14 months ago, we began FundBoard to contribute to reducing the glaring mismatch between where innovation potential lives in the world and the founders who raise capital to fuel that innovation.
The approach we took was straightforward:
1. Provide founders with a better database-plus-CRM for venture capital fundraising than exists in the market, for free
2. Build fundraising education and insight into our product, content, and events, for free
3. Follow in the paths of Carta and AngelList in providing a growing founder ecosystem with needed services and products, thereby paying for the free, scaleable products above for the entire community
In these last 14 months, we have tested the first two hypotheses about as fully as a small team can. This is due entirely to the quality of my cofounders and the community that supported us. After 200+ free 1-on-1 fundraising consultations with startups, dozens of AMAs and events with market leaders like Republic, Earnest, and OpenGrants, building a founder community of thousands across several platforms, and perhaps most importantly, signing up 10%+ of the founders fundraising in the U.S. to FundBoard’s beta over the last several months, we have come to the inescapable conclusion that this approach is fatally flawed in addressing the problem that we began FundBoard to push against. (This is not to say it’s fatally flawed for another team, with a different mission).
We have seen again and again that the greatest value we provide comes when we understand a founder and a startup well enough to personalize our feedback and direction. Again and again we’ve heard from a large population of founders who don’t want tools and blog posts to teach themselves to become expert fundraisers, they want someone to directly help them with their fundraising challenges. We’ve come to believe that it’s unnatural to ask the most elite value creators in the world to turn themselves into expert bankers for their own transaction in the span of a few months, while they’re expected to continue to grow their companies at breakneck rates on thin resources. This isn’t asked of the expert operators and value creators in any other sophisticated capital market.
Given these beliefs, we find ourselves with a new approach to moving the circles closer in that critical Venn diagram of ‘exceptional founders’ and ‘founders who raise capital’:
1. Work directly and intensely with startups that have great fundamentals but are not well positioned or resourced to solve their fundraising challenges themselves, i.e. the large crescent of exceptional founders who do not raise capital in the Venn
2. Structure that relationship to align incentives with founders and directly support the work being done
In the most unfortunate turn I’ve experienced in my professional life, the first year (or more) of exploring this new approach does not support a market-leading founder fundraising platform. As such, we’re no longer continuing work on www.fundboard.co as it exists today. We will be leaving all existing tools and content live and maintaining our communities for at least one year so that any founders who’ve come to rely on our tools are not left without them in the midst of a raise. Our entire team will be continuing on as advisors to make this possible.
In the meantime, we’ll be using our remaining capital to begin working directly and intensely with a small number of startups. For all intents and purposes we are back to square one on the solution, this time building a train instead of a rocketship. Though this time with a whole lot of in-the-trenches hours with founders under our belt and an incredible community around us. Whether that train can become a rocketship only time can tell.
This means my five exceptional rocketship-building cofounders - Josh, DeAndrea, Travis, Annie, and Vernon - are now looking for new roles. Amongst them are three seasoned software engineers, one combination CTO/CPO & high-empathy leader, one incredible growth & community lead, one no-code operations & data savant, two coders who can design (or are they designers who can code?), five exceptional humans, three parentpreneurs, three people of color, two people who identify as women, one immigrant, and zero ego or attitude. This group functions very well together, and is also interested in opportunities to join a new team as a group. Please reach out to them directly if you know of a role that may be a fit, or feel free to contact me to make an introduction. We are all - our first names at our domain - on email.
Thank you to everyone who believed in us and put us in such an extraordinary position to execute this approach over the last 14 months. From community members spreading the word, to dozens of founders providing critical feedback (product gold), to our FundBassadors (shout out to The First Five), to our group of kickass women-led service providers, to the truly exceptional set of investors that supported our efforts through all manner of seas, thank you! Most of all though, thank you to my cofounders that again and again stepped up to deliver extraordinary value to founders. Whether it was Josh rebuilding our backend on the fly to hit our launch date, DeAndrea doing everything under the Sun to deliver a sweltering 50%+ MoM growth rate since the beta’s been live, Travis building such efficient no- and low-code processes that we could offer a personalized investor report to founders for free on a pre-Seed startup’s resources (our most popular product ever), Annie reimagining our user experience to take the next product leap, or Vernon jumping into and quickly vanquishing the duct tape and bubble gum that defines any beta, each of them is truly the kind of person you hope to work alongside.
Please sign up for our newsletter here if you want to see what our metamorphosis leads to: https://fundboard.co/newsletter. And shoot me an email if you know an extraordinary startup planning to raise this year who needs some serious fundraising help.
FundBoard is dead. Long live FundBoard!