May 8, 2013

Learn how to fundraise your startup by doing it for a charity

I work for a big company, but in the past I’ve been an entrepreneur several times. Now I mentor for a few startups, and most of the time they’re struggling with one thing: FUNDRAISING.

Even the brightest and smartest people are not at ease when they need to find the money for their startup. It takes guts, and you can do it only if you strongly believe in what you’re trying to build.

My suggestion for you is to learn how to do it, by doing it for a charity first. The reason why? I am raising money for a charity NOW, and what I’ve seen is the same dynamics, same barriers, same problems that you would have if raising money for a startup.

These are the steps you have to go through:

1) Find donors Who is going to give you money? Friends? Colleagues? Write down a list. Get a sense of how much these people might be willing to donate. (same thing with startups: find angel investors) I selected friends and colleagues with which I’ve interacted in the recent past. I would find ODD to email someone that didn’t hear from me for the last few years, only to ask him for money.

2) Create a campaign, a message, a call to action What are you going to tell them? Well, X is a problem, and we need to solve it, and I need your help, and you can do Y to help. (same thing with startups: you are going to solve a problem with your startup, and you need money to do so)

3) Tell them What are you going to say? How are you going to contact them? How will you engage them, without annoying them? (same with startups: you cannot simply email someone and say: “Hey, gimme da money!”) This is the message that I’ve sent to my friends, to raise money for a charity. What do you think? Do you like it? I wanted it to be short, specific, and give people an easy “solution”: go to this site, spend 20 seconds of your time, and help out.

Dear friends, in early June 2013 I will climb the Kilimanjaro for a good cause: raising money to provide an education to street kids in Africa.

I know that your time is precious, so I’ll keep it short: go to this link below, and please donate as much as possible. It takes about 20 seconds to do so.

This will be my first and last email about it (these kind of things can be annoying otherwise); it’s your only chance to help, and I will thank you forever for that!

You can learn more about this initiative, and the nice people behind it, here:

All the very best,


4) Extra Well, why did I write this blog post? To share this thought with you, and to ask you something. Why don’t you donate 50$? It would be awesome! Thanks!

Feel free to discuss this on Hacker News.