Get Backed

Launch the venture of your dreams

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Evan Baehr here - one of the authors of Get Backed. We didn’t set out to write the book, but along the way of raising money for and building our companies, our friends kept asking us: ‘I’ve got an idea and want to raise money - how do I do it?’ When we tried to point them to a resource, we couldn’t find one. We couldn’t find anything that answered the real questions: What do founders actually do to raise money? What do they show investors? How do they build relationships? What mistakes do they make? So, after raising $50 million for our own ventures, we interviewed 75+ founders and took everything we learned and put it into this book. Once we had a manuscript, we were going to publish on our blog. But we decided to email it to Harvard for kicks; well, turned out they also think this is an important topic. So, we have a book! We believe launching a company is one of the greatest privileges and callings anyone can have--and we want more people to be able to do that. So we hope this book lowers the barrier to entry by teaching founders how to raise money. I’ll be on Product Hunt all day to answer any questions. Thank you Product Hunters for your support.
Get Backed isn’t just about startup fundraising. It’s a handbook for anyone who has an idea and needs to build relationships to get it off the ground. Over the last 3 years, entrepreneurs @evanloomis and @evanbaehr have raised over $50 million for their own ventures, including the second largest round on the fundraising platform AngelList. In Get Backed, they show you exactly what they and dozens of others did to raise money--even the mistakes they made--uncovering the secrets of the world’s best storytellers, fundraisers, and startup accelerators. See exactly how 15 ventures raised over $150 million. For each venture, this book shows how they raised money, the mistakes they made, and then show you excerpts from the actual pitch decks they used to pitch investors. So this book has such raving reviews about it! You can check out the website here The authors, Evan and Evan are also doing a LIVE Chat soon so make sure you sign up to ask them questions!!
FYI--I read an early version of the book and cannot recommend this enough. I was a very active angel investor, and I cannot tell you how much I wish this book was required reading for founders to pitch. If more founders did what they said, they'd do better at raising money. Question for the Evans: What mistake do you see founders make the most, and whats the easiest fix?
Hey Evan, big fan of the book :) What would you say to entrepreneurs who are considering the Minimum Viable Product route of building a prototype first, or getting X# of sales? When does it make sense to choose raising money over validating the product and getting market feedback? Or is it best to do a combination...?
@charliehoehn Great questions. 1. Many folks jump to building a prototype early on. "Minimal viable product" is a great forcing function for stripping a product down to its core--so that you can ship it as fast as possible so that you can get feedback on it. I think about startups as organizations collecting data in order to confirm/negate hypotheses. MVP's are great ways to do this FAST. Companies usually begin with an IDEA - which is often a PRODUCT. So creating an MVP first is very wise. I think the mistake we often see is that founders stay too focused on product for too long--so often their pitches end up 90% about their product. But a product is necessary but not sufficient for a company. A pitch deck - done in an MVP way - brings the same kind of fast prototyping up to the level of your business - not just your product. MVP is great - but do it for your product AND your deck. 2. Raising capital is usually dilutive to your company - meaning: you just sold (lost?) part of your company. So the longer you delay raising capital, the more likely you raise at a higher valuation. There isn't a right answer to when to raise capital. But a general thought: consider raising capital as soon as you have hit diminishing marginal returns in your own learning and hypothesis testing. For example, if you have a company of 2 people and have built a basic prototype--the question to ask is: how will hiring a third person (or spending more money on, say, marketing) help us learn faster? A fun irony in 'fundraising advice' is these two maxims: I. Raise as little as you can as late as you can. II. Raise as much as you as soon as you can. Both have wisdom to them - but only you can make the call. I'll end with this: the #1 thing a founder must do is not run out of money, for if you do, it is all a moot point.
I'm impressed by what the 15 ventures in this book we're willing to disclose (their actual pitch decks, how much they raised, from who, what mistakes they made). Super helpful and inspiring.