A founder shared his fund-raising journey with me today. In the last two weeks, he’s gone from zero traction to conversations with multiple firms and a likely path to getting his round closed. Anything could happen between now and funds being wired, but I was curious about what changed in the last two weeks, so I asked. The founder said he’s been more intentional about expanding his network. He volunteered to speak at NOEW because he knew lots of investors would attend. He met with folks leading up to the event and during it. As his network expanded, the possible paths to getting his round done proliferated.
Networks and relationships can have a big impact on the trajectory of a company (not just on fund-raising). Knowing the right person, or the right person knowing that you exist, can lead to doors being opened that were previously closed and to amazing opportunities. Building external relationships isn’t the focus of a CEO, but it’s something they should be mindful of and intentional about. Especially if they’re fund-raising.
If you’re a founder looking to build something great, try to build a network before you need it—or build strong bonds with a few key people who have large networks. As your network expands, your company’s possible paths to success will multiply.