There are Three Kinds of Founders, Which One are You?
This week has been particularly interesting because I’ve been working on capitalizing bundleIQ.
After several months of pitching and going through this process, I think I finally have enough information and experience to share some observations that may help your journey. At some point, I’ll likely write a multi-part series, but for now, here are the three kinds of founder archetypes I’ve identified and sorted by order of propensity — their ability to obtain funding.
The Founder Archetypes
Throughout my time fundraising, I found that there are essentially three kinds of people with varying abilities to attract funding.
1. The Doctor
2. The Veteran
3. The Newbie
Archetype number one, The Doctor, in my opinion, has the best shot at getting funding. This person looks excellent on paper; they have a solid academic resume with a minimum of post-graduate or a doctorate from one or more fancy schools. In addition to the degrees, this person has access to or personally possesses domain expertise within a particular industry. So much so that they can pinpoint a problem and attack it with precision.
For example, think, a medical doctor that recognizes the nuances of scanning and reading MRIs. This person has intimate knowledge within their field of study, and with an entrepreneurial mindset, they can quickly discover opportunities. Mind you, they don’t have to be a doctor. This person could be a student who has researched an area of science and is just coming out of school.
Have you ever heard of Stewart Butterfield? Archetype number two, The Veteran, is essentially someone like him. This person, too, has a stellar resume, typically having worked for a Fortune 500, previously started and exited a company, or is affiliated with a startup that got a lot of notoriety at some point.
This persona, too, can get funding pretty quickly because they have shown investors they were capable in a previous life. To that end, I literally had a VC on Sandhill Road say to me, “This sounds great, and all but you’re no Stewart Butterfield.” At the time, that statement got to me, but I appreciate the experience because it taught me a great lesson about people and positioning. You may be well aware; if you’re in the startup game, there’s a lot of energy around how you tell your story. Talking about your accomplishments is necessary even if that particular trait doesn’t come naturally.
I couldn’t come up with a better name for archetype number three than, The Newbie. For context, it’s not to belittle this kind of founder in any way. Take it for face value; this person is simply the newest to the game.
The Newbie is the one with the most significant discrepancy in knowledge. Not because they aren’t smart, they may be in many ways the most intelligent and most capable of them all. However, this persona’s challenge is figuring out how to play the fundraising game fast enough. Part of that means knowing how to pitch their big idea to the right investors pre-revenue or getting to at least $10k MRR before running out of money. I can’t imagine how many good products and founders go down because of lack of experience or professional cache. It happened to me once already, but I’m determined not to let it happen again.
Interested in learning more or have a question? Email me, email@example.com.