When you decide to build a successful startup, you sign up for a lot of work: late nights, long weeks, less-than-ideal working conditions, wearing multiple hats, and going gray a lot earlier than you initially planned. Through it all, you learn to celebrate the wins.
One of the most exciting things to celebrate is a successful fundraise. Unfortunately, along with the publicity of a startup fundraising, comes a wave of irrelevant emails looking to capitalize on your success. Fundraising, at any stage, is a key trigger for inbox overload from unknown senders and unsolicited emails of every stripe: sales pitches, random recruiter emails, and outsourced services.
Recently, I heard from Kris Rudeegraap, CEO of Sendoso, that he and his executive team get hundreds of emails every time they raise money.
One of my fellow co-founders at Spiff told me that after a recent raise, his email inbox felt like a “real-time Twitter feed:” messages were pouring in from people trying to book meetings with him.
You raise money and everyone wants a piece of your time. They all begin jockeying for your attention; it’s a problem.
Here are five things I’ve found to be universally true at early-stage companies:
The day after the raise, though, I learned one more lesson:
6. Each successful fundraise comes with an unwritten term written by the rest of the world that reads: “When funds have been raised, it is now time for us to sell you our solution.”
In the first week after our raise, I spent hours cleaning out my inbox. Everyone and their friend was reaching out to “congratulate” me by selling a lead gen tool, development services, or office furniture.
I’ve seen this process repeat itself four times as we have now raised over $70M from some of the world’s top funds. Each time, I am bombarded with hundreds of emails “congratulating” me on our accomplishment and wanting to help me “put those funds to good use.”
When you raise money, it’s a massive, public indicator for any outbound sales rep that you are growing and have funds to spend.
However overwhelming and time-consuming the email onslaught might be, there is likely somevalue sprinkled in that flurry of emails.
Look carefully and you may see tools helpful to you and your team, honest and sincere congratulations from friends and colleagues, and people wanting to connect who really can add value to your network.
It’s just hard to focus on because of the massive volume. Valuable messages are often missed, overlooked, or deleted because you just need to see your inbox clean again.
Raising money in no way means you have more time, so how do you focus your efforts when the emails are pouring in?
Having gone through this experience repeatedly, I’ve discovered a few simple steps that make the process more bearable:
Fundraising should be a celebration. But to enjoy the moment, you have to prepare for what's coming immediately afterward. Recognize that fundraising will trigger an overwhelming amount of email.
You need to be prepared to both eliminate the noise and surface the messages that have value. You never know if a message from the next big investor or advisor might be in your inbox...so to be prepared like the Boy Scouts, add the Gated email management tool to your inbox now!
Learn more about Tanner, his work, and how Gated has been "almost literally life-changing" for him as an early Gated user.
Spiff is a new class of software that creates trust across the organization by delivering real-time automation of commission calculations and motivates teams to drive top-line growth. With a combination of an intuitive UI, real-time visibility, and seamless integrations into current systems, Spiff is the first choice among high-growth businesses. Spiff's sales compensation software enables finance and sales operations teams to self-manage complex incentive compensation plans and provides transparency for sales teams.
Originally published: August 25, 2021