube video "Fundraising Fundamentals By Geoff Ralston" by Y Combinator
TLDR Raising money for a startup requires research, preparation, and negotiation to secure the best outcome and attract the right investors.

Fundraising Strategies and Techniques

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    To successfully fundraise, startups need to figure out their story and why they will matter in the future, and then find the right investors who care about that story.
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    Fundraising is a process of iteration and finding the right investor who resonates with your story or is willing to write a check first.
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    The best time to raise money is when you don't need it, as investors see the big opportunity.
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    When raising money, assume it's the last time you'll ever be able to raise and raise enough to get to profitability.
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    Meeting investors requires doing homework and knowing what they care about to capture their attention in the first few minutes.
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    One of the marks of a successful fundraiser is they get better and better every meeting they have, so it's important to take in feedback and improve every time.
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    The definition of good traction depends on growth, not just revenue: "They would much rather see someone with a hundred thousand dollars in revenue. They grew that over the past month."
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    The purpose of fundraising is to achieve specific milestones and goals, such as hiring staff and reaching revenue targets.

Investor Relations and Expectations

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    VC exists because there's a market for it and the returns can be really big.
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    The best investors want to invest in startups before they have traction because it's cheaper for them.
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    Conversations with angel investors who invest their own money can be different from those with VCs who invest professionally with limited partners.
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    Fundraising should not be the main focus, as building great products that customers love is the most important thing.
  • 📈
    YC's $150,000 investment does not handicap companies as the average cap tends to be over 8 million and the value increase and probability of success from YC outweighs any perceived handicap.


  • What resources are available to help succeed in raising money for startups?

    — Raising money for startups is difficult and unpredictable, but there are lots of resources available to help you succeed.

  • How can I attract the right investors for my startup?

    — To attract the right investors, you need to figure out the story of your startup, do research to get product market fit and growth, and find the right investors.

  • What is the best way to secure funding for a startup?

    — The best way to secure funding for a startup is to raise money when you don't need it, as this attracts investors. Additionally, raise enough money to get to profitability or hit persuasive milestones for future rounds.

  • What is the importance of storytelling in raising money for startups?

    — Investors invest in you and your story, so it is important to build a compelling and believable story around the key points of your startup.

  • What is the recommended approach for fundraising in the US?

    — It is recommended to create a US entity for fundraising in the US, as it removes barriers to investment. However, there is also a venture community in London that may understand your business better.

Timestamped Summary

  • 💰
    Research investors, create a pitch, and negotiate to raise money for your startup.
  • 💰
    Startups need capital to grow, and raising money when you don't need it is the best way to attract investors and secure funding for your future.
  • 💰
    Choosing the right valuation and understanding the implications of equity vs convertible notes is key to successful fundraising and avoiding over-dilution.
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    Start with debt, then seed round, then equity rounds, and potentially an IPO, and capture investors' attention in the first minute or two with a prototype or demo to tell your story.
  • 🤝
    Prepare thoroughly and be honest when negotiating with investors to maximize the outcome.
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    Incorporate to remove barriers to investment and choose the right investors for long-term success when raising money, using convertibles for speed and equity for fiduciary management, and be credible when telling your story.
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    Investing in a post-money safe, connecting with investors through introductions, and having customers who can serve as references are important for successful fundraising.
  • 🤑
    Research angels and VCs, explain your company's configuration, and YC investment doesn't handicap you - just understand the cost and don't worry about long-term projections.
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This article is a summary of a YouTube video "Fundraising Fundamentals By Geoff Ralston" by Y Combinator
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