Written By: Marc Halpin
We tell stories.
This one starts in California.
It was always going to be different; I knew that much. I’d first raised capital with my previous company in London in 2004. This was 2010, I had a good idea and a pitch deck but this was Silicon Valley, and yes it was very different.
It was my first meeting with a venture capital firm on the storied Sand Hill Road. None of it was lost on me. The iPhone in my pocket, the microchip inside it, the search engine it powered all existed in large part because of this single hilly road in Palo Alto and the people who worked there.
I was nervous. I thought I was prepared, I wasn’t! I thought I’d start with an ice-breaker (this turned out to be a good idea). I asked Deepak Kamra of Canaan Capital how many pitches he’d seen in his 20+ year career in Silicon Valley. He responded by saying, “funnily enough, I was calculating this over the weekend… I’ve seen about 20,000!” So I asked the obvious question, “how many have you funded?” He said, “15!” We both laughed… inside, I was crying.
Over the next 5 years I met with Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Greylock, Accel, IVP, DFJ, Kleiner Perkins, Drive Capital and many, many more. Some offered me terms, some didn’t. Either way, I learned a lot.
I learned that fundraising is a hard sport. You’re building a company, hiring a team, figuring out your product roadmap, closing deals, evangelizing anybody and everybody and all of this requires capital. Congratulations, you now have two full time jobs! Oh and, statistically, your chances of raising venture capital hover around 0.07%. Great odds, right?
I also learned, however, that like most things in life you can get good at raising capital and you can defy the odds. You can start thinking like a VC. You can start tightening up your messaging. You can represent your company in a way that is clear. You can focus on the numbers in a more structured way and the list goes on. I also learned that raising capital is a team sport.
The team and I raised a lot of capital.
By the time 2015 came around, friends, founders and ex-colleagues started asking us to help them raise capital. We found that we loved sharing what worked for us and what didn’t. It wasn’t long before we had what can best be described as the formation of an accidental business. Kerosene Ventures was born.
Today the team and I help early-stage founders raise their series Seed/A/B rounds. We look at their business model, consider the business plan and make sure the founders pitch their business in the best way possible. We help them tell their story.
Know a great founder looking to raise capital? Send them our way; we will get to know them, listen and share our Silicon Valley learnings.
One last thing – we’re picky! We work with the best founders and the best VC’s. We match winners, we fuel rockets, we tell stories.