Holiday Gifts to Help Founders Fundraise

Jason Yeh and Jonathan Lee
December 13, 2022
#
Fundraising

As a startup founder, time is a precious commodity. Who doesn’t want more time in their holiday stocking this year??

So if you have a founder in your life you're looking to find a gift for, or maybe you've been a good founder this year and want to treat yourself to something - read on.

We've compiled six of the most useful fundraising tools that will put a smile on the face of your favorite founder this holiday season. From mail merges to automated engagement scripts, these gifts will help founders connect with potential investors and streamline their process. Help your favorite founder save time and headaches with the tools below!

1. Notion

Even before I became a #notionpartner, I was building fundraising products using Notion. My Superchargers product is built in Notion as is my Database of Databases. It’s a flexible and powerful tool with a modern aesthetic that organizes data in a variety of ways. 

This is important for fundraising because once you begin preparing for a raise in earnest, you’ll realize it’s all a game of data organization. Between target investor lists, lists of connectors, narrative outlines, etc., you’ll need a simple place to store it all. 

In particular, every founder needs to store and organize the granular steps within a fundraise.  Setting up a CRM that tracks what investors you’re reaching out to, what stage of the process they’re in, when you last communicated with them is crucial. Sales CRMs will work but those are often expensive, inflexible, and overkill for the fundraising process. Instead, consider standing up one yourself.  You can build a simple tool in almost any database but Notion makes it very simple.

Check out this list of fundraising docs including an outreach CRM that Notion provides.

Pricing

Notion is FREE for individual use but has paid plans for teams.  Readers of Fundraising Fieldnotes can apply to get up to $1000 of credit using this link -> https://ntn.so/adamant

2. Vauban (Carta)

Back in the day, small-check angels were frowned upon as sources of capital. The thought was these dollars were not only an administrative hassle, but also either zero value add beyond the money or negative value.  Have you ever heard of the stereotype of the rich dentist who invests $20k and wants to know where their money is every month?  That was the problem.

Today with the landscape of angel investors changed over to individuals fluent in the risk of startups and valuable with expertise and network, the second part of the criticism has gone away.  In fact, raising from many angels has become such an asset that I push the idea of raising an “Angel Army” as a powerful strategy. 

Until recently, the administrative overhead has still existed.  Even though today small $5k angels can be hugely valuable, organizing 20 of them for a round can be a huge hassle today during closing and in the future to manage.

Enter SPVs (special purpose vehicles) and CTVs (cap table vehicles) / RUVs (roll-up vehicles).

By bundling small checks into one investment vehicle, founders can avoid administrative/legal costs, the hassle of chasing signatures, and complexity of ongoing cap table management.

These things may sound like small annoyances but this can be the case of death by a thousand papercuts.  

When organizing an SPV to bundle your small checks into, there are multiple providers you can use, but I like Vauban because of their connection with the cap table management system Carta.  They also happen to be the least expensive option out there!

Vauban helps manage investing vehicles from the backend of full funds to individual SPVs.  The SPV functionality makes it easy for Vauban to support RUVs or Cap Table SPVs as they like to call it.  Quickly and easily collect multiple checks under one investment vehicle and a singular line item on your cap table.  Closing and executing conversions into equity becomes a piece of cake and save you the headache of a thousand paper cuts…

Pricing

A Cap Table Vehicle costs $6k (only $4k for Carta customers).  Sign up here -> https://vauban.io/funded

3. DocSend

A core component of fundraising is sending information to investors. From decks to data rooms, you’ll be sending all sorts of documents to a variety of investors.

It is completely free to send documents directly over email but the benefits of using a document sharing tool like DocSend are deep.

DocSend provides a secure way to share documents with anyone. It's tailored for fundraising, allowing you to track when your documents are opened and by who. This comes in to play more than you think in fundraising. I personally have been the recipient of many decks I shouldn’t have gotten so being able to set expiration dates and revoke access on a recipient level is invaluable.

Document sharing tools also allow you to modify content on the backend without having to update the link that you initially sent. Fundraising is a dynamic game and the information sometimes needs to be adjusted after the fact for different investors.

Finally, the data you get about who’s opening your information and how long they’re spending on different parts is crucial to being informed on how to follow up and adjust your pitch.

Overall, document sharing tools are invaluable in fundraising. If you're not already using one to manage your information sending, you’re missing out. There are many options out there but consider giving DocSend a try.

Pricing:

DocSend is free to try and $10/month for individual plans.  DocSend was a sponsor of Funded Season 1 and 2 so we are big fans! Check them out - docsend.com/funded 

4. Paste

Remember that helpful link you sent to your founder friend three weeks ago? Yeah... me neither, and I'm too busy to figure it out. What about the 3 different blurbs you keep rotating between when you’re sending out fundraising emails? Or the multiple pieces of data you need to copy from different parts of an investor’s website when doing your target list research?  If you’re like most people, you’re jumping between docs, copy pasting, and hating life while watching time get flushed down the toilet.

Paste is an enhanced clipboard that automatically keeps track of everything you copy, making it easy to access links, files, text, and images you would have otherwise struggled to access or completely forgot about.

In fundraising, you’ll be constantly accessing bits of data from a variety of sources so giving your copy/paste ability a supercharge will be a godsend.

Paste is the best way to save all the things you're constantly copying but never saving so that when you need them again later on down the line (and trust me: you will), they'll all be there for you in one convenient place.

Pricing:

  • Free (with some limitations)
  • $0.99/Month or $9.99/Year to use without limitations

5. Yet Another Mail Merge (YAMM)

When you kick off your fundraising process, you'll be sending hundreds, possibly thousands, of e-mails to potential investors, connectors, supporters, etc.  Many of those emails will be exactly the same save a few personalized details.

If you are still sending those one by one…you are lighting your time on fire and inviting typos into your process that can undermine your credibility with some very important people.

Learn how to use mail merge and address those big risks ahead of time.

The YAMM mail merge tool is simple to use (the most intuitive of any mail merge software we've tested) and enables you to easily send a high volume of emails, saving you a ton of time. Personalize your emails with custom text fields and markers, all from a simple Google Sheet. This means that instead of having to type out every single investor's name or fund individually for each message you send, it's all done for you while still sending high quality emails that are personalized for each recipient. No more copy-pasting names into every message!

Pricing:

  • Free (50 recipients/day)
  • $25/year (400 recipients/day)
  • $50/year (1,500 recipients/day)

6. PhantomBuster

Lastly, let’s talk about automation. There are so many small data gathering or engagement tasks that at scale could actually move the needle when it comes to fundraising. Pulling data from social networks, engaging with important investors, or even sending out your own unique content.  They’re all valuable but impossible to do in a time efficient manner.

Enter Phantombuster. It’s one of my favorite tool discoveries over the past couple years.  PB promises to take care of mundane tasks in an automated way, allowing you to focus on the bigger-picture tasks. Phantombuster can pull data from social networks, scrape emails, send out automated emails and more! 

More specifically, with PhantomBuster founders can build a complete investor outreach campaign and automate engagement with new connections. 

Here's one step by step process you could use PhantomBuster in immediately:

  1. Use our Investor Database + Outreach Guide to identify target investors. Use our email templates as a guide to draft your messages to investors
  2. Use the LinkedIn Search to Lead Outreach flow to connect with investors on LinkedIn and send a follow-up message after connecting
  3. Set up a LinkedIn Auto Liker to engage with investors' posts
  4. Set up a Twitter Auto Retweeter to increase your surface area for getting on investors' radars
  5. If you can't find a warm intro to a target investor, use the LinkedIn Connections to Emails flow to scrape their individual emails and start building a connection

Pricing:

  • Free (14-day Trial, then 10 minutes execution time/day
  • $59/month (20 hours execution time/month)
  • $98/month (80 hours execution time/month)
  • $280/month (300 hours execution time/month)

Fundraising can be a stressful, confusing, tedious process – especially if you’re tackling it on your own. The tools we’ve covered will save founders time and make their life just a little simpler. The Adamant team is always on the lookout for tools that help founders - ping us if there’s any others you think should make the list!

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