Diary of a start-up Part 4: Farewell, frank thoughts and the very close funding finishing line
(Read part three here)
The fallout of such a mission is not to be underestimated either. With uncertainty a daily thing, plan B discussions avoided (but still necessary), and the inevitable crunch time looming, for some it becomes all too much. The short of it is we have experienced a ‘fallen soldier’ and it is with a great big sad-face that we have said farewell to Lou Donnelly-Davey — our chief commercial officer, and the amazing content writer/storyteller you have been following on this blog until now.
We are realists here at Hail and while we will miss Lou immensely, she is heading to another truly amazing Dunedin-founded, yet-to-be-announced company. With our knowledge of their phenomenal product, amazing global success to date and the big plans these guys have, even we have to admit that we are worlds apart.
Lou played an integral role in all you have seen of Hail for the last six months, connecting us with VCs, following the convoluted processes required to secure pitching opportunities at both Queenstown and IceHouse Showcase, getting the collateral together, content and imagery identification (no small task) and putting a whole lot of time into processes. Thank you Lou. Seriously, you rock.
When things like this happen in business – and particularly in a start-up – I believe they need to be treated as an opportunity and a kick up the bum. Result? Reflect (for a short time, mind you) on what happened, why it happened and how we work to ensure we don’t repeat any mistakes. We held an exit interview, we listened and although some things aren’t within our control (like long-term stability) there are certainly things we can improve upon – and will.
In other news…
The close of our investment round is coming up quickly – 13th November in fact. Term sheets are being formulated, statutory declarations are being ratified and we are moving on from general conversations to far more specific, detailed commitments…it feels closer than it ever has!
Growth-wise, we have welcomed a big bunch of new customers – some of which have been purely organic! A beautiful and uplifting thing for our team is seeing the effort that has been put into our on-boarding process working — customers finding us, setting up an organisation and publishing a website and newsletter in less than two hours! New customers include a bunch of new schools (Balmac Intermediate, Amesbury School and Saint Pauls included), a Monthly Catholic Magazine and a Stamp Out Bullying group…think we might have our vertical markets well and truly sorted!
The next week is all about this funding round. Frankly speaking, ‘plan B’ isn’t what we all went into this for. With an even more cemented belief in what we are doing here I plan on the next blog celebrating the shift from funding round to funded!