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3 founders discuss how to navigate the nuances of early-stage fundraising


Fundraising isn’t a monolithic event but rather a series of meetings and pleasantries, each with their own vibe and nuance. Yet many pieces of fundraising advice to founders paint the process with a broad brush.

We heard from three founders at TechCrunch Disrupt last week: Amanda DoAmaral, co-founder and CEO of Fiveable; Arman Hezarkhani, founder of Parthean; and Sarah Du, co-founder of Alloy Automation, each of whom has raised in the extreme highs and lows of last 18 months. They spoke about navigating the process, what worked (and what didn’t) and how to customize your pitch to navigate the many subtleties of fundraising.

For DoAmaral, it was important to spend time researching which investors may actually back her company. She said she’s had investors take meetings with her due to a warm intro despite having no actual intention to invest.

“My co-founder and I got in a car and drove down to Tennessee thinking we’re gonna get this check. And this guy didn’t even trust me to like, be an attendee at this event. They’re not writing the check,” DoAmaral recalled. “People are not going to take me seriously if they’re not going to see me as someone that is their equal at all.”

Du added that performing due diligence on potential backers beforehand is helpful, not only to find out whether they might actually invest in the company, but also if they will be good to work with. This is especially true for founders raising at the early stages who are looking at a long relationship ahead.

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