Finding Funding

Alexis Ohanian

Lesson time 13:56 min

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Alexis describes the essential every entrepreneur needs to master: how to pitch your ideas to investors, including selling yourself (in addition to your concept). Find out why simpler pitches are often more appealing.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Step 1: Get the Big Meeting • Step 2: Win the Meeting • Step 3: Junk Jargon, Make Memos • Step 4: Pitch Yourself • Step 5: Don't Do This


- I mean, do we have enough time for this one? I, like-- CREW: Can you do it in a few minutes? - I'm going. Let's go. OK. [MUSIC PLAYING] Today, the ways to get fundraising are rapidly changing because everything from crowdfunding to crypto token offerings to even laws are evolving right now that allow more people to be able to invest. But there are some universal truths that are going to hold up no matter how you do it. My transition from CEO to investor has been eye-opening. Don't get me wrong. It is much easier to be the one on the other side of the table with the money, deciding whether or not to invest in a founder, because I know what it's like to be on the side asking for an investment and be told no time after time after time. That's a part of fundraising. There is not a single founder, there's not a single CEO out there, who has not been told no more times than yes. And that's the nature of startup investing. It's the nature of fundraising. And it's the nature of being an entrepreneur, which is getting really comfortable hearing "no." But one of the things that I think about as an investor is, how I can, as quickly as possible, cut through all the noise and understand what a CEO wants me to see about a product or a market or a business opportunity? And I've got some sort of best practices that I'll go into with you about that. [MUSIC PLAYING] Simply getting in front of people has become so much easier thanks to social media. And there is a non-trivial number of deals that get pitched via Twitter DM or email or-- you can go down the list. Some founders have gotten very creative with the ways that they have pitched folks. But what's more important, especially in an environment with lots of noise, is finding ways to create strong signal that attract investors to whatever it is you're building. And so how do you do that? One tried and true method is, as we've talked about earlier, simply shipping something, getting something that is in the hands of customers, that gives people a chance to talk about it, is a surefire way to have your first step into that fundraising conversation. I've had companies that I've found literally on my Twitter feed that I was so excited by, I reached out to the CEO to want to schedule a meeting. This happens more often than you think. Yes, you can cold email. You can cold DM. But know that you're going to be sending a message into an inbox that's full of hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands. Undoubtedly, we're going to see more and more opportunities for founders to break in. We're seeing software platforms emerge. We're seeing more and more conferences emerge that are geared towards pitching. You should never pay to pitch, by the way. The folks who will charge you money in order to pitch your startup to a room full of investors are charlatans. Do not pay anyone to pitch your startup. Instead, look for opportunities, demo da...

About the Instructor

In 2005, UVA undergrad Alexis Ohanian envisioned a place online where users connect over subcultures—enter Reddit. That was only the start: From growing billion-dollar companies to championing female founders, Ohanian shaped culture. Now he wants to lead tomorrow’s innovators. Learn how to turn an idea into a startup with advice Alexis has shared with other entrepreneurs through his VC fund, Seven Seven Six.

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Alexis Ohanian

Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian teaches you how to turn an idea into a startup. Get the advice he’s shared through his VC fund, Seven Seven Six.

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