Fundraising on trust says Front CEO Matilda Collin

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Startups need capital and often raise funds from investors. This requires pitching, numbers, statistics and history. And the timing must be right. According to this CEO, the key to timing is simple: raise funds when your confidence is high.

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Every week on TechCrunch Live, investors and entrepreneurs share lessons learned from personal experience. And Front CEO and co-founder Matilda Collin knows about fundraising. It has raised $138 million in venture capital over multiple fundraising rounds, including from Frederic Kerrest, Okta’s chief operating officer and venture capitalist. They spoke on several topics, and the entire TechCrunch Live event is available at YouTube or through podcast.

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Time can make or break fundraising, and Colleen advises looking for outside investment when you feel great—as you, the founder, feel great. Unfortunately, sometimes this doesn’t correlate with your company’s numbers.

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“You may have hired someone amazing,” she said. “You just signed a very large client – whatever makes you super confident about the future of this company.”

Why? According to Collin, investors are very good at assessing whether a founder is sincere in their motives, which revolve around confidence and enthusiasm for the company. This means that she always starts her presentation by explaining why she is doing something, even if the task becomes more difficult as it scales.

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Frederic Kerrest agrees, noting that as an investor he wants to spend his time with caring, motivated and interested people.

Colleen says that each time she raised money, she assessed investors based on the needs of the company. Then, when it came to the later stage of the C Front series, it approached several operators who could provide capital and get insider information on the industry and corporate leadership.

Front approached Sequoia for the B-series, which Collin says continues to deliver value. However, as her company grew, she said she felt the need to “reinvent the wheel. She turned to those who, in her opinion, had previously been in a similar situation and could give her advice. It turned out to be a number of industry leaders such as Atlassian’s Michael Cannon-Brooks, Zoom’s Eric Yan, and Qualtrics’ Jared Smith – and yes, Frederic Kerrest.

These are all the people who laughingly, Kerrest said, get their hands dirty in running, building and growing a business.

“There is a lot to be gained from institutional investors,” Kerrest said. “At Okta, we are fortunate to have the backing of some well-known firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia and Greylock. They will bring many nets. They will bring many ideas on how to grow. They will bring a lot of ideas about advisors.”

But building a company isn’t everything,” Kerrest said. He pointed to building a sales team or when to go international. Like the CEO of a much larger similar business, operators can help with important steps.

And it doesn’t get more predictable as the rounds go on. Collin believes the founders are wrong in saying that as the company grows, raising funds becomes more difficult.

“You must have good reasons to [fundraise],” she said. “I think it’s because the scale of everything you do is bigger; the impact is bigger, if you screw up, it will have more consequences for your employees, your customers and others. So it definitely won’t get any easier.” .


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