Our fundraising studying put up-YC

Wasp fundraise chart

Wasp is a configuration language (DSL) for building rotund-stack net apps with much less code and handiest practices that works alongside React and Node.js. We’re on a mission to streamline net app trend whereas empowering builders to proceed the usage of the facility of code and their favourite tools. We’re backed by Y Combinator and engineers from Airbnb, Fb and Lyft.

We’re in Alpha (strive it out)!Be a part of our neighborhoodWork with us

Wasp used to be fragment of Y Combinator’s W21 batch, which took predicament from January of 2021 unless the cease of March.

At Demo Day, our product had a solid traction (200+ initiatives created, 1k Github stars, factual ProductHunt and HackerNews feedback) but no monetisation but, which is fashioned for originate-source initiatives at this stage. Being basically basically based in the EU, we also did now not like a colossal network in the Bay House sooner than the fundraise.


I will strive to chorus from giving “well-liked” recommendation (as our fundraise is a single knowledge point), and kind out the stats and explicit things that worked for us. Take into myth the an analogous would possibly now now not work for you – I recommend in any respect times taking recommendation with a pinch of salt to stare what makes the most sense on your case.

As we approached our fundraise, we did now not without a doubt know what to construct a query to. We had mates from the outdated batch that raised a colossal round in a instant time (even sooner than Demo Day) and heard a few tales from a few other YC founders who like been also rather winning, so we imagined it may per chance per chance well bound like a flash for us too.

As you are going to be ready to survey from the title, we had rather a bound with loads of meetings that offered us a quantity of enter on tips about how to beef up our pitch, and even presumably extra importantly, tips about how to attain the correct investors.

Right here are our stats:

  • we spoke to 212 investors → that resulted in 250+ meetings
  • 98 days handed between the fundamental and the remaining signed SAFE
  • 171 investor handed, 24 never replied, 17 invested

And right here is the procedure all of it seemed when laid out on a timeline:
Wasp fundraise chart

Right here are among the things that worked for us:

We handled fundraising as a sales assignment (and caught to it)#

Wasp fundraise funnel

This implies we had a fashioned sales funnel – lead know-how, promoting (pitching) and following up:

  • Lead know-how: it started with Demo Day needless to claim, from which we received 100+ leads but none of them ended up investing (extra on that below). After that we mainly relied on our YC batchmates to name relevant investors and get the intros.
  • Pitching: we did a conversational pitch without the deck, but we had a Idea one-pager from which I would drop links in the end of the dialog (to e.g. our traction chart, person testimonials etc.). It also worked neatly as investors would on the overall safe it attention-grabbing and like scrolling by means of as we talked, asking adjust to-up questions.
  • Following-up: we followed up once per week. I would mechanically “batch assignment” it every Wednesday. We weak Coast to name the overall leads that I have not heard from in over 7 days (there’s a filter for that) and then manually emailed them.

We started with monitoring all the things in Google Sheets, but with the amount of leads it soon turned exhausting to navigate them by means of the funnel. Then we switched to Coast (weak their fundraising template, and modified it a piece) and that worked sizable. Presumably the most worthwhile element for me used to be having a CRM that is constructed-in with gmail, that made the approach grand extra seamless and gave us better overview of the funnel. As soon as I would receive an e-mail I would possibly survey by which stage the investor is, and it used to be also gargantuan easy so as to add new investors straight from gmail – it saved us from the dreaded context switching and saved us centered.

Our pitch turned severely better after ~50 meetings#

We saved being excessive of our pitch and saved a listing of questions that we felt important extra work. We known as it “growing narratives”, e.g. why the correct time for our product is now, presenting the group, or how we thought to monetise. We talked to other companies in the an analogous home (devtools, OSS), investigated comparatives (colossal companies we in comparison ourselves too), talked to our angels who like been area consultants and weak all that to originate a extra convincing memoir.

I never supposed to learn our pitch by coronary heart, but after turning in it for 100s of cases lawful that took predicament – both me and Martin (my brother and cofounder, who wasn’t pitching but used to be in any respect times sitting in the aid of me and offered feedback, severely in the starting) knew it observe by observe and I realised how grand extra polished it sounds and how grand extra assured I felt in comparison with when we lawful started.

Our procedure used to be to get to 100 no’s#

After about 50 meetings (and about 20 VCs having handed on us) we started feeling a piece disheartened, as things did now not appear to switch so easy as we before all the things anticipated. Then I chatted to a buddy who also currently completed their fundraise and he gave me a tour of Coast – I seen their numbers and that over 150 investors handed on them! With that I realised our 20 passes like been lawful the starting and that as a change of chasing yeses we ought to composed in actuality whisk no’s 🙂 – they’re extra predictable, you are going to get loads of them and they also’re going to clearly inform your progress.

We had 100+ leads from Demo Day – none of them invested#

Right here would possibly presumably be ravishing explicit for our case, but it completely’s the procedure it went. Connecting with a startup on Demo Day is a extraordinarily low-fee circulation for investors. Also, as many investors as there are on Demo Day, there are even extra of them who don’t appear to be.

After we sorted by means of the connections we received, about 20% like been a terribly factual fit for us, that means they invest in deep tech / OSS companies, like invested currently, invest in our stage etc.

We composed met with ravishing grand the overall leads, but we like a flash realised that as a result of our product being deeply technical and the firm being pre-earnings, handiest investors with engineering backgrounds like been without a doubt because they’d perceive and get sharp by what we originate. That told us to generate our leads with grand narrower focal point.

We checked out other OSS & dev tools companies in our batch, checked out who invested in them and asked for intros. Our batchmates like been also in the fundraising mode, they knew how exhausting it will likely be and they also wanted to aid, so all the things moved in a instant time.

We learned now to now not spend time on non-believers#

As we learned to accommodate the highly certified leads, we also learned that it is miles extremely exhausting (very now now not going) to alternate any person’s suggestions. Quite lots of investors cherished u and what we originate, but they like been skeptical about e.g. market size or monetisation doable and made that constructive from the originate up. Quite lots of them like been sharp to lift chatting, wanted to meet our angel investors etc., but none of that helped alternate their suggestions and it used to be very distracting for us. I imagine it is miles extremely exhausting to alternate any person’s worldview, severely in the seed stage when there’s most often no stable correct proof to originate so.

Passing by means of the “valley of demise”#

As you are going to be ready to survey on the chart, about two months in we barely handed $300okay, and we had a total month without a progress. At the an analogous time, we felt that our pitch received severely better and we like been reaching investors severely better suited for us.
It used to be one in every of the most complex cases, seeing others cease their rounds, but we decided to trust in the approach and like going unless we now like weak the overall resources we had. It used to be also the time our lead investor took time to originate their possess ravishing wide due diligence on Wasp, so though it appears to be to be like adore no progress used to be fabricated from the exterior, a quantity of stuff used to be in actuality happening in the aid of the scenes.

By surprise, a few things clicked collectively from loads of facets and our round used to be like a flash closed, even oversubscribed! It used to be in actuality a magical feeling to originate up closing investors in a single day, even in the end of the fundamental name, when previously it took us weeks to cease our first $50okay test. The colossal element used to be also that our round used to be getting filled up and that needless to claim motivated investors to switch sooner.

We in comparison ourselves to colossal, winning companies#

Right here is one in every of the handiest gadgets of recommendation we received from YC companions about fundraising. Within the starting we did now not know the model important this used to be, but once the meetings started we realised this used to be one in every of the handiest ways to repeat the likelihood of our firm to investors. With the innovation in know-how that won’t without a doubt easy to take hold of, they important one thing to back on to realize how the enterprise mannequin and distribution would possibly work, and it sounds grand extra doable if there’s a playbook we can adjust to in preference to us reinventing that as neatly. We saved engaged on finding a factual associated (we had a few) and explaining by which ways we are identical and why.

Factual success – you are going to be ready to originate it!#

I hope you found this worthwhile and that our memoir will motivate you to lift going once things get exhausting! We wish you the handiest of success and also without a doubt be at liberty to attain out if you’re going to need any questions.

We’re in Alpha (strive it out)!Be a part of our neighborhoodWork with us

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