I often start a conversation in StartupLand with: “I think we hold the record for a seed round in the UK. We raised £65M with nothing but a pitch deck.”
That’s right, we raised £65M…as seed money.
I must point out that our CEO, did all of the hard work. He spent years raising the money. It was not easy, far from it. Once he did get the investors mostly on board it took another year of due diligence with some top tier consultants to get the deal done.
Investors really need to be convinced that there is a very good chance of success before they part with money. You can imagine that this is even more true when they are parting with a lot of money. It generally boils down to the same main criteria:
1. Strength of the CEO
2. Strength of the Team
3. The size of the opportunity
4. The product
5. The business model
6. The competitive environment
8. Need for further investment
9. Speaking their language
Let’s go through these one at a time so you can get a flavour of what it takes to raise this kind of money.
Strength of the CEO
Our CEO had a solid background in financial services at a top tier investment bank. He had helped launch a similar business in Australia.
Strength of the Team
It took forever to raise the money. As a result, the makeup of the team changed quite a few times. When we finally closed the deal we had:
· The Group Finance Director for LV=
· The Marketing Director for SocGen
· The Head of Valuation Services for RightMove
· The Head of Global Distribution for Old Mutual
· The COO of Barclaycard
· and me, Unit Head of Technology at Mercer