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November 18, 2023
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 min read

How to Raise a Series A with Maddy Alcala

Maddy Alcala, President of Gooten, recently joined The Fundraising Debrief following their $11 million Series A

How to Raise a Series A with Maddy Alcala

Maddy Alcala, President of Gooten, recently joined our podcast The Fundraising Debrief following their successful $11 million Series A. Gooten is a smart supply chain for brands that utilize print on-demand for their operations. The following is a summary of the main takeaways from the podcast. Be sure to check out the full episode and follow us on Linkedin for more highlights from every guest.

Before kicking off the fundraise Maddy focused on rallying her team around a clear strategic vision, which helped create alignment between the team and their investors. Maddy's advice to founders is to focus on building the business they want to build, not the one VCs want to fund. After all, there's no faking alignment in the long run, and the last thing you want to do is bring investors onboard who will exhibit unhealthy pressures that distract you from executing against your strategy.

During the fundraise, Maddy found that most investors look for reasons to say no. Financial metrics, market fit, product, and traction were all considerations, and Maddy detected the shift to a more conservative outlook that had investors focusing on capital efficiency and profitability. Securing funding is not just about presenting impressive metrics to venture capitalists; it's about pinpointing which investors have a level of understanding of and interest in the space and business model (aka those that are a good fit and buy into your strategic vision). She emphasizes the importance of finding investors who provide more than just capital. Good support, introductions, sales support, and operating advice can be invaluable assets for a growing startup.

Preparation was key to Maddy's fundraising journey, including creating a target list of investors and setting a deadline for the "first close". If possible, she advocates for one leader to focus on fundraising as a full-time job. In his book "Fundraising" Ryan Breslow advocates for a similar approach to the one Gooten took: have one leader take on fundraising as their sole focus, rather than having multiple people involved which can become inefficient. Maddy would absorb all the feedback from the market and feed it back to her team to bounce ideas off of them, which helped keep them informed and her motivated.

Maddy also pointed out the importance of finding time for personal activities outside of the fundraising process to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Being too heads down without taking a break can lead to burnout, especially given how much rejection one faces in the fundraising process.

There's no shortage of constructive feedback from investors during the fundraising process, but Maddy points out there are times when it's necessary to push back. After all, no one knows this business better than you.

Cold introductions can sometimes lead to investment, but Maddy found warm introductions to be the most effective when trying to get into new funds. Regular communication with investors, such as board meetings and one-on-one calls, is also crucial in maintaining relationships and securing future funding.

Amazingly, Maddy was able to finalize the terms of Gooten's $11 million Series A just before her deadline, which was a firmer deadline than most as she gave birth just weeks after closing the round. There's so much to learn from her story, and we couldn't more highly recommend that founders take the time to listen to the full episode here.

How to Raise a Series A with Maddy Alcala

Mark is a repeat founder, ex-VC investor, and experienced go-to-market and revenue leader.

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