Part of what I enjoy at WeKeep is that my customers are also entrepreneurs. These are people just like me trying to create something meaningful and fulfilling. Some of them want to raise money, and perhaps that is why I’ve been asked a few times: “That’s a great service you’re offering! Have you raised money yet?”.
Apart from the founders’ personal seed funding, with some B2B startups you can fund your company from the very beginning from revenue. No stressful burn rate, no premature pressure on growth, ramen profitability isn’t too far. Instead, you can focus on honing the product until your early customers become Promoters. In WeKeep’s case, a promoter is a user who tells a friend, a supplier or a customer about how great WeKeep’s service is. In bookkeeping, referrals are the growth engine. WeKeep will continue to be funded by its customers.
So about fundraising…
In the past few years I’ve developed an opinion around building a certain type of companies in this region:
- Very few businesses in this market can reach a scale to justify being VC fundable.
- You need to have confidence that you can reach that scale before deciding to take VC money. Make sure you want to play the Big Game – “Go big or go home”.
“Every time we faced certain questions at Careem–strategic directional questions–we had one thing on mind-go big or go home. Things do happen when you have the right resources. Instead of thinking about what could go wrong, one has to think about what could go right.” - @aitmit https://t.co/s35VPC8y7k— willhutson (@willhutson) July 3, 2019
- There’s another game you can play. With a lot of patience and persistence, it’s possible to build a good business for yourself which can make you a rich profit using the leverage of software. If you’re lucky, in a few years you may find yourself inadvertently playing the Big Game. Mailchimp, Basecamp, Zoho are some companies that never took VC money. Wow.
- The further you can delay fundraising, the more you have clarity over whether you can or want to play the Big Game.
The Big Game is exciting and if successful can generate enormous wealth. It’s also stressful. There are also thousands of tech entrepreneurs around the world who are running super profitable small tech businesses and that nobody has heard of. They are independent, are enjoying the freedom to create and to control their destiny, and are accumulating enough wealth to be able to retire early.
Pick your game wisely.