"We're funded! And this [article on me from the Wall Street Journal] makes it official." - Alex Bloomberg, CEO of Gimlet Media and famed Podcast host.
Money, money, money, money, money.
I hate to start a post this way - but money is on my mind. You mightn't be shocked to know it. A dream like mine takes some intense capital. I've written about the dilemma I've faced regarding trading parts of my business for funding previously. And, while I may not have mentioned it since... doesn't mean that it hasn't remained an issue.
I thought the problem solved for a while - but when backers back out.. well... it forces you to be inventive. SO: How best to earn some funds on the fly, and without losing too much of my shirt!
Enter Start Up Loans (For once, this is not a pseudonym - I definitely think that this program deserves a little publicity). It's a UK Government backed program designed to help Brits feel as entreprenurial as we Americans do. *laughs. No, seriously. That's what they're billing it as! Check out their 'About' page if you don't believe me. Colour me ironical.
Essentially, they pair with different charities to distribute the money, each charity with its own unique laundry list of qualifying characteristics. Along with a sizeable loan, at a very reasonable rate, StartUp Loans partner charities provide mentoring, business advice and all around emotional support.
According to their bio - they've given out £128,271, 272 to 24,377 companies so far... And next week (ish), it'll click up to 24,370 and 8. Don't let the shiny side fool you though - it took a pretty serious amount of hoop-jumping to get this far. I learned quite a bit about pitching to investors by working through this application. Maybe I'm alone here, but I THOUGHT that investors wanted to be shown that I had really analyzed the situation I was approaching, that I had thought through every eventuality, that I was being realistic... uhhhh... Turns out, they mostly want to see pretty numbers! Well, at least that's how I felt. What do you MEAN you don't want to take a look at my carefully crafted market analysis?!?!
As excited as I was for the loan, I was confused about how it was playing out... Until I was introduced to another StartUp. This one deals with businesses too - but its a tad cooler, if you don't mind my saying so. If you haven't listened to this podcast yet, wow! Start now. The first four episodes felt like they were actually made about Crown & Queue. And amid the many valuable pearls that the host Alex Bloomberg (lately of Planet Money and This American Life) threw out, he mentioned one thing that really sunk in for me regarding my loan. In one episode, he talks about the insane variety and variability of investors that he met while trying to drum up financing for his startup. Sure, some of his wanted to talk numbers, numbers, numbers, but other ones were more interested in getting "a sense of him" and whether his "passion was convincing". He doesn't say as much, but his success pretty much shows, that if, at the end of the day, they both believe in you, then who cares?
Here's to having enough to make ends meet, my friends!!
Tune in next time for another exciting adventure a Contractor tries to convince our heorine that the logic of leaving a job half-finished is floorless. Prizes to anyone who guesses what he left undone.