Funding Data-driven Innovation

Seed funding is more plentiful and easier to raise today than I’ve ever seen during my career. What that means, ironically, is that this makes everything much harder. It sets an expectation — especially for young, first-time founders — that something they expected to be challenging is relatively easy, and this sets strong expectations for the next time they do it. The problem is that the number of A rounds hasn’t changed. That amount of Series A capital HAS NOT increased. So, if you have 4x the number of companies with seed funding, that’s 4x the players competing for the same money… making it 4x harder to raise an A round than it was five years ago.

That excerpt from this excellent article "What the Seed Funding Boom Means for Raising a Series A" by First Round Partner Josh Kopelman was a very interesting read for us here @Reltio

Mostly because we were excited to be able to announce our very own Series A funding today through Crosslink Capital and 406 Ventures. Even though we hadn't read the article till now, as it turned out, we had the good fortune of pretty much following Josh's guidance to a tee.

Specifically we:

  • Raised a modest seed round (this is the only place where we deviated from the recommendation in the article which encouraged raising a larger seed amount)
  • Gained significant traction with early customers and partners, generating revenue and even showing profitability
  • Didn't do serious pitching until we hit the right milestones and took the time to set up a fundraising strategy
  • Avoided the “shopped deal” mentality by focusing on a few key VCs that we believed would be aligned with our vision
  • Did our research and found Crosslink Capital and 406 Ventures who have a tremendous track record of working jointly with their startups to help them succeed
  • Kept our funding requirements at exactly the same level as our original pitch
  • Showed "mastery in our numbers" during the pitch and process
  • Positioned our capabilities in-line with one of the hottest business user focused segments in the market "data-driven applications", while also appealing to IT teams at companies who need to modernize their data management
  • Ensured that we could demonstrate traction and hit proof-points that represent real step-change
  • Kept tight fiscal management in place and laid out a well thought out plan to use the capital
  • Proved that we have a product in production and loved by Fortune 500 customers, not only for day-to-day business operations, but also M&A
  • Showed that our addressable market was in the multi-billions, while demonstrating commitment and focus for the healthcare and life sciences industry
  • Highlighted that our data-as-a-service can not only enrich data for internal operations, but also enable data monetization strategies for CDOs

Did we skin our knees? We sure did, not all the VCs understood or believed that we could do what we set out to achieve. But as Josh points out in his article, that's not a bad thing. We learned, we adapted and ultimately we ended up with two superb VC firms that we are in lock-step with.

We don't take the process or the funding lightly, it's a small step in a long journey as we have our sights set high. On this exciting day for us, we'd like to extend best wishes and hopes to all companies looking to raise their own Series A. Please reach out to us if you feel we can offer any insight.

P.S. If you feel like exploring Reltio for career options, we have plenty of openings too :-)