How do you go about funding a business like ūmmi? We get asked this a lot. Like many startups, the first step was putting in our own money to set up the business, develop our recipes, and land the product.
Launching a new brand in a totally new category is expensive, so we knew we would need to raise outside money. We wanted co-founders who represented our core values and could become the bedrock of the business, and that’s when Mikey February, Nina Brooke, Ben Howard, and Mia Rose, to name a few, came in. We also wanted investors and advisors with solid business acumen and a passion for creating a unique brand experience emphasizing design. We were fortunate to bring in CoFounder of Design Hotels Claus Sendlinger, Apple design teams Julian Hoenig, CEO of 180 creative agency Sander Volten, and VP of K2 Damon Morris, who was also responsible for the North Face collabs including Kaws and Gucci. We also brought in beverage industry veterans, including Josh Carlos from Lyres and Steve Webb from Diageo to help us shape our growth strategy.
This set us up for success by ensuring we had the marketing power behind us, the design DNA needed, and most importantly, a great product. But again, how do you go from there to raising further funds?
Well, the expression that your “net worth = your network” has really been brought to the fore over the last few months. Between the founding partners, we’ve been back through address books and DM’s, lining up meetings with friends-of-friends of contacts we’ve met over the last 2 decades to explore a vision of what ūmmi can become together. After many meetings and an unhealthy amount of coffee later, we were left with great experiences connecting with people who fully understood what we were building and our vision for the future. While the business landscape has changed, and most brands now emphasize DTC, these meetings reassured us that starting with B2B first was the right approach.
We’re now closing in on the halfway mark of our investment round thanks to some great support from investors in the Lisbon restaurateur community. If you would like to be considered for investment in the remaining part of the round, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
A big takeaway for us is that successful fundraising takes a village, and your “village” is usually made up of people you’ve also helped realize their own dreams along the way. Being there to lift up others when possible, with no expectation in return, has unexpectedly opened so many doors for us to meet great people we wouldn’t have connected with otherwise. It’s like entrepreneurial Karma.
So if you’re raising money, these would be our 5 essential tips :
1. Build your plan and road test it with people who understand the space (before your target investors). If you’d like, send it to us, and we’ll give you any advice learned through our journey.
2. Create momentum and energy, and let your investors feel that.
3. There is no closed door. Be respectful, but always share updates to your network as you progress. People generally love to help where they can.
4. Say hi, be inquisitive, and get used to drinking obscene amounts of coffee. Greg, one of our founders, is amazing at this. He seems to know someone wherever he goes, and most of that is just because of his open nature.
5. Once built, share your plan via doc send or something similar to keep track of who is looking at your deck and where they spend the most time, which can help you learn what your potential investors value to help you refine the content.
Oh, and one more.
6. Enjoy and trust the process. You will go far if you have a good product, a great brand, and amazing people around you (personally and professionally). Just try to look up from time to time and remember this moment. In 5 years, you’ll look back and be so grateful for these moments.
We’re just closing out our investment round and have some truly game-changing investors coming in to power up the next 18 months of growth across Europe.
Enjoy the buzz.