How To Close A Funding Round When You’re 8 Months Pregnant

How To Close A Funding Round When You’re 8 Months Pregnant

Marie Outtier CEO Aiden.ai May 21 16 min

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My name is Marie. I am the CEO and co-founder of Aiden.ai.  We are an AI startup. We started in 2017. I have one co-founder who is the CTO of the company,PJ, and he worked at Apple before he started Aiden. I worked in mobile app marketing for 8 years. We went from 2 people in 2017 and a low quality minimum viable product or MVP to a team of 12 people, 2 years later. We built a software called Aiden, that is used by mobile app marketing teams to get better results from their paid acquisition campaigns. It is an AI assistant that relies on machine learning to analyze facebook, google adds, snapchat, twitter… campaigns automatically and it produces recommandations that marketers can implement in all those different channels in a single click.

(…) we raised two rounds of funding to fund the company. A pre-seed Angel round of $750,000 joined by strategic Angel Investors such as the head of deep learning at Apple, Nicolas Pinto, and Alexandre Legrand who is a serial AI/NLP entrepreneur, who’s now the founder of Nabla The second round was particularly interesting. We closed then a seed round, 18 months after the pre-seed round, of  1.6 million. I was 6 months pregnant when we started the process. And my daughter was four months old when we closed that round. And it’s the one obviously that I’m going to talk about more today.

(…)Start by being very pragmatic and identifying all of the VCs that could potentially invest at your stage. (…)Do not waste time with people who are just going to see you for the sake of it. Because VCs will always take a meeting with you. (…)  set a deadline for yourself, decide exactly when it is you want to close the round and tell the investors that. No time to waste. Start early. Fundraising can take ages,

The second thing is, make sure to take all the VC meetings within a period of two to three weeks and tell the VCs that this is what you’re doing. Tell them “We need to have a decision on whether we’re going to the next step, next stage by the end of november for example. How does that look for you?”. Essentially you explain what the context is and you ask the VC. Put it to them basically. Put the ball in their court, basically. Ask them whether or not with your timelines they are able to make a decision fast enough. 

What VC’s don’t tell you, unless you ask them, is that they may be in the middle of raising a fund, maybe they haven’t closed it yet, maybe they have restrictions about how many investments they can make. 

Never leave the meeting without knowing what the next step is. “Yes” is better than “No” but there is nothing worse than a “Maybe”

It’s not because you are pregnant that you need to rush things.  Don’t give up anything that you don’t want to give up just because you are pregnant.

(…) do you bring this up when you are in a VC  meeting? Most of the time you don’t have to because it’s quite visible. You are literally the elephant in the room. But I never, ever, mention this because I don’t apologize for being pregnant.  

If people want to just ask how you are going to be handling the maternity leave, let them ask but don’t anticipate it.  

it’s easier to fundraise when you’re pregnant if you have a co-founder.

You have to be quite objective. Investing for VCs in startups is high risk. So you cannot deny that, whether they tell you or not, they just look at you as being a risk. 

(…) Do not forget that you are pregnant, the most important thing is you and your baby : listen to yourself.