We recently completed a funding round for Spaces by Cerulean Labs.
As a pre-revenue start-up, capital raising represents a vital form of validation while recognising the increased risk the investors at this point are taking.
The process took around six months, with the first three months putting feelers out into the marketplace and making initial introductions.
To keep the business operating, we opened the round to existing shareholders and a handful of new investors while landing the bigger fish.
While we raised the majority of funds from four New Zealand Angel Groups, the process was reasonably straightforward with Ian Frame for Launch Taranaki and then Graeme Thomson from Manawatu Investment Group taking the lead to manage the internal processes with the Angel Groups.
In the end, we managed to get everything over the line with only a handful of Zoom meetings – I’m based in Budapest and the Angels are all New Zealand based. However, outside of the meetings, the efforts were a lot more time-consuming, with extensive materials and several top quality QA sessions.
The last part of the process was essentially mechanical with all the documentation and was more an administration task.
Having completed the process, with the money now in the bank, we have the runway to support our upcoming commercial launch.
Capital raising is a process that start-ups need to focus on regularly and well in advance of when funds are required. That said, Iâ€™m looking forward to a slight pause from capital raising where I can focus on our business goals.
When developing software, there is always more you can do, more features you can add, more bugs you can fix, more improvements to existing tools.
This can quickly spiral into a situation where you want to do “just one more thing..” before you release.
This is a slippery slope and one the requires discipline to avoid.
Donâ€™t get me wrong, no one wants to release low-quality bug-filled software, but it comes down to focus and prioritisation as with everything.
There is always an endless supply of ideas when it comes to new features and improvements, but again you can fall in the trap of releasing features customers donâ€™t want.
This is what “shipping” is a critical part of the development process. Regularly releasing software is a habit and forces you to push features out to users sometimes earlier then you want.
Shipping regularly is hard but worthwhile.
The pay-back though through the user feedback loop is a critical part of the development process. User feedback is a key input for prioritisation.
Shipping regularly forces you to bite of small pieces of functionality and gain insights – pulling you back on track where necessary and avoiding wasted effort.
Shipping is a very rewarding activity. While things aren’t always perfect – and someone crashed your app within hours of release – the great thing about regularly shipping is your ability to make the required fixes and get them out into the market quickly with the next release.
While we always strive for perfection and to be better, it is refreshing to know the next release is only a matter of weeks, not months, away, which also reduces pressure on testing.
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