I'm getting a seed investment soon. Any advice?


#1

I’m getting an investment anytime soon. 8m for 10%. The company hasn’t launched yet. We’re still in development phase and might launch in two months time. The 8m will come next month.

Is there any useful advice I can get from members of radar so I don’t screw myself or anything useful that will help me as I move forward?


#2

Congrats but spend wisely.


#3

[quote=“craigprins, post:1, topic:14474”]
8m for 10%
[/quote] Wa wu!..


#4

If my math is right: 8M Naira is around $23K and you giving this investor 10%
that put’s your pre-money valuation to $207,000 and post-money valuation at $230k

I will advice to use convertible note at $1M cap! instead of a priced round when your valuation is abysmal

Because if you’re going to raise another around at a priced round, before you know it… you’re out of Equity
and you’re just going to be an employee at the company you started. Get an advisor quick, quick

Or just negotiate 4.5% for the 8M which puts you at 500k valuation.

*it all depends on what type of business you running… *


#5

Congratulations on getting a start.

I am going to give it to you straight out. On how 3years ago when I saw lagos angel network offering 5M for equity. Even though I had maybe like 100k in my akant and was f**king broke. I sat down and knew this sort of money would get us into trouble, I told my colleagues then, this one na suffer money, I didn’t even bother pitching, I got to work. cos, especially when starting out, be ready with experiment money… money that will go away and surely won’t come back… so, if 3M don waka, and its so easy to waka… wetin i go tell lan and Glory to God. 50 employees and counting, and 30 Billy for the akant now…

Rule no. 1. Keep everything affordable. Extremely affordable.

For example: Don’t go and buy brand new computers. A basic intel celeron or pentium goes for over 80k brand new. Silly rookie move. Go for london used core i5. change to ssd if you can and get min. 4-6GB ram. This removes excuses from employees. And if you want; I can get you Hp pro book 6460b core i5 320GB 4GB for say 65k. holla. but I recommend ssd, system becomes 10x faster. Mine comes with 1year warranty. SO, good as new.

Same rule for furniture, cheap chairs… don’t go for poor quality o… simply go for second hand grade A quality.

  1. Keep everything affordable. Extremely affordable.

Don’t go look for expensive rent. if your folks have a place that is accessible to employees. stay free. rent. this is exactly what I did. My father gave me the backspace of his place, and I managed it practically till now. I used every space space I could see. This is not only about the money, but also the confidence that , at all at all, you can always fall back on something. It allows you to breath.

  1. Choose a great product!

I can’t over emphasize this. Choose a product that even when you can only do 1 round of marketing, the customer sees the value, and so they can probably buy in without further convincing. Cos, finding the right marketing strategy can be tricky, I nearly went mad on this. knowing fully well, I had a right product, but finding a way to get the market moving was tricky I failed like 3x… hired consultant(s), not 1 o…hired marketing boys… until I had to sit and try , and fail, then we found the right fit… and push and pushed… I give you another example. why is it that, everyone in oil and gas has money, cos, the product is right product. same thing with telecoms. … you can’t afford experimenting when you are broke. You got to give it your best… hit it hard with the right product. Best to probably consider a needs product. low margins but sure banker. and if you can innovate around it like we did… then even better…

  1. The real work. Work on your business not in it. Create a system driven result oriented process. Don’t go look for expensive employees.

Why? 1. You can’t afford to keep them for long even if you get them on board. 2. THey will wreck your finances. 3. They can only do so much. Messi or ronaldo can’t play all 11 positions, so best to be average 11 players than 1 messi . messi will jah commot.

This one is where you have to really shine yourself, else, you are f**cked. Cos, I had to learn training ssce olders. managing programmers, outsourcing, back to back, I learnt the essence of an organisational chart, position’s contract, workflow, checklist, goal oriented system. the System is the solution , in fact, still learning the matter: AT&T. In fact, this no. 4 is the primary reason why even when I was 25,000 customers and 5years ahead of jumia and konga, they still came pushed me away and nobody knew I existed. So, I had to really learn this by trial and error.

I created my own finance dept. HR, Customer Service, Operations, Sales, Marketing and so on and so on… BSC were too expensive and too in experienced that I still needed to train them, why waste my time with them when I can train a OND or SSCE older and get same result, cheaper, and sustainability.

5… Work Monday to SUnday, and sleep at work if you can. be absolutely committed. No eye blinking.

Cos, am the errand boy, the go to guy for everything…my father gave me an extra room, i left my adeniyi jones rented duplex (owing landlord anyways)… moved to 1 room, put a bath in there, and I sleep eat, built a kitchen and worked like a dog. … killed any social life… no clubbing except 1ce in a while… last time I was out of 9ja was like 6years ago… even though I have a 5year pali. my bro, no time to check time. Mentor sef dey hustle, networking to me is overrated if you have not done your homework.

  1. Have absolute faith, there’s actually a thin line between success and failure… in my experience, just a little thing, but takes absolute faith, the market won’t be faithful to the faithless founder. You got to look out for what makes you special.

  2. I almost forgot… know your market like nobody else… chai… this one is the killer… you can be broke but still be so knowledgeable about your market that you can use the knowledge to create magic. My bros, Dangote actually said this… he said… if they wake up 10 top guys now in dangote, they can recite everything about everything on how dangote is a big boy… and this is the key… know as he dey go.

Carry one or two people along… so sometimes you might need someone to cry to, or talk to, or even borrow from, it’s easier if you have 1 or 2 people who have emotionally bought into your idealogy than just a new guy…so, my guy jet and my bro c, were my go to guys… if I called jet now at 5am, and he had maybe 100k in his akant, I am 101% sure, he wont’ story me, he’ll leave his house and go to the atm and transfer to me, within 10mins. serious… now I am looking for go to guys in millions… sef… so, I do the same for him too… you see the problem in 9ja is that, there’s no liquidity. no banks, micro finance is shit… to raise just 1M is impossible except through friends and family… so keep the real one close, not the fake stingy ones o…and don’t owe them too o… be sure you are borrowing for short term stuff… don’t go and use their money to buy land that won’t give return back until 10years o…

Well, even though, I have only been to church like one or twice in last couple of years… I cannot rule out the favour of baba God… cos, I could have been a G boy… but the fear of God was what stopped me, so I will recommend in my opinion to believe in God…

Well, if I can find more later, I will add, for now. this is the little the last few years have taught me. Thank you.


#6

This is a very wrong mindset!!! … The dude has barely started.

@craigprins take the money and use it wisely. Sharphire took half of that for 15% as seed funding back in 2014. 3 years down the line we are worth at least 80x that. Best decision ever.

Take the money, watch the terms and get to work.


#7

Kudos bro. Last time I read this kind of excellent epistle was in BC. May we also know your business?


#8

@somtoifezue So because he’s just getting started, he shouldn’t try and negotiate to see if he could get a better deal. I sorry if my european mindset doesn’t sit well with you

So you believe Take any money that comes through is the mindset everyone should follow ?

Also like i said earlier it all depends on what type of business you running…

@craigprins : You should do what’s best for your company to move forward. Simple


#9

It’s in the bills payments space. Something like zoto or naira box


#10

It’s in the bills payment space… Something like zoto or naira box


#11

@craigprins find @Damola and buy him a bottle of orijin.
As someone who have been in your shoes couple of times, i will say these;

  1. Make a list of your budget…everything… computer,rent, internet, salary, marketing etc. Since your product is SaaS and it take some time to capitalize customers, you need a viable runway. Dont spend outside your budget…money flies.
  2. Ensure that with all your budget, you dont spend more than 50% in tge first 3months.
  3. Develop a more stringent goto market strategy. You must launch MVP in 30days and your stable in another 30. Dont be surprised ur assumptions differs after launch.
  4. Dont take a salary yet but have a fixed allowance for your upkeep.
  5. For everyone you employ, match their JD to the product roadmap. As in, what will they do now that will take the product to the market? Dont hire for future role.
  6. You must have a metric dashboard; what does it mean? the dashboard is where you interpret what success means to you as a business. Because this essentially is what your future raises will base on and your survival as a business.
  7. send monthly updates to your investors and advisors. Its critical because they need to know how you spend their money and then get them ready and excited for your next raise. Ask them for a referral, tweet blog etc.
  8. Shun media except to promote your business.
  9. Develop a sound marketing and sales plan. How do you get customers and how do you get them to pay?
  10. Start working on your processes…how do we get X done?
  11. etc…you can ask me a specific questions or slide into my inbox if you need more help.
    While you wait for the ALAT work as if you already have it…dont sweat it.

#12

Hey bro, congrats on the funds
I really got no advice man cos obviously for some dude/chick/organization to agree to 8m,your plan must have been off the chart and very impressive

What I want to know is where you met them. Is it family?..a startup competition you won? Or just everyday angel investors? And if yes,you got to pitch to them online, a conference gathering or something?


#13

Contact those MASAL folks for a full financial consultation on your business. They’ll tell you how to spend (save) your money. The consultation is free.

Their Twitter is @MASALFinance

Ps. I don’t work for them, but I know someone who does.


#14

Take the money, do party and invite all of us on Radar… Lol!

On a more serious note, it is good that you are already seeking advice before you start spending and that is kind of mentality that will help you succeed. I will only touch on product and financial management.

As much as some persons have said you should sit in your own corner and get things done on your own grind, I will dissuade you from doing that because there is no point repeating the mistakes of others.
Go out and meet other people that have done similar things or preferably have succeeded in the internet space, get a mentor or advisor who can tell you the cold hard truth, who can be more objective than even your investors.
Court your investors but maintain control over your business while you also carry them along.

Product - I am guessing the guys giving you 8m have already seen a viable product in your coffers. But issues about pricing, features and benefits, can be game changers or buggers if you do not get them right. How will product execution impact your client’s fulfilment? What is the upsell or cross-sell product you can derive from your current offering? How do you get client to make repeat purchases? These questions and more will plague in the early days.

Financial Management - You have been given good advice on how to not to spend the 8m. Let me share my own cost saving strategy with you (FYI - I have gotten over $3m in funding since 2012 till date).
Always push suppliers to the irrationally possible limit, you will be surprised how far they can go. Never make a spending decision by just talking to only one or two suppliers. Look for as many as five. Then, lock horns with two or three in a price war and let each know the other person is willing to take a lower price. Till you have the same price from all three. I learnt this from the Indians. You will always get the lowest price possible.
Hire a young accountant from a small audit firm, he will have all the insights and skills of a full financial manager but his inexperience will make it cheaper to hire him.

Tech - Do not use all your money to hire developers. Get a product manger who has a sales bias to lead the tech for your organisation. No need for CTO a product guy and a bunch of developers will do the trick.

Wish you Godspeed!


#15

Terrible Advice!! Without even knowing the context of the deal… or nature of business… or market or anything at all…


#16

so, I said I will add a little more as I remember.

Alafia loju. Health is wealth. In fact health is everything. what’s the use of the money if you are in a sick bed or 6 feet underground.

steve jobs, a brilliant man who was able to break between 6-8 different industry and had the best technology and tools at his disposal lost battle to cancer. In Nigeria, same with dora akunliyi, same with GTB founder tayo aderinokun

In nigeria where our health system is not so first class, we must worry more. Contrary to the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, WHO, of one doctor to 600 patients, Nigeria currently has a ratio of one doctor to 6,000 patients. Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/01/one-doctor-still-attends-6000-patients-nigeria-don/

I have been to Ikeja General hospital. Wait time is averagely 3 months. Unless it’s changed now.

Now it gets worse for we as startup founders or entrepreneurs especially as africans. Dozens of studies have drawn connections between sitting too long and diabetes, hypertension, some forms of cancer (especially in women), anxiety and a generally greater probability of early death. https://www.bloomberg.com/quicktake/dangers-of-sitting

I will share a personal story. in my early 20s. I used to sleep in exam hall, as a chemical engr. student of unilag. I didn’t really know why until this year. we are talking over 10years later. I had pre diabetes!

My grandma who is in her 70s has diabetes, my mother who is in her 50s has diabetes. and I also was prone to it, but for a fact also have it now. but I didn’t know.

And I should add this is common more than we know. most of us don’t know it yet…

I still ate rice like there’s no tomorrow. what else would I eat?.. I went to cold stone like weekly… dying small small., took noodles like its ok…I don’t even drink. I don’t know what hennessy take like.

It’s imperative you take charge of your health lifestyle from the word go if you can afford to.The primary goal of your business is to serve you. at least, that’s the story for me.

Thank you. Hope I have been of help.


#17

I have to save your comment and read it as my early morning Bible, this what entrepreneurs need to hear the f**king truth not those media stories of how they made it, Tell us how you started with a lot of details that is where the gems and insights are. :raised_hands::raised_hands::raised_hands::+1:


#18

Thanks everyone for the sound advice and especially @Damola you really took it personal and I appreciate. I’m planning a little private beta/soft launch and I’ll invite everyone on radar for a little small chops and hopefully get more one on one advice/test on the product itself.

I’ve read everything twice and I’ll still continue to read them till it sinks in.

Cheers.


#19

Congrats @cragprins.
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