The Art of Seed and Series A

A Fireside Chat with Daniel Kan and Qasar Younis

Qasar Younis, former COO at Y Combinator, Daniel Kan, Co-Founder of Cruise Automation, and Erik Torenberg, Co-Founder of Village Global know fundraising. Younis and Torenberg have personally invested in and advised over 100 companies as angels and through YC & Village Global respectively.

Daniel Kan has raised $2.25 billion from SoftBank with an additional $1.1 Billion committed from GM to advance autonomous vehicles at Cruise.

We thought it would be fun to invite our founders for a fireside chat at Atrium to discuss all things fundraising, with a specific focus on bridging the gap between Seed and Series A.

Here’s what the group discussed:

Every Fundraising Process is Different

The Series A fundraise is hard and it takes time. You have to run it as a “deliberate process” and “a project to be managed,” said Daniel Kan. Set a deadline, assign a team, create milestones, and make a decision. Don’t wing it.

Seed is About Vision: Series A is About Numbers

The milestones and metrics required to land a $5M+ check are very different than the “great idea and great team” needed to raise your Seed. Your metrics don’t matter when you don’t have a product. Your job at Seed is to tell your story. The team, market, vision, and potential is how you land your first check. Series A, on the other hand, is all about traction. You need to show your numbers. It’s a data driven pitch.

The Brand of Your Seed Investor Matters to Series A Investors

Qasar mentioned the best indicator beyond strong metrics for Series A investors is often the brand of your Seed or Angel investors who led the first round. Strong introductions from firms or partners with notable brands help.

Fundraising is an Art Not a Science

The theme that came up over and over again during the course of the evening: It depends. There’s no such thing as perfect terms, the perfect VC, the perfect valuation target, or runway mandate that you must follow. Every company is different. With fundraising advice, it’s important to make it your own.

If you’re an early-stage founder looking for financing, you can apply to Village Global here.

The fundraising fireside chat was held in partnership with Atrium (A tech enabled law firm for venture backed startups)

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