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An Investor’s Rendition of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Peanuts Christmas Panorama by Kevin Dooley

by Travis Cocke (sourced from Seth Levine)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a banker was lending, not even “Gold-Man”
Foreclosures were hung by the courthouse with care
In hopes that Hank Paulson soon would be there.

The Bankers were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of bonuses danced in their heads.
And my teachers in their offices and me in my room
Had just settled an argument about the depth of the gloom

When out on Wall Street there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter
Away to the computer I flew like a flash!
Started up the ticker, and threw up some cash…

The i-banks on the brink of another bad blow
Sell all your stocks and look out below!
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear?
Green on the screen as the Fed interfered

With the same old chairman, so ready to lend
I knew in moment it must Big Ben
More dovish than Greenspan, his governors they came
And he printed and lended and called them by name!

“Now Lockhardt! now, Lacker! now, Evans and Plosser!
On, Geithner! On, Fisher! On Yellen and Krosner!
To the Treasury! To the Mile High Mint!
Now print away! Print away! C’mon now print!”

As credit spreads that before defaults do fly
When they meet with an obstacle, they drop green from the sky
So up to the Capitol the governors they flew,
With a chopper full of money, and Rick Wagoner, too.

And then, in an e-mail I read from a friend
Capitalism was dead, and this was the end
As I sold my last stock and started to cry
On the TV came Buffett and he said “Time to buy.”

He was bullish on stocks, from Nike to CVX
And his portfolio was tarnished with options and CDS
A bundle of buyouts he had flung on his back
And he looked like a genius, just following his knack

His stocks how they fell! His returns how scary…
Yet his cash-how it swelled! And His letters so merry…

He was chubby and cheerful, a right jolly investor
And I smiled when I saw him, despite my dreadful semester
A twinkle in his eye and the use of his cash
Soon gave me the know that stocks wouldn’t crash

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
Shoring up balance sheets, and buying preferreds
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, UP & UP Berkshire rose!

He sprang to his NetJet, to his pilot gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove into the sky,
“Happy Trading to all, and to all a good buy!”

Featured Image by Kevin Dooley

Founders & Funders: Nov 18, 2014

beerwall

It’s that time again – to bringing together the people that start emerging technology businesses and the people that fund them, early.

Who should attend?

Uhm, yeah. Founders & Funders.

Founders

You are a founder of a emerging technology company or a technology-enabled company. You are actively raising a round of capital or starting to think about raising your next round. Feels like we’re leaning to Seed and Series A – basically if you’re name is Tobi or Ryan most investors know who you are ;-)

Funders

Space for funders will be limited. We have room for approximately 60 people. And we like to keep the ratio of 3:1 founders to funders. This means we roughly have room for 15 funders. We’re going to be picky, the target will be Seed and Series A.

Why should you attend?

Relatively small and intimate gathering of other emerging technology company founders and the people that fund them. The funder mix ranges from individuals that write first and very small cheques to larger institutional funds.

  • Social event – no formal pitches
  • Community is the framework – chance to talk to other founders about the current fundraising climate

What to expect?

It is a chance to have a bite to eat and a drink with other founders and investors that are actively investing in Toronto companies. It’s a chance to figure what has worked for others, to figure out which investors you want to spend more time with, and just connect.

How do I attend?

Submissions will end on Nov 10.

How we raised a $2MM seed round in 2 weeks

CC by Dino Quinzani

This is a guest post by Mike Katchen, founder of Wealthsimple, Canada’s first online investment manager. He recently moved back from San Francisco where he led marketing at 1000memories (YC S’10, acquired by Ancestry.com).

In May, we raised a $2MM seed round for Wealthsimple (and didn’t really tell anyone). It took us 2.5 weeks to raise from 15 amazing investors in Toronto including David Ossip, Dan Debow, and Roger Martin. Here are a few tips based on what I think we did right.

Note: Table stakes for seed rounds are a good idea (in a massive market) and a killer team.

1. Find your lead investor early.
Most first-time founders I know make the same mistake. They think that fundraising is about convincing investors of the merits of your idea and the strength of your team. Unfortunately, that’s bullsh*t. Investors follow the herd. They care more about who else is investing than what you do as a company. When you start to fundraise, laser-focus on getting your first investor. Don’t go broad until you have your lead lined up.

I met our lead investor the day we started fundraising. He is an icon in the financial services industry. We got him on board through a combination of special terms and appealing to him emotionally about building his industry “legacy”. It took 2 meetings over 1 week to get him to sign. Once he was in, it took 1.5 weeks to close the round.

2. Your angel investors don’t have to be in tech.
We closed our round with 14 angel investors, only 5 are from tech. The other 9 are from financial services. I see lots of entrepreneurs focus exclusively on local tech angels and VCs like those listed in this great post by David Crow. That’s a mistake. Look for successful entrepreneurs and executives in your industry – you’re likely to find a sizeable group of potential investors that actually know your business. A few industries with strong local investors include real estate, financial services, professional services, and healthcare.

3. Most decks suck. Make yours good.
A compelling deck is short, clear, and well designed. If you have a solid story (don’t forget the table stakes above), then tell it in 4-5 pages: (1) what you do, (2) market size, (3) team, (4) growth plan, (5, optional) competition. Here’s our pitch. You can also find great examples at bestpitchdecks.com. Keep it short, pretty, and exciting.

4. Set a deadline.
Fundraising has a nasty habit of dragging on. As soon as you have your lead investor, set a closing date (2-3 weeks out) and use that to drive urgency with other investors. You don’t have to stick to it, but you’ll find that things move way faster with a deadline.

5. Put some money in yourself (if you can). It goes a long way.
The Wealthsimple team were the first investors in our seed round. If you can afford it, investing in your own round goes a long way. It signals to investors that you are committed, aligned, and will be a responsible steward of their capital. Surprisingly few teams invest in their own rounds so it can also help you stand out.

Let me know if you have any tips to add or want to discuss fundraising strategies – always happy to chat. You can reach me at [email protected] or @mkatchen