By Josh Christy
Every startup is challenged with resources. Time, money, and expertise is required to get an idea to your first paying customer. It is easy to look at an investor as a quick path to solving the money problem, however, I’d challenge that it isn’t always the best path.
After an investment you have someone holding you accountable. When you take on an investor you now have someone else who has a claim to ownership, shares, and has a voice in key decisions. You no longer set your own goals, strategy, milestones, and pace. Did you really start your own company to answer to someone else?
There isn’t an investor type. Some become collaborative partners and even mentors, some are nagging insensitive critics. Some help, some don’t. Think about it from their shoes, have they invested in other companies before? Is this their first investment? Selecting an investor is as much as vetting them as they are vetting you.
You are now on a path to raise more money and sell. That’s why we always talk about exit strategies. You can be the world’s happiest, healthiest, most cash-independent company, but your investors won’t be happy until you get them cash back in multiples.
Does money in the bank hurt you? When you have a pile of money to work against, are you being as scrappy and focused on product and revenue? It’s easy to say we have 12 months of runway in the bank and just focus on product (or wherever you naturally gravitate to) and aren’t talking to your customers about the problems you are solving.
At the end of the day finding an investor is certainly a path for success for some. I’d question is it the best path for growth in your business? We haven’t taken on an investor yet, and don’t think we will.