Sramana Mitra: Let’s go back to 2016 when you were raising money. How much did you raise, from whom, and what were the metrics with which you raised?
Cooper Harris: Halfway through the year, we presented on the stage at a very large event. We got a ton of inbound interest from about 400 of the largest agencies in the world, which was such an eye-opener for us. After that, we did those Fortune 500 campaigns that I mentioned earlier.
Q4 was an awesome time for us. We had bigger clients paying bigger money. That is when we started to look to people for a fundraise. Most folks say don’t do it in Q4. I found it to be the opposite. Maybe partly because it’s a natural closing date. Secondly, as a commerce-based payments business, our Q4 looks really good. It was productive for us to raise in Q4. I don’t necessarily recommend it for everyone.
We started putting folks in the funnel probably in September. In November, we locked in terms and opened the round in December which is unusual. It was six weeks open and two weeks hardcore prep before that. Then prior to that, we were warming folks up to see who was interested. The other thing we didn’t want to do was go out to a ton of people who weren’t into it and waste our time.
Sramana Mitra: Were you raising from individual angels or micro-VCs?
Cooper Harris: Both, and some strategic as well. We ended up taking up from Stripe’s Head of Engineering. We love Stripe. We took money from the innovation folks out at Google. We took money from executives at Adobe, Amazon, and a bunch of places. Then a couple of other funds as well. It’s a nice mix of folks that I felt were very good value-additions.
Sramana Mitra: How did you find these people? Was it through AngelList or through some other channel?
Cooper Harris: I’ve never went out to an investor cold. I’ve never pitched somebody on AngelList or LinkedIn. I don’t think the cold approach usually works.
Sramana Mitra: Even on AngelList, the cold approach is not going to work.
Cooper Harris: I went out to my network and I had a couple of people interested. I just started getting folks interested.
Sramana Mitra: And then getting them to refer you to others.
Cooper Harris: Yes. I went out to investors I already knew, but I asked founders for interest from their investors. I did not ask investors for interest from other investors unless they’re already committed to my round. Half of my money came in from folks who knew me from the founder community. The other half was from investors who were investing in me already. I don’t recommend getting investors who are looking at your deal to send it to other investors unless they’re very sure they’re going to invest. The reason is, it’s weird.
Sramana Mitra: You raised how much?
Cooper Harris: We raised a couple of million – under five.
Sramana Mitra: At that stage, it’s the right amount. A few million dollars in January 2017?
Cooper Harris: Yes.