Read part two here…
The thing about raising capital is that it completely and utterly takes every single ounce of your being. Once committed to the round you have to pour every second of every minute of every day into making sure that you achieve your goal. This is tough.
It means taking time away from actually building the company. Getting customers! And exploring new markets. But needs must and the past few weeks has had us continue our journey towards closing our first funding round.
Bex has spent a lot of time up in the big smoke talking to interested investors and helping them with their due diligence. The work doesn't stop once the pitch is over, in fact it is merely the tip of the iceberg and Bex has many more trips up North planned to make sure she's done everything she can do to ensure we are successful. We currently have our heads down and bums up fulfilling the due diligence requirements set out by the Icehouse which means answering some tricky questions about our competitive landscape, channels to market and market projections.
Aside from the Showcase, we spent most of last week in Queenstown. I know, I know, someone has to do the tough gigs....pitching at the NZTE Pitch on a Peak event held up at the Skyline. Pitch on a Peak was run as a precursor to the Asian Business Angel Forum (ABAFNZ) which spanned the rest of the week and saw delegates from around the globe hit our shores and participate in a thoroughly mind-blowing two day event. I was lucky enough to attend this forum and went away from it both energised and inspired. Getting an insight into the minds and thought processes of some of Asia’s most successful angels was extremely valuable from the perspective of both an entrepreneur and an early stage start-up. Mind officially blown.
Image: Bex Twemlow, director and founder of Hail, and onboarding specialist, Paul Twemlow.
Bex pitched exceptionally well and we had a flurry of activity on our stand. Again, follow up is where the real work begins and Tom, our lead designer spent his weekend working up a demo for one of the angels.
While the focus is firmly set on closing a successful funding round, Bex still has to think long term and maintain a strategic focus on the business as a whole. Nailing down what our team structure will be and making decisions around additional recruitment are imperative to Hail’s success. We have also set up a new CRM system (customer relationship management) to enable us to successfully track leads, record customer support enquiries and solutions and provide efficient follow-through for our onboarding process. CRM's are not pretty to set up! And suffice to say that me and Insightly are not friends just yet, but I can see that with time and nurturing we will begin to regain our trust in one another and form a beautiful and mutually beneficial partnership.
We are continuing to push out upgrades and new features to our customer base while all of this is going on and now have a very detailed roadmap set up in Trello (a collaborative project- based tool) to track our priorities. While this has to remain somewhat fluid in nature to enable us to respond to bugs and support needs, it has certainly helped us to focus more on what is the most important thing on any given day, week or month.
I guess the best thing about this past month has been the necessity to be laser-focussed on getting things done. Implementing systems and processes to enable us to scale quickly and making sure our house is in order in terms of structure and strategy.
The funding round has been hard and definitely takes away from growth. It's certainly not something that a start-up should enter into lightly. And while we are remaining optimistic of a good outcome, we are also realistic and are planning for an alternative to a capital injection. Where there is a will there is a way, and ensuring we have options to grow is paramount to Hail’s success.