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Written by: Dan Dragicevich


Jensen Huang, the founder of Nvidia, once said to a room full of soon-to-be Stanford grads, “Resilience matters in success…”

While Huang’s words captured an important truth about the entrepreneurial journey as a whole, they also highlighted a key characteristic that every founder needs during their fundraising journey.

I meet dozens of early-stage founders every week who are all looking to raise venture capital. Some have been on the trail for a few months, a few weeks, and some just a few days, however, after hearing Huang’s message, I began to realize that resilience is not only an internal trait but can be also conveyed through how founders fundraise and speak to their business. if you’re raising venture capital and meeting prospective investors, keep the following tips in mind to let your resiliency shine through.

Plan ahead and start early: Founders should expect to be fundraising anywhere from 4-6 months, maybe longer in some instances. This is important because the closer you get to the end of your runway, the louder your fundraising clock ticks. Investors tend to pick up on how loud your clock is ticking and it can make securing capital very difficult. Fundraising always takes longer than anyone wants it to. To be resilient, you have to give yourself a shot to win so do yourself a favor and plan ahead.

Lean into the “pains” of building a business: VCs understand that there will be countless challenges in the early stages of a company and a large number of them will even pivot dramatically – don’t shy away from this. VCs want to know that you have already dealt with some level of adversity and have made it through the other side. The more you can demonstrate your resilience the more of a relationship you’ll develop with that VC.

Manage your expectations: During Huang’s speech, he mentions that “people with very high expectations have very low resilience…” He also mentions that he has very low expectations for himself which is one of the reasons why he has become successful. The lesson behind this message is that founders who think fundraising will be easy and that they will secure funding in 2 months tend to be less resilient. Greatness comes from pain and suffering and that pain needs to be embraced. Once embraced, resilience will follow.

If you’re an early-stage founder looking for insight into how ‘fundable’ your company is, take our free Fundability Analysis.


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