What it Takes to Raise Series A Today

A young CEO of growing seed-stage startup in Ukraine asked (and me to answer) an interesting and important question on Quora.  Thought I’d share my thoughts more broadly as you may find it useful.

Question: How did you raise a Series A round for your first startup? What lessons did you learn?

At Series A the expectation is that the basic unit economics of your business have been figured out, the model is profitable (though it is highly unlikely the overall business is yet), and there is a significant market FOR your product AND noticeable market acceptance OF your product (fast growth). If you are not there yet, build the relationships but don’t shop your deal yet. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make sure you use your Seed money to get the above done and nothing else.

So that’s WHAT you need to pitch. The WHO you need to pitch are funds focused on your region and market with no competing products with (hopefully) a good reputation. You will reach them through introductions who can vouch for you. Of course you can always make your business so fast growing and visible that they will come to you.