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With millions of listeners a month, Building the Future has quickly become one of the fastest rising nationally syndicated programs. With a focus on interviewing startups, entrepreneurs, investors, CEOs, and more, the show showcases individuals who are realizing their dreams and helping to make our world a better place through technology and innovation.
Intro/Outro: Welcome to building the future. Hosted by Kevin Horak with millions of listeners a month. Building the future has quickly become one of the fastest rising programs with a focus on interviewing startups, entrepreneurs, investors, CEOs, and more. The radio and TV show airs in 15 markets across the globe, including Silicon valley for full Showtime past episodes. Or to sponsor the show, please visit building the future show.com.
Kevin Horek: Welcome back to the show today. We have Nathan Bechard. He's the founder and CEO at founder. Sweet Nathan. Welcome back to the show.
Nathan Beckord: Thanks for having me love being back here.
Kevin Horek: Yeah, I'm excited to have you back on the show. I was looking it's been five years since you were last on the show. Obviously lots of change probably in both of our lives, but maybe before we get into founder suite, let's get to know you better and start off with where you grew up.
Nathan Beckord: You bet. I grew up in a little tiny town in the Rocky mountain national park area called Estes park, Colorado. And then we moved down to Beau. We moved to Saudi Arabia for a year. Wow. A Lark, my whole like maybe 11, something like that, somewhere around that timeframe, the old enough where it was a very traumatic move from the mountains of Colorado to the sand dunes of Saudi Arabia. It was also obviously looking back now, I'm like, wow, that was really cool and different and neat. At the time were terrified by that, but then spent most of the formative teen years, I guess you could say in Boulder, Colorado. So that's kind of my hometown.
Kevin Horek: Cool. You went to university, what did you take in wine?
Nathan Beckord: So, yeah, one out from Boulder didn't want to stay in Boulder. Boulder has a great university of Colorado, but spent all my high school years going to the college parties and kind of been there, done that. Decided to head out west young men go to California and my dad and I rented a, I forget what it was like a Mustang convertible or some ridiculous car and drove from San Diego all the way up to Oregon. Looking at colleges like all along the west coast labs kind of fun ended up at Santa Clara university, which ended up kind of coincidentally being at the heart of Silicon valley. That was the gateway into tech, but I studied finance and German and then got a, an MBA at university of Texas in Austin.
Kevin Horek: Okay. What made you want to go into finance and take German?
Nathan Beckord: Yeah. Good question. Finance was interesting. You like I've, I'm still fascinated. I mean, even what we're doing at founders suite is, the facilitating the flow of capital into the best returns right into the best companies. That's what, spent a little time doing investment banking, which is helping companies raise capital, help them companies, access public markets, which is, I just love this concept that capital will find its way to the best and highest uses. I think that's a really cool concept. That was so what's so appealing about that and that's why we studied that and it's exciting to right. It's, you're dealing with money and all that. It's just kind of, it's pretty cool.
Kevin Horek: Interesting. What made you want to get your MBA?
Nathan Beckord: There was, I feel like it's not even as relevant. I don't want to say relevant, but not as much of a clear path like back, like when I was in college, if you want to be in finance, it was a pretty clear path. You would get your undergraduate degree, go work, usually investment banking or doing something like that for a couple years. You would automatically go back and get an MBA. It was a given nowadays that only gets quite so much, but MBA is also kind of a fun time to like take a step off the work rat race treadmill, and just kind of learn some new stuff. A lot of people use it to like pivot their careers. Right. I wasn't quite doing that so much, but taking a break from work and spending a few years, learning, studying, I love, I'd love to go back to college.
Nathan Beckord: I think when I retire, I'm going to just start taking college classes like, nonstop. Yeah. I think it'd be fun and MBA's pretty good for helping build out a network. Right. I mean, if you think about like career paths, so much of it is not just who, but, or not just what but who, and I think a program like MBAs, I mean, you can get this, you can build that network. Other ways to being part of online communities, being, working at Facebook or Google, et cetera, but MBAs have a pretty clear way to help build out your network. So, and that was pretty good for me. Sure.
Kevin Horek: So walk us through your career. Maybe some highlights along the way until coming up with the idea for founder suite, and then we'll dive into that.
Nathan Beckord: Yeah. Although I started down this path of being an investment banker, I had an entrepreneurial bug even from forever. I think, I think you're born with an entrepreneurial bug. I agree. Yeah. And, but I just didn't have any good idea. Actually, when I was at UT getting the MBA, I tried to start a business called trial logic and it was a clinical trial software business. We, couple of guys and I got together and we licensed some technology out of the university MD Anderson cancer center. They were using this technology to manage their clinical trial data and they were looking to license it and we spent months negotiating a deal to get this software. Really I had no real interest in clinical trials. It's something way over my head and didn't just have a passion for it. So, that failed, moved back out to Silicon valley.
Nathan Beckord: After grad school, I had missed all the on-campus recruiting, so I didn't have a, a cushy consulting or finance job after getting the MBA. I just came back out to California and started helping startups raise capital because it's what I knew how to do all the while thinking, all right, I've got to come up with like, what's my next startup idea. There's gotta be something out there that I, and I was keeping a journal like writing down startup ideas. Nothing was really popping that I wanted to devote my life to. One day after helping companies raise capital for several years, just had this idea of like, why don't I build software for this process. It was around the time, if you remember when Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz came out with that phrase, software is eating the world. Meaning like every, remember that. Yeah, it was pretty epiphanal if that's a word.
Nathan Beckord: Yeah. And, and you saw this happening right. With, with tax, right? You had, you saw like TurboTax and Quicken and all these other, coming into texts and legal, there were a bunch of different software things going into the legal world and like why isn't this happening in the fundraising world? That's what the original idea for founder suite came from.
Kevin Horek: Very cool. Was there like a defining moment though, that made you say like, okay, I need to really build this because it's one thing to say, like, I should maybe turn this into software, but it's a lot harder to actually commit and actually build it. You've been doing it for a number of years now.
Nathan Beckord: Yeah. So, were doing, when I had a consulting business, helping start for his capital's called venture archetypes and we are get a startup on board. We would come in, build them a financial model. We would spend some time researching investors, building a target list and we'd load it all up into a nice fancy Excel spreadsheet. We give them this spreadsheet of investors and they would use it to track all the conversations. Right. There were flaws in that, like that spreadsheet works pretty well about a week or two. And then it gets really messy. That was the original Genesis idea. Like we could turn this into software, we could start on a pretty low level, super simple way. Right. It wasn't like if you said, Nathan, you've got to come up and build a NFT marketplace online. I wouldn't know where to start, but this was very achievable, very approachable.
Nathan Beckord: I knew what categories this should manage. Right. Contact information for the investors. It should manage where you're at with each investor. It should, kind of track all this. It was very approachable and achievable. I cobbled together, I don't know, 50 grand or something like that and got some Polish engineers to build kind of a first MVP of this. So that's the beauty of it. If it's something you already know pretty well, and you've lived in the customer's shoes and in the customer taking the customer journey, you can kind of ease into it versus like launching this huge thing from scratch.
Kevin Horek: No, I, I think that's actually really good advice. I'm curious, how has it evolved from that first version to what it is today? You know, like seven years later?
Nathan Beckord: Well, so I left a little part of that. We actually, I thought that maybe doing just software for tracking investors was maybe a little too narrow. Came up with this idea for founders suite, which was broader, original vision was broader where it was going to be a whole bunch of different tools, software tools for founders, everything from idea, generation validation, to fundraising tools, to like marketing and PR tools kind of had this whole pull suite of things. We actually built that to start with. I use that 50 grand to like build these MVPs of all the different products and realized, Hey, what are people actually having trouble with? It's raising capital. What do I actually know best it's raising capital. After we raised the money, I killed off all the other tools and focused in on the fundraising thing. Then, so we launched this investor CRM as our first product.
Nathan Beckord: This is like five over five years now, five, six years now launch the investor, CRM killed off everything else. Since then, and since you and I last spoke a few years ago, we've just been adding like one or two new products a year, all staying focused on the fundraising. We added a, a database of investors and we're up to about 200,000 investors in this, everything from angels to VCs, private equity, family offices fund to funds, we added an investor update tool for doing like your ongoing communications, your monthly or quarterly update to investors. We added a pitch deck hosting tool. If you use DocSend or Google slides, it's that upload your PowerPoint. You can track who's viewing it added. Yeah, that was cool. We added a mobile app. We added an email tool for doing like, email blast that looked personalized. We added most recently we added a data room.
Nathan Beckord: Once you kind of get further along the fundraising process with investors, you'll want to start sharing all your confidential information, your product roadmaps and intellectual property. That's where a data room really comes in. Yeah, we've just been kind of expanding it ever since those early days of an investor CRM to replace the spreadsheet and just adding more tools and these tools kind of fit along the continuum of what happens during a fundraise, right? The database is what you would use to start to build that target list. CRM is what you load. All those investors targets into pitch, deck hosting, email tools, investor updates, to kind of run the outreach to investors, data room, to do the due diligence, so on and so forth. Just one extra little layer on I'll add on that. We've been selling just a startup, but we also have a version now that we've branched off into that's for investment bankers and VCs, anyone who's working with multiple companies, some accelerators using this, anyone who's working with multiple companies, we have a version of the product for them too.
Nathan Beckord: So that's how it's evolved.
Kevin Horek: Interesting. What's the startup docs because those looked really cool to me too.
Nathan Beckord: Oh yeah. I forgot all about those. Those are a collection of frankly, a lot of them are back to the consulting days or harken back to the consulting days. It's a collection of pitch decks, term sheets, cap tables. These are spreadsheets. These are PowerPoints. These are PDFs that are all like downloadable consumables, for example, there's some spreadsheets, like one of them is that a VC dilution scenario analyzer. You can see if you start with, you and your co-founder, maybe you each own 50% of the business today, but you raise two or three rounds. What does your ownership of the business look like after a couple of rounds? Right. There's just some interesting kind of fundamental like documents and templates in there. Partnership, agreements, NDAs, things like that.
Kevin Horek: Oh, very cool. Yeah. I thought like that's super useful because I think when you need to raise money, especially if it's your first time and you've never done it before trying to find good versions of those documents or even which documents you need is a daunting task. Yeah.
Nathan Beckord: Oh, there's tons of stuff out there. Right. On the web. I mean, there's a million things out there, but you're right. It's finding the good stuff and like we, and make it fairly curated. Like we have a couple of different term sheet templates in there. I think we have a, this is, was written by a law firm. There's like an explanation of terms documents. It's one thing to just have a term sheet that you would use with investors, but you also have to understand what these terms mean. We've got a little tool for that as well, which is nice.
Kevin Horek: Sure. Do you want to quickly cover the founder's market? Cause I think that's really useful to, for any stage of startup really.
Nathan Beckord: Yeah. Yeah. We built that originally kind of as a little business model experiment, we thought, oh, could we put together all these products that founders need once after they raised capital, what do you need? Right. You need accounting and recruiting and stuff like that. Payroll could, we consolidate all these things that you need as a founder into one place. Originally thought we get paid on some of these. It didn't really work out like that. Basically it's a question of like discounts on other products, stuff you need as you're building your startup, as you're growing your startup, as you're scaling up, even like office space. I think we have, we work in there, stuff like that. I think there's about 25 or 30 deals in there. Most of it's stuff we use ourselves Gusto and things like that.
Kevin Horek: Very cool. Let's talk about pricing quick because you have a, he basically can start for free. Obviously for more features you have to pay, but can you walk us through pricing?
Nathan Beckord: Yeah. There is a free version. Free forever does not require a credit card, but it is pretty limited. It lets you add up to 25 investors from the database, lets you do some searches. You can upload a pitch deck, you can create investor updates. It just doesn't have all the bells and whistles. The next tier up is 49 bucks a month. There's a $69 a month plan. Some of the bells and whistles like you can integrate your email with those. It pulls in email, you can send out decks and investor updates through the system. You can like do searches of the database and export your spreadsheet of investors. It was just a lot of extra kind of premium features on that $69 a month plan. That's basically it, there's no additional charge for extra users. You can have multiple team members with you and that's still 69 bucks a month for your company.
Kevin Horek: Sure. I'm sure people are wondering how do you actually get the investors into the system? Are you finding them? Are they applying a bit of both or what can people expect from that?
Nathan Beckord: Yeah, it's bit of a messy process. Sometimes I liken it to making sausage. It's not always the prettiest thing to watch, but hopefully it turns out all right in the end, a lot of it, well we kind of built it originally. We, we purchased some data sets. There was a private equity recruiter that was retiring. We bought his entire Rolodex from him. We have used some automated tools to gather like data from investors, websites and things like that. Right? We're kind of spidering and crawling sites and collecting data. We've had teams of MBA interns a couple of times a year, come in and manually upload and assemble data and add it to our database. We have a bunch of automated tools that help keep it clean, just like bounce, running the dataset through, bounce detectors and stuff like that to keep it pretty up to date.
Nathan Beckord: We're constantly adding to it constantly cleaning it actually I'll use this as a way to plug something. We just added. We are now when users come on and maybe they upload a spreadsheet, we do not take their investors and add them to our database as a common question. Yeah. So we don't touch our users data. However, we just launched a feature where we are now asking our users to add of data about these investors. If you just pitched Chicago ventures or whatever, and you, maybe they gave you a term sheet, maybe they invested in you. We have like a few super short little tags and questions, little feedback that we're asking our users to contribute. That the next founder who wants to go pitch them will have a few notes or tips for that. We're starting to gather some crowdsourced data on the investor database, which I'm pretty fired up about.
Nathan Beckord: And.
Kevin Horek: That's really helpful.
Nathan Beckord: It's it's I really think it has a lot of powerful, founders good about helping other founders. That's one of the reasons I love working with entrepreneurs is just, there's a comradery and fundraising is scary and fundraising is stressful. If you can get some, of help from fellow founders, who've gone before you. Why not? Right.
Kevin Horek: Totally. Yeah. Well the reality is these documents are already getting shared between like people, so why not give them to other people that are looking to pitch as well, right. Yeah. I'm curious about you guys have a lot of really good content on your blog and I think your most recent are the 15 questions venture capitalists will ask before investing in your startup. What's in store for venture capital in 2022. Can you maybe give us of an overview of those couple articles and some of the other stuff you cover on your blog because there's a lot of really useful good content there as well.
Nathan Beckord: Yeah. If you want to check this out directly it's blog dot founder, suite.com. We also have a site up on medium. I think it's medium.com forward slash founder suite, but where a lot of this stuff is coming from. Every year I think this is kind of a cool little thing. We do every new year's basically we have a little tiny marketing team. We have a challenge to like come up with a new marketing experiment, right. It doesn't matter what it is, the Wilder the better. I guess it's been three years now or so three years ago we had this idea of let's start a blog or let's sorry, let's start a podcast. Everyone's got a bug us, but whatever, this isn't like that original, but it was still something new for us. The podcast has been doing pretty well. It's called how I raised it and it's interviews with founders, but what's cool about it is all of that content that comes from the podcast.
Nathan Beckord: I'm sure you appreciate this too. Can then be kind of repackaged into blog posts into guest articles, into medium posts. That's been really powerful, to kind of take like we just put up not too long ago on the blog. I think it's the best fundraising advice of 2021 from interviews with like 40 different founders, right? Yeah. One little article summarizes, I guess we did 40 interviews and we took the best from 21 different founders and these are some really high profile founders, but you read that one article, you're basically getting the best of, the Cliff's notes of 40 hours of podcasts in one article that will take you 10 minutes. Right. I think that's the power of this whole model is just to kind of take content, repackage it, summarize it, synthesize it into stuff that people can actually use and that's how we're approaching it.
Nathan Beckord: So it's been fun.
Kevin Horek: I actually think that's really good advice for startups listening is if you do these podcasts because you can repurpose that content in a blog post or what else? Right. I think just to reiterate, I think that's a really good marketing strategy, especially for SEO and getting your content out there. Right. You only have to record one thing and then write an article and there's transcription tools. You can just kind of it, a lot of it, the work is potentially done for you or at least, 50% with some of these automated tools.
Nathan Beckord: Yeah. I, and frankly, we're probably not even tapping. We're like the iceberg there's tip of the iceberg on this because I feel like we could be carving these up into short clips and I feel like there's a ton of stuff we could be doing. I'd be curious if you have anything that's working really well for you with your content. There anything that like is just crushing it?
Kevin Horek: Yeah. I think my problem is just time to build some of this stuff. Like I I'm in the same boat as you. I do like the tip of the iceberg type stuff. I know I should be breaking my content into little clips, that are a few minutes long. I think having a trailer, something, I got to get my acting gear on. Like I also think too, because the podcast market is so saturated. If you can get on like an FM station, your listenership will go way up more people are going back to traditional kind of, or even like a streaming station because they know sometimes that might be helpful. I also like just doing little video interviews on a deeper dive on something. Sometimes if they're like 20, 30 minutes has helped me a lot too. So, and people love doing video. Right. I think if you, so yeah.
Kevin Horek: We talked a bit about the podcast. Can you reiterate what's the podcast called again and what types of stuff do you cover?
Nathan Beckord: Yeah. And it's called how I raised it. It's a, an homage. I like to think of it as an, Omaj not a copycat of how I built this, but from guy routes, but it's called how I raised it. Really it is kind of a one dimension that sounds bad, but it is all about fundraising, right? That's theme and the topic. And we explore that in. Even though it's mano a mano topical, it is very diverse in what we talked about. Like I just got off the phone or just did one right before chatting with you with a new venture fund based in Milwaukee called character of a VC and how they raised their fund and how they differentiate by doing like design sprints with their startups. Really just interesting stuff before that also this morning, I did a interview with a startup called burnt that is making an NFT marketplace and they raised all their capital from crypto firms on like discord and stuff like that.
Nathan Beckord: So very non traditional way of fundraising. But the topics are the same. You're recovering everything from an empty marketplace to venture firm and everyone in between and how they raise money and all that really get into the weeds on like the tactics and the tips they employ to get people to write a check. That's basically what it's about.
Kevin Horek: Interesting because yeah, sometimes fundraising can be such a black box, right? You have no idea. Depending on the firms, you're pitching, they all have different processes. Sometimes even ways you need to do certain things. It seems like the east coast can be different than the west coast and the middle can be different like between and it gets really confusing. Do you agree?
Nathan Beckord: A hundred percent, a hundred percent. I used to think there is that I knew everything about fundraising. A thesis think there is one right way to do it. I do still think there are some kind of core tenants about raising money, but I've learned from the podcast we've done like 225 interviews with people who've raised capital. I've learned that there's 225 different ways to do it. There's still not a one specific playbook, even though I think you can pick up tips and tactics from all these different people. Like just an example, one of the ones we did maybe just two or three weeks ago was only focused on like how to run a VC meeting, both during the meeting and like the followup afterwards, like really granular stuff. Like as a first time founder, you're not going to, it's not rocket science, but you're not going to intuitively know all this stuff.
Nathan Beckord: You know what I mean? It's like, sure, just an unpacking that stuff can be really valuable, right. Because you don't need to make the same mistakes that I made.
Kevin Horek: Can you give us a couple of examples of how to run a VC meeting? I selfishly I want to know,
Nathan Beckord: Let me see if I can remember it from top of mind. I mean, his whole thing was he had like a seven step process and so I'm not going to probably do it justice, but it was like in the first five minutes or even two minutes, like set an agenda for the rest of the meeting and really making it very conversational and not like a script, and kind of tailoring it around what the investor wanted to talk about. Right. Yeah. Then, asking the investor, a lot of questions, qualifying that investor, he had a bunch of tips for like following up right away. Like one of his cool tips, which I have really never heard before was if they are interested in pursuing further, you send them a data room and you say this data room has all our information, all our pitch decks, all our customer references, all our information for you to make a decision and you have access until, March 2nd.
Nathan Beckord: Really creating like interesting process and a timeline and deadline, frankly, for investors like here, it all is here's everything about our business that you need to make a decision, you have three weeks or whatever to go in, get what you need and make a decision. Right. Because I thought that was really clever and really different. And that was really cool. Right. Cause that's the hard part of it getting investors to move at your timeframe.
Kevin Horek: Yeah. Well, and it also creates that sense of urgency. It also, it sucks when you're raising money and you're waiting, two months, six months for some of these deals to close or not close. Right. I guess it's like, they should be able to give you a reasonable answer or at least a follow-up to say, look, we're not going to make this three week timeline. Can we have another two weeks or whatever the number is. Right. You're kind of moving them along instead of the other way. That's interesting. I've never heard that before. I guess it's where it's one of the shot and it must work for some VCs. Interesting. One thing that I'm curious then to get your thoughts on, I've heard recently from a few investors is record a quick, like one or two minute video of the founders, just kinda quickly introducing themselves, maybe quickly talk about the product just so they can, they don't have to go do research on like who the founders are.
Kevin Horek: They can just like quickly see a little video, you don't have to get like, it doesn't have to be crazy professionally shot or anything like the cameras on your computer are good enough. To give kind of just like a quick little video of you heard that, or your thoughts around that, because you've done this for a long time.
Nathan Beckord: I don't dislike the idea. I think it could be kind of fun, especially if it's short, right. Investors are not going to sit through a five minute video. If it's a minute or two and provides a little personality and color. I think investors, it's still hard to get investors to watch something like that. They want to, they want to like skim a, a deck on their iPhone. There's some statistic, I think it might've come from docs and this might not be the exact number, but it was basically like on average investors spend, like it was a low number, like a minute and a half on a pitch deck. You know what I mean? It was a really low number. If you could capture you and your personality and the, and your firm's personality and maybe some exciting metrics in a minute or so, I think that's interesting.
Nathan Beckord: I think it's interesting. I just wouldn't be surprised if a lot of investors don't watch it, so I wouldn't rely on it as your only strategy. Yeah.
Kevin Horek: What other advice do you give to people looking to raise capital? Because again, you've done this a bunch of times and you've seen a ton of companies do this.
Nathan Beckord: Yeah. I it's, there's a lot to that question, but I think some of the common things we're seeing, and this is something we're seeing with people on our podcasts kind of commonalities, I would say like roughly, maybe 85% of them started building relationships with investors way in advance of raising capital. So, and this is surprising to people. They're like, okay, I started this startup now. It's Nope. Yeah. So, so a couple of ways. One is obviously if you've worked, if you're already working, maybe you're, you don't have your startup launched yet, but you're working in an affirm, start to get to know we've had people on the show that were like working at a startup that was raising capital and that person was maybe an engineer or a designer, but they would, purposely plug themselves into the fundraising process to start to build networks with investors, but not everyone can do that.
Nathan Beckord: Right. Another way to do that is, and this is one of my favorites. This is something we talk about on our funding hacks, which is a webinar we do, but like build a target list of investors, spend 50 plus hours building like the ultimate list of investors in your space. If you're in robotics, if you're in, whatever it is, build the list of ultimate investors in this space, get to know them online, get, follow them on Twitter, engage with them . Once you kind of build that list and identified, not just funds, but people reach out to them with what I call the permission email. It basically says something like, Hey, my name is Nathan. I'm working on this startup. It's in the FinTech SAS space. I know you've done a lot of deals in that space. I've been following you on Twitter for a while, really impressed by some of your investments, whatever.
Nathan Beckord: Maybe flatten them a little bit. I'm, we're heads down mode right now. We haven't launched yet, but we send out a monthly one page summary update of our progress. Can I have your permission to add you to our distribution list? I think you're going to like what we're doing, right? Something like that. Can I give you early access or a sneak peek of what we're building here? A lot of investors will be open to that because, Hey, you're not asking them for money. You're not asking them even for time at this moment, you're not asking them to get on a zoom at this moment. You're simply asking them, can you add them to your company update distribution list, but then as you send this out and they see your progress, put out a question to this group, like, Hey, can anyone we're trying to recruit?
Nathan Beckord: I'm just making this up. Our robotics, a QA engineer. Can anyone recommend a good place to source this? You start to kind of engage this little community. Maybe you set up a, here's where you start to talk about as a quick zoom call to get their feedback on something with your top list, right? You start to engage them in what you're doing. Then, a couple of months later, you mentioned, Hey, we're going to be kicking off our seed round next month. This is all in the investor update. You're sending, we're going to be kicking off our seed round next month. Let me know if you'd like me to send over our pitch deck or an early draft of our pitch deck, something like that. You kind of just involve them in your process at a really early age or really early stage without asking for very much.
Nathan Beckord: Right. Cause that's often the problem. Yeah. So,
Kevin Horek: No, I think that's actually really good advice because you're almost your base. Well, what's the running joke. It's like, if you want money, ask for advice, if you want advice, ask for money. Sure. Yep. So it's kind of that, right? Like, no,
Nathan Beckord: But you're right. You're, you're showing them your progress. You're maybe asking for of advice here, but they're seeing that you're conscientious and maybe you're even taking some of the advice and putting it to work. Right. I mean, that's really great. Right. That makes everyone feel good. As the investor, that's the type of founder you want to put money into is one that's coachable. That's making progress. Right. So there is something true to that. Now flip that around. It's just this random founder who you've never heard of before coming straight at you saying we're raising 3 million bucks. Do you want in on the deal? I've never heard of you before. I don't know anything about you. Maybe if you have like incredible traction or something, I'll still set up a call with you, but it's definitely like a, a very abrupt way to approach them.
Nathan Beckord: It's like going for the marriage right on the first date kind of thing.
Kevin Horek: Yeah. No fair. I think that's good advice. It actually kind of goes back to your comment earlier about like podcasting and like what's worked for me or not worked for me. I'm just, like I said, just doing the tip of the iceberg. What I've noticed is I've had investors on the show, a number of years ago and I've never was raising capital at the time I had them on the show, but like they know who I am because of the PR I can write back to them and say, you did my show three years ago or five years ago. I get that, not if you start a podcast today, but there's a reason to reach out to an investor, say, Hey, I'm doing, we're building this robotics company in this space. We're launching a podcast in a month or two about robotics. You guys invest in this space.
Kevin Horek: Love to have you as a guest. You don't have to ask them any, some will say yes, some you'll never hear back from some will say, take a hike, but it doesn't matter. You start building that list. I, there is majority of my guests I've had on the show and there's over 500 shows now that I wouldn't probably never talk to even 1% of those people if I didn't have the show.
Nathan Beckord: Yeah. I love it. I think that's a great funding. I think, I don't know for you, how do you directly employ that tactic? But I think that would be perfect. Right? You're a robot. Start, start a robotics podcast, interview every freaking investor in robotic space. And they're going to know of you. They might not invest in you because maybe they have a competing deal or they just don't like what you're doing. They're going to know of you at least. And that's marketing 1 0 1, right. Building brand awareness. Yeah.
Kevin Horek: You never know where they're going to end up or you're going to end up if you pivot, maybe they leave, go to another firm. That's looking like you don't know. Well, you've been in it long enough, PEople, some people never change jobs, but majority of people change jobs every few years unless you're owner CEO. Right.
Nathan Beckord: Sure. So, yeah, totally. I'm.
Kevin Horek: Curious if there's any other advice that you'd give to startups looking to raise capital,
Nathan Beckord: You know? Yeah. There's, there's a ton. I mean, I'm trying to think like the best couple of, I think put yourself in the shoes of investors, right? They are bombarded hounded constantly from needy founders, hitting them up for money. Now their job is to find the good startups, right? That's how you make money. As a VC is finding the diamond in the patch of coal, or I dunno what the right metaphor is there, but finding the good ones in a seat, in a noisy sea of startups. Just think of that from that perspective you've got to be, and that means a few different few things. It means your pitch materials need to be really crisp and polished because you're competing with 30 other deals they saw that week. Right. Right. Means if you can get a warm intro to them that not just you up a level, right.
Nathan Beckord: It's like that can help set you apart from the noise. If you can build some of this external brand, like we just talked about, maybe it's a podcast, maybe you are speaking at certain events. If you can get yourself onstage at robotics conference, that's great. That's huge because they're building that again, branding and awareness of you, not only to your customers, but investors. That's great. Just making yourself kind of something that is going to be attractive to investors that can also mean traction and progress. Of course. Right? The, the worst startup is one that, and we see this sometimes they're like, Nathan, I have this great idea for a robotics startup, but to do anything, I need to raise 2 million bucks. Like I need the money to, if I had money, then I could do this. Well, that's automatic like failure mindset, right? Because that's just not how founders work founders make it happen one way or another.
Nathan Beckord: Whether it's moonlighting, whether it's keeping their day job and funneling their paychecks into building a proof of concept, robotic arm, whatever, maybe right. You, you make it happen. As investors to see these founders that can overcome any obstacle and bust through walls to make their dream happen. I would say, just kind of put yourself in the mind of investors, if you were investing to start, what kind of founder would you want to see someone who's dynamic, who's driven, who's going to bust through those walls. Who's polished in their pitch and presentation and materials and who just has that kind of it factor. I know that's pretty generic, but when you see it. Yup.
Kevin Horek: Yeah. Interesting. And you're right. It, it is very much about just going forward and figuring it out and struggling through it. They want to see that investors want to see that. I've heard a bunch of investors say that they're fine with the failures and the pivots. In some cases, a lot of them will only invest in people that have failed before because they know that person will keep picking themselves up and keep going when times get tough. Right. Yep. And times will get tough. Like multiple times throughout the day. Sometimes we'll get nevermind a week. Right? Like it's, I always joke. It's the best and worst thing I've ever done. They'll give you one of those two answers depending on the 15 minute interval I'm in at the time. So, it's pretty bad some days, but I couldn't think of doing anything else at the same time.
Kevin Horek: Right.
Nathan Beckord: Yesterday, we're recording this on a Tuesday yesterday morning, Monday morning. Okay. I logging on and there's some Reddis issue and our site crashes and another guy is having some issue. I don't think it's actually on our fault, but he sent a pitch deck to investors in somehow it's sending like five copies of it to investors. Again, I think it's his email, not anything on us. I've never heard of this happening before, but like, he's trying to communicate with investors and they're just getting like five decks from him. I've got engineers in Ukraine and Putin is threatening to invade Ukraine and there's chatter that they're going to cut off the internet. I'm thinking, all right, the site is crashing. These terrible things are happening to our users. Our Ukrainian engineers are about to be cut off from civilization. Like that's a Monday morning and then 20 minutes later, a bunch of new customers sign up and I'm happy again.
Nathan Beckord: I mean that's a day in the life, right? Yup. Yup.
Kevin Horek: Well, and I, I'm glad you actually shared that because you've been doing this a long time and stuff like this still happens to everyone. It doesn't matter whether it's day, one or day, 7,000 or whatever, it doesn't matter. Right?
Nathan Beckord: Yeah, totally. Absolutely. To be very clear. Our site does not crash very often. It's been down like two minutes in the last couple of years still.
Kevin Horek: It's everybody, right? Like, well, every time Amazon servers go down, like half the internet goes down or say Google servers, right. It's like everybody uses these technologies. One of those big players goes down, everybody goes down. Right. It's just, it is what it is, but we're kind of coming to the end of the show. How about we close with mentioning where people can get more information about yourself, founder, suite, the podcast, and any other links you want to mention?
Nathan Beckord: Sure. Yeah. If you are raising capital or thinking about it, I'd love to put in the plug, just check out the founder, suite.com, F O U N D E R S U I T e.com. Like we mentioned earlier, there's a free version. You can check it out, poke around a bit and then it's not too expensive. If you upgrade 49 bucks or 69 bucks. Also the blog dot thunder street.com. Lots of good stuff there. If you just search on how I raised it on Spotify iTunes, we also have a good YouTube channel search on founders sweeter, or how are I think how I raised it will show up. Just the usual suspects like email@example.com. I'm happy to connect with people and I'm pretty active on LinkedIn. Actually. I'll, I'll plug that for a second on LinkedIn and put out a lot of two or three things a week, very active creating content on LinkedIn.
Nathan Beckord: A lot of it's like, list of medical tech investors, or here are top 20 questions that VCs are gonna ask, like pretty tactical valuable stuff on LinkedIn and happy to connect with you. Maybe just mention you heard about her, about it on building the future show or friend of Kevin or whatever. I'm happy to connect on LinkedIn and that's pretty much it.
Kevin Horek: Perfect, man. Well, I really appreciate you again, taking the time out of your day to be on the show. I look forward to keeping in touch with you and have a good rest of your day.
Nathan Beckord: Thanks. I appreciate it so much. Have a good rest of your day too, and thanks for the airtime.
Kevin Horek: Thank bye.
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