But as long as you don’t freak out and start telling everyone you fucked up How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

In general you should be upfront about your fuckups, but at the same time, you have to consider that the person you’re considering apologizing to might not even think you fucked up!

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A great valuation How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

Forces outside your control have A LOT to do with the valuation you ultimately get. Had we done everything the same a YC batch or 2 later, our cap might have doubled. Had we done it a batch or 5 sooner, it might have been 1/3 as big

You shouldn’t stress the actual valuation too much – the important thing is to get a lot of money so you don’t run out and die!

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We raised $1.8M How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

It actually ended up being closer to $2M total since we took money here and there even after we were “done” fundraising (the beauty of convertible notes – in addition to the fact that they give investors very little power / control – is that you can always accept new ones whenever. And our philosophy was always “ship ittttt!!”)

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June 27th, 2013

Just Fucking Ship It (JFSI)

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And yet it ended up totally fine! Things shook out exactly like we pretended we knew they would all along How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

How did we recover? Honestly I don’t remember exactly what happened – AbominableHoMan did the talking, so he knows better than I, but one thing that definitely didn’t save us was everyone on the fundraising spreadsheet investing more than we thought or whatever

I.e., it was some unanticipated good stuff that we couldn’t possibly have accounted for when we were modeling things on the spreadsheet. New leads, existing investors introduced us to more investors, people we didn’t think were even capable of investing ended up shipping us money, etc

Which is why every fundraising spreadsheet plan thing must be taken with a huge grain of “lots of unanticipated good and bad shit will happen that’s not on here”, which is why you can’t take a spreadsheet’s advice on how bad to feel about your current fundraising situation, which is why you “just have to believe” (#corny)

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The fizzing of both your massive diet cokes. How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

In addition to iced soy lattes (and their attendant 3 Splendas.. if you’re me – AbominableHoMan was always more chill on the sweetener tip), AbominableHoMan and I both consumed a lot of sauce and Diet Coke while we were raising this round (Maboo’s only vice was loquats)

Nowadays I rarely drink Diet Coke at all (unless I’m eating Chinese food, which, COME ON!!)

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A giant saucy bread-y chicken sub that tastes like cardboard How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

The meme Quiznos sauce at the time was branded “Batch 83”:

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You drive straight to the Menlo Park Quiznos How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

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This would be a mega-embarrassing outcome How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

It’s just a bad look to go around telling people “yeah we’re raising $1.5M no problem” and then only raise $500k (tho the world wouldn’t have ended, contra how depressed we felt at the time)

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June 27th, 2013

Three words: it goes on.

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Here’s what the spreadsheet looked like: there was a row for every investor we knew who had not yet said “no”, and columns for (a) the probability of investment and (b) the range of possible investment sizes. How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

Looking up the old spreadsheet it actually had a lot more columns:

  • Investor name
  • Meme (e.g., “BALLER agent, maverick”)
  • Email
  • 1st contact sent?
  • Level of interest (as a percentage)
  • Expected investment size
  • Meme bonus (we attached a dollar amount to the perceived non-monetary benefits of getting certain investors on board. Looking back these numbers were laughably high)
  • Expected value
  • YC grade (presumably what we thought YC thought about the investor – this column’s empty)
  • Notes

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Is there any way we can thank Ron Conway for hooking us up with so many bomb investors How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

Ron Conway is probably the most meme angel investor in Silicon Valley. But at this point he’s more of an institution than a single investor. If Ron Conway likes you enough to invest, that’s great. If he likes you enough to recommend you to the many investors who look to him for guidance.. that’s really really great

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