Company blogs are a good way to post press releases and make staff and product announcements. But they're always particularly helpful when startups use them to share "lessons learned" from various stages of the entrepreneurial process.
Last month, anonymous neighborhood messaging service BlockChalk announced that it had secured a $1.5 million investment, the company's first. Today BlockChalk updated its blog today with some of the lessons the founders learned from raising angel investment.
1. Find Early Supporters
BlockChalk points to the importance of securing the support and advocacy of an angel investor, in this case Joshua Schachter, founder of . Schachter was able to play a key role in investor introductions and referrals, product advice, and pitch feedback.
2. AngelList Pwns
AngelList is a service run by VentureHacks that helps put entrepreneurs in touch with angel investors. As BlockChalk describes, the process of honing a pitch for the AngelList was a beneficial act in its own right, but the AngelList helped them cultivate investor interest.
Venture Hacks have also written about the BlockChalk funding today.
3. The Team Is Key
BlockChalk stresses the importance of a sold founding team in being able to attract investment. The founders' backgrounds in business, their connections within the industry and their history of technical expertise improved their ability to raise funds. And Nivi echoes this in his Venture Hacks post today: "I think the foundation of BlockChalk's fund-raising story is the pedigree of their team: Stephen Hood is the former head of product at del.icio.us, Dave Baggeroer is part of Stanford's d.school faculty, and Josh Whiting is a former senior engineer at craigslist and former head of engineering for del.icio.us."
As the BlockChalk founders write, "It's hard to go it alone. It's probably also not smart in most cases. A powerful team is greater than the sum of its parts, and investors know that."
4. Continue to Tweak Your Pitch
Just because you've honed your pitch doesn't mean you're done. Continue to solicit feedback and revise and refine your presentation."This shouldn't be just a surface exercise. Your pitch is an extension of your product and your business, and any learnings should flow in both directions. "
5. The Blessing and the Curse of the Prototype
While the feedback you receive from investors when they hear your pitch is important, it will never replace the feedback from actual users. BlockChalk describes its "soft launch" of a prototype in the hopes of getting early feedback. However, the prototype had an unintended consequence, as some potential investors thought the prototype was the finished product.
In retrospect, says the blg post, "If we could do it again we might have launched our prototype under a different brand. Or perhaps emblazoned it with the word "beta", or even "alpha". But at some level this is the price you pay for having a "product" before you have funding. Prototyping is a double-edged sword. Be prepared for both blades!"
Photo credits: Flickr user dixieroadrash