How an EA can help you raise your next funding round
Picture this: you’re an investor sitting across from a founder who is fundraising, listening to yet another pitch in a seemingly endless sea of opportunities. What sets this particular executive apart? It’s not just about their charisma or product, but in how their pitch strategy is helping them sell their startup and the fact that behind the scenes an excellent executive assistant helped them piece all of this together.
Do you really need an executive assistant for your funding rounds?
Alex and Mia are the co-founders of Sparky, a startup that develops smart toys for kids. They have a great product, a passionate team, and a huge market opportunity. They also have a big challenge: they need to raise $60 million in the next six months to scale their business and reach more customers.
Like many other startup executives, they have been working hard to prepare for their fundraising campaign, but soon realize that are overwhelmed by the amount of work involved. They have to write emails to hundreds of potential investors, schedule dozens of meetings and demos, manage a complex CRM system, research their competitors and the market, prepare pitch decks and other materials, follow up with action items, and negotiate terms and close deals. That’s not even counting their core responsibilities as founders, such as leading their team, developing their product, and growing their customer base.
Startup executives also face many challenges in this macroeconomic climate, such as lower revenue growth, fewer interested investors, and more rivals in the market. They understand that they have to leverage every opportunity they can find to differentiate themselves and attract the funding they need.
They know they can’t do it all by themselves, but they also don’t have the time or money to hire more full-time employees. They need someone who can help them with all the tasks related to fundraising, someone who has the capacity and is a high performer. Someone who can orchestrate and centralize all their efforts. They need an executive assistant.
This is how executive assistants have supported executives during funding rounds
- An EA can manage Alex and Mia’s communication with potential investors, from sending the first introductory email to scheduling initial Zoom meetings, to sending follow-up emails and materials. For example, the EA can help them reach out to investors who are interested in smart toys.
- By planning and organizing their trips to meet with potential investors in person, such as in California, where they can pitch to Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, or Khosla Ventures, their executive assistant has done intricate and elaborate travel arrangements making sure that their flights, hotels, transportation, and restaurants are located in the best areas, close to each other, have all accommodations necessary and remain within budget.
- Sparky has plans to release an app that goes along with their smart toys and sets them apart from their competitors. Their executive assistant has helped them schedule and coordinate remote playtests with their team and the investors, to showcase their product and get feedback. For example, the EA can set up a Zoom call with Apptopia, a mobile industry service provider that raised $1.46M in Series A, and help them run a demo of their smart toy app.
- Their executive assistant has implemented a CRM system in Notion to track all the investor’s information, such as contact details, preferences, interests, status, and action items. The EA can also work alongside other executives from the team to make sure the CRM is up to date and accurate.
- At their weekly meetings, the EA joins Alex, Mia, and the rest of the leadership team, and they review the progress of their fundraising campaign. They share the feedback they received from the investors they met, and the challenges they faced. They also brainstorm new ideas to improve their product and pitch, and set goals for the next week. The EA takes notes of the meeting and assigns action items to each person. After the meeting, the EA helps with the follow-up items, such as:
- Sending thank-you notes to the investors who showed interest in Sparky, and inviting them to a second meeting or a live demo (playtest).
- Updating the pitch deck with new data and testimonials from their customers and partners.
- Researching new leads who might be interested in investing in smart toys.
Crafting a Compelling and Concise Pitch: Leveraging Jeremy Barr’s Fundraising Advice with the Support of an Executive Assistant
With the executive assistant’s support, Alex and Mia transform their pitch into a conversational and concise format, following the 7-second chunk structure that Jeremy Barr, venture capitalist, recommends.
Their executive assistant helps them craft a compelling emotional story that captivates potential investors within the first 7 seconds, showcasing how their unique experiences led to the birth of Sparky.
Furthermore, their EA supports Mia to make sure that Sparky’s traction, such as sales, customers, partners, and followers, is communicated confidently. This showcases the startup’s true MVP (minimum viable product) and demonstrates its progress, further capturing the investors’ interest.
Lastly, the executive assistant helps Alex create a well-defined acceleration plan for the use of funds, breaking it down into a month-by-month roadmap, both in verbal and written form. By doing so, they convey a solid plan for the requested $60M investment, focused on accelerating product development and sales, instilling trust in potential investors.
Thanks to the support of their dedicated executive assistant, Alex and Mia find themselves well-prepared for their funding pitch. With a concise, captivating, and confidence-inspiring presentation, they are now ready to take on the challenges of fundraising and lead Sparky to greater heights. The executive assistant’s ability to centralize efforts and manage action items and information prove invaluable, allowing Alex and Mia to focus on both their roles as startup executives and the critical fundraising journey ahead.
Fundraising while pregnant or raising a family
Anna Fuller discusses how to approach a fundraising while pregnant or planning for a family. Since women got less than 2% of funding in 2022, this can be a daunting subject to discuss during funding rounds. For those reasons, this could be an excellent time to bring in an executive assistant since they can support you before, during and when returning from maternity leave.
One of Fulller’s tips is about meetings: having some time to stand up, stretch and go to the bathroom in between back-to-back meetings since this can be life-changing for pregnant women. An EA can be of great support here, managing the executive’s calendar making sure that there are healthy breaks in between meetings and context switchs.
Fuller also recommends setting deadlines to hear back from investors. This helps pregnant, fundraising mothers, especially near their due date. An executive assistant can help keep track of the investors’ pipeline and even send reminders to make sure that all stakeholders stay on track.
Getting support in funding rounds is nothing new
Getting support in funding rounds has been around for a while. Some VC firms offer support for subsequent funding rounds, like First Round Capital. You can also hire advisors to help you build your pitch and deck to make it more appealing to investors. If you are on your 3rd+ funding, this can be especially important since you will be trying to decide between private equity, institutional capital, and other means of funding.
You can also hire an EA to help you move projects forward, maintain relationships with current and potential investors, follow up on action items, create decks, and also support you in tasks that are specific to your role, not just fundraising. Every industry has specific knowledge and terms to it that intellectually curious EAs can learn and stay at the top of the game.
Thomas Panton recommends seeking advice from mentors, advisors, and reputable sources. He also recommends starting early. His prepping took 9 months so bringing in a reliable team member for the long term makes sense.
If getting support in funding rounds is nothing new, and actually a key distinguishable feature that promotes growth and better funding, then bringing in an executive assistant shouldn’t be considered a far-fetched idea. On the contrary, given the evidence, an EA can be an invaluable ally during the funding round season.
Self-Assessment: Do You Really Need an Executive Assistant for Your Funding Rounds?
- Are you feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work involved in preparing for your fundraising campaign?
- Do you find it challenging to manage communication with potential investors, schedule meetings, and send follow-up emails?
- Are you struggling to coordinate and plan trips to meet with potential investors in person?
- Is your CRM system lacking organization and up-to-date information on potential investors?
- Do you often find it difficult to follow up with investors and potential leads after meetings?
- Are you interested in crafting a compelling and concise pitch that follows Jeremy Barr’s fundraising advice?
- Do you feel the need to centralize all your fundraising efforts and action items?
- Are you facing additional challenges in your personal life, such as pregnancy or raising a family, that may require extra support during fundraising?
- Do you believe that hiring an executive assistant can help you stay organized, manage tasks effectively, and support you in both fundraising and your core responsibilities?
- Do you need help organizing travel to meet with investors, including bookings for transportation, hotels, and other logistics?
Please note that this self-assessment is meant to help you reflect on your current situation and needs. If you answered “Yes” to 50% of these questions, it’s time to hire an executive assistant to streamline your fundraising efforts and support your growth as a startup executive.
Having an EA can offer valuable assistance in managing various tasks, including travel arrangements, ensuring smooth communication with potential investors, and centralizing efforts to maximize efficiency during your funding rounds.
Remember to weigh the benefits and costs of hiring an executive assistant to make an informed decision that suits your unique situation and goals. Book a call to learn more about how our executive assistants can provide invaluable support during your particular funding rounds.