Women's Funding Summit: Session #4: Investor/VC - Closed Caption, Blue Room

Panelist: Ben Lee | CircleUp Growth Partners

Panelist: Madeline Haydon | Nutpods

Moderator: Kendra Kuo | U.S. Commercial Service - Grand Rapids

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Welcome to our final session today. The investor Vc session.

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My name is Melissa Boulevard Mcguinness, with W Marketplace, the co-host of today's event, and I am your tech lead for the session.

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I'd like to introduce you to our session moderator, Kendrick Quo, from the Us.

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Commercial Service, Kendra.

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Thank you, Melissa. Well, congratulations to everyone.

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Thank you for making it to the end of the day, or maybe you're like me and you've been popping in and out of sessions throughout the day.

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Either way, I'm thrilled that you decided to stick around and listen to our panelists.

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Today we'll be talking about working with investors and venture capital.

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My name is Kendra Co. And I'm the director of the Us.

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Commercial Service office in Grand Rapids, Michigan and it's my pleasure to see so many of my colleagues on the screen today. One of the best parts of my job is working with strong female leaders throughout the country and throughout the world in Our 75 Us.

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Offices, and over 75 offices and foreign countries, and us consolidates and embassies abroad, and then the best part.

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The next best part about working with my job is meeting so many great business leaders and working with small businesses.

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So, although I've only recently met our panelists today, I've been really impressed with what they what they have to share, and I think you'll agree with me that they have some great insights to share so thank you for joining us it's my honor to introduce to you

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Madeline hand, and she's the CEO and founder of Nutpads, and also joining us today is Ben Lee.

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He's the managing director at circle up partners.

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Thank you for joining us. Madeline. Let's get started with you.

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happy, to be

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Sure, my name is Madeline Hayden. I'm the founder, and CEO of green grass foods, and our first brand is not pods.

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It's a line of plant-based cost coffee creamers, and barbista milks.

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I started it in 2,013. I'm from Seattle.

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Love a good cup of coffee, but I'm lactose intolerant, so I just.

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I just wanted to get away from all the processed creamers in powdered non dairy creamers that you see in the marketplace.

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And so I started my company with no background, and the food embraced space.

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I actually came from the blood banking industry and medical devices, and so created it in my kitchen, started with a Kickstarter campaign.

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Because I wanted proof of concept and actual startup funds, and then we ended up launching in grocery stores and the Seattle area.

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Then, a month later, on Amazon, where we became just number one back selling number one new release, and we're still the best selling brand online.

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And now you can find this nationwide cross August, Restore such as Walmart Target, Costco.

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you know broker, and you'll see our creamers in the refrigerated set, as well as the shelf stable.

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Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and and about your company?

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Great. Thank you so much. And Ben, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about working with?

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Yeah, thanks, Kendra: So I'm I'm Ben Lee.

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I'm one of the managing directors at circle of growth partners.

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We are a venture fund, focused on the consumer product space.

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We invested the early stages, when a brand is already in market, and has some traction; but in the early days of their growth, and so we kind of described that as one to 20 million dollars in revenue for consumer brands.

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You know, really trying to solve the gap or early stage funding within the consumer ecosystem circle up as an organization has a few different business, lines, one around data to help early age businesses, as well, as a lending arm that provides short term loans for consumer products companies

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but really the the mission was to support entrepreneurs in an industry that lacked a lot of financial resources in the past.

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You know, we are here based here in Silicon Valley, and we're founded here.

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And we saw the amount of funding that was going toward a lot of the textile businesses at the early days, and and thought that consumer products companies had an equal the attractive opportunity to provide them.

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With different financing and resources. And so we've been investing in organizations or brands for the last 5 years.

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Circle up.

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Oh, that's fantastic. Yeah, I saw that from your website.

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You range anywhere from 10,000 to 10 million and and programs.

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I've been an investor in the consumer space for about the last 15, and fortunate to be partnered with Madeline as one of the entrepreneurs that we've worked with

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Yeah, So I mean the the across the 2 different programs that we have.

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We have the equity arm, which is a more traditional venture.

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Capital will be a slightly on the higher end, where we'll call it one to 20 million dollars in revenue, and and our typical investments in those companies are anywhere from one to 5 million dollars, and then on yeah, the credit side.

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Of the business which is lending against assets.

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A business might have, will, typically can work with brands that are doing as little as a few $100,000 in revenue, and able to lend as little as 10 or 20.

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What's your typical client? Look like

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Okay, that's interesting. Thank you. I'm so, Madeline.

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So we're we're gonna be talking about about all sorts of fun, things in food and beverage and raising money. And it's quite a journey

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Man. It is rough out there, Kendra, I mean, especially when you're in my position.

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I'm wondering for you. What did it look like for your company to decide that you right at a position where you needed to look for additional funding, or what motivated you to to find circle out

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Number one: I am a female founder, person of color, pregnant with my second daughter in New, So, to be honest, it was very hard, I mean I was not bankable when we started, and so I went the traditional way of a lot of entrepreneurs where you start with your family

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and friends, and you go through your life savings, and you go through your and and that was quite a moment with my husband when I said, You know we've we've got we've got one more crack at this and we have just enough. In.

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My and he said, Don't do it, and so and and so.

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But you know sometimes you have to believe in yourself, And so we had gone through promissory notes with people that had extra capital that weren't ready to invest in.

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You know equity. Yet because we were a startup, we didn't know if we had anything going yet, and then we also went to a convertible note, so that convertible note triggers with a qualified round.

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And so with that we went out, and we sought in institutional funding, and I think one of the things that women have as an additional barrier is that oftentimes you know our career path is a little bit different so we don't have.

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Necessarily same inroads, you know, to the investment communities.

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It's not like there's a roller deck to be able to find out.

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Oh, okay, I need angel investors, super angels, family offices that invest in the food and beverage space and startup stage.

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So it was very hard to get going in networking.

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Where do we find investors, and at the right stage for us?

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And so that's where I think a lot of the trade groups that are in particular areas can help you network.

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And so, But that's that's an important part, and it's underrated.

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Good point. Yes, so, Ben, can you tell me a little bit about how important it is for you to have create that relationship with your clients?

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yeah, for for us again. I speak mostly from the lens of the venture investing side of things.

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And so we do have a very long term relationship with the entrepreneurs that we partner with.

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you know, typical and doesn't for us can be 3, 4, 5, you know, even 7 plus years at times And so it's really important for us to get to know the entrepreneur a and a lot of times again, they know them sometimes over the span of years before

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we actually partner with them, You know Madeline was someone.

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We were fortunate, we actually, in a former function that we had at circle up.

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We actually supported companies in those fundraise efforts rather than investing ourselves directly, and Madeline was one of the early brands that we parted with to support with some fundraising efforts and got to know her over several years.

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Before we started making our own investments, and and so I built a good relationship and and a collaborative relationship there, and when the opportunity arose for us to invest directly was very familiar with 9 11, was with her business had seen the success and the momentum that she created in the brand and so for us

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to be able to be make a relatively quick decision, to be able to partner with these entrepreneurs that relationship and that trust and kind of seeing the history of the the work is an important.

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And what's been like working with notpads

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Collaboration and and taking the time to to plan for the long term That makes sense makes a lot of sense.

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How about for you, Madeline? How did you know that they were a right partner?

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But it's so critical

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I think part of it, you know you'll you'll hear oftentimes that you need to be very selective with who you partner with.

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Because once you issue equity, it's very difficult to get them out of your organization.

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So, you know, being able to find an investor where they had a great reputation in the Space food, and beverage.

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In our case, where they had a proven track record, you know, Circle up has been behind some great brands like like Halo top, and so, and being able to see what value that they add Yeah, a lot of people have money right that's what they're doing they're lending their money they're lending

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their expertise, but I really felt comfortable from my interactions with circle App, and seeing them just help and and provide introductions, even when they had really you know nothing to gain from just helping me, out, and So those are the things that really matter, to me you'll sometimes find investor, groups where they don't give you the

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time of the day until you're relevant in their in their stage, and I get that because time is important to all of us, But it also matters when you go and you pick your partner where if they weren't willing to speak to you at a trade, show if they weren't willing to help you with

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an introduction. Then to me, it just it's it's not really somebody that I wanted to partner with.

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Or a good fit for you.

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thanks for describing that process. So Ben, could you tell me a little bit more about how you select the companies?

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Part of what we do given, how long term that relationship really is

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Yeah, I I wanna say, that's a formal business plan.

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I find that particularly the early stages of of kind of building a business and and fundraising.

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It's almost an unnecessary level of detail and and production to go through a full business plan.

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What I would say, though, is that the components of what goes into a business plan are really important.

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and so that often is presented in a short presentation.

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A Powerpoint deck, where an entrepreneur is able to describe what the problem they're solving is now, why the product that they have is, different and and And why.

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It'll be important for a lot of consumers, and why they are the right team to go after that problem, And and I think that it is again that is a core question that we ask, as investors is oftentimes what Why, is this a product that's differentiated in a way.

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That matters to a large number of consumers, and so, being able to answer that question and discussion, and be able to show that you've got the understanding of the space the you've got the right experience and the right skill set to go attack it which doesn't mean that you necessarily come from that exact industry as you

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heard from Madeline. She did come from this in beverage world, but she understood the pain point that she was trying to solve as as the customer herself, and she understand under and she had researched what the market opportunity was and was able to speak about you know in a quantitative and Qualitative way you know

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how she was going to go about attacking that market, more so than just having a rough idea of it.

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I think that that level of detail around why you're doing what you're doing, and how you're going to do it are important parts to be able to present and sometimes that comes to the cross that business plan sometimes that comes across in a phone call candidly like it could be any form But really as long as you've

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got the components of being able to tell the story on what you're building and why and building it is is kind of What is that initial thing to get us get us really interested.

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I would say that there is a there is a process that is relatively standard around looking at company, financials, and as a wanting to have your you know, your financials in order, does not have to be audited by any means but it does have to be at it, in good order, and and being able to

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Do you require them to present a a formal business plan, or what kind of things are you looking for before you make that decision to partner with a company

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have projections for what you think the business can do. Over the next several years, and having an ask for how you want like what you're looking to raise.

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if someone who says I just need funding versus someone who has an idea, I want this amount to support these initiatives is a very different discussion.

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Exactly, is it? It's a it's a reflection of.

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And so we had great interactions with circle app

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So if they come with a specific ask, you're more likely inclined to believe them that they know what they're talking about, and give them what they want

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I think it's also really important, Kendra, that an entrepreneur knows how much they need to get to the next level of proof point.

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And so, even if you could, and there are some people who could do it.

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but even if you could raise 5 million dollars in one go, you're really diluting yourself at such a early stage versus being able to raise 800,000 to get to retail, you know and expand into a new product line, or adding this queue and then you need like maybe one

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point 2 million after that. And so being able to have these tranches, and anybody who has raised money will tell you.

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It is a painful process, is soul bearing, and you really have to get through a lot of rejection that feels very personal.

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You know they're either saying no to you. They're saying no to your business.

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They're saying no to your product They send under your strategy, but a lot of the times.

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What I've learned is that they're actually not saying.

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No, they might be saying, not yet. Like you know, I am an investor in the food and driver.

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Space, but you have to get north of 5 million dollars in in bre revenue.

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you know I I might be an investor here, but I'm still learning my way, or I'm I'm more at the investor level.

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That's an individual, you know, angel investor. And so, really, being able to kind of pinpoint, how much you need a race how much you're willing to dilute yourself, because there will be probably more rounds than you think if you're successful, and I think ben touched upon something that's

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really critical, which is your team. They are banking on your product, and they're banking on your strategies, but they're also banking on the entrepreneur.

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And the team, and as you grow bigger the team becomes more and more important.

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But I often say in different podcasts. I could have had the same product, launched at the same time.

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But if I had a different starting team or a founding team, we might not be in the same spot, because that initial group of teammates that you put together for your brand, those are the ones, that run, the hardest over hills and through walls, for you and it's really important that you put together

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Yeah, that's so important. Thank you for meant to mean that, I think you know, creating that culture and creating that vision, where the people will go through the wall for you and work that next level I select what you said, about kind of putting together, different steps of what you want for the What stages you want and it, gives

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you kind of set your own metrics, so that you could get to that next level of funding.

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a great team as your founding team

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If you want to go there. So thank you. Did you? Did you use a business plan to sell yourself to Ben?

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You. You. You will need to have a Dac and investment deck, and so some of the things that Ben had talked about funny enough, we we actually launched in 2,015 and this was 2 years after our kick started.

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Campaign so it took us 2 years to get to market with with our formula, because we were doing a lot of things that weren't on the marketplace before, and, as I said, we had run through all of the personal money all the friends and family all the all the life savings and so

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on a lark. I had entered the Seattle use business competition where I got my Mba.

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And the first price was $10,000. I'm like, Okay, that will at least give us 10,000 more dollars.

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And so I wrote a business plan, went there with my with my founding team.

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There we ended up, taking third prize, but it it was really a great experience to go through, because you do have to articulate.

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You know about your business, and that is a very useful step.

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Nobody really believes the projections that you have. So, Ben, it's a check.

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The box, right where it's like you have to have projections that you're thinking about what your growth pace is going to be, and everybody thinks they're gonna have the hockey.

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Stick. But I think that all the other components about how are we going to manufacture?

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How are we going to go and distribute our product? How are you going to have a unique selling proposition? You know.

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How do we fit in the competitive landscape Those are things that were very important to do. So.

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Or did you come together with a deck? What! What what kind of things would you recommend that companies do to organize themselves

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They understand what the levers are to to grow. Their business

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Yeah, I I think the the please I put on that is just candidly from the investor's standpoint, a business plan is quite dense and can be quite long, and and just from a pure ability to digest.

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It quickly. It can be a more involved process. And so the the reality is not too dissimilar from when people are applying to jobs, and you have a very short time, when people are reviewing resumes to catch the recruiter's.

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Eye; it is you know, an investor is not going to spend 2030 min on every business plan that comes in, and so the benefit of I totally agree with Madeline that the process I go through business plan is a helpful part of distilling down strategy of distilling down the the level of detail

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and understanding that you need to understand to kind of grasped about the business, to really show that you are thoughtful about what you're going to do to actually build, a brand and build a business But the way it's presented in a present in a more powerpoint presentation is a more effective way to

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Maybe not required, but highly advised.

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And a lot of times you'll have literally just a one-page teaser that will give a quick overview, and then maybe you know, at the initial meeting you might provide them a three-page powerpoint with a little bit more detail.

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But it's it's a good analogy.

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Okay, Thank you.

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Okay, I see, we have some questions. Coming up in the chat.

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I'm gonna ask you a couple more questions, and then I'll head over to those from the audience.

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Been about about a resume

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You know I I think number one is just really Don't be afraid to ask questions, and I think sometimes we get afraid that when we're starting our new venture that we're gonna confirm what we don't know but you're not gonna get the answers that you need if

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you're afraid to ask them, and sometimes when you meet somebody who is an industry advisor or an industry expert, or you meet someone at a trade show where you meet someone at a conference, you know, you want to latch onto them you're like kendra will you be be on my advisor you

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Melan, What other advice do you have to give to women on businesses, on how to better prepare themselves for funding

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know on my board of advisors, since, like I just met you, and I wish you really well, so, but that's still an opportunity to ask them a question, And if you'd like then you can say you know Ben, I'd love to keep in touch with you can I connect with you on

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get that message across quickly. Then, in a very dense business plan.

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Linkedin, and then you can follow up, Ben. It was great to meet you so much, you know, I was thinking about.

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How do you think about this? And so you can still benefit by asking questions of people that our experts and people that have the the knowledge that you're looking for without full board being like, you know we'd be a my motive.

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Advisors, and so every piece it was like a jigsaw puzzle to me, and people I met you know.

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I wouldn't be afraid to ask questions. I think number 2.

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It is really important to understand the different stages of investors.

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You know angels, super angels, family offices venture, private equity, and one of the things that we had talked about previously except for, female founder businesses, only 4% of venture capital goes to female founded businesses and 2 you know according to Pittsburgh

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go to private equity. They behave very differently, and it's important to know how they're strategies differ because it.

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It depends on how they will behave a little bit, you know.

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Venture will cut slightly large, or slightly. Excuse me.

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Smaller checks than private equity, but there are more risk tolerant.

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They're also taking more bets on a portfolio.

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So, say, you know 8 to 10 groups. Private equity will be more risk, adverse.

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They will write bigger checks further along in your business. But there are tolerance for failures. Is A is a lot lower. And so being able to understand how the different infestors are, our structured will help you understand about what are their priorities and what they're looking for

00:23:25.000 --> 00:23:30.000

That's very helpful. Thank you. Have one last question for you, Ben, and then we'll open it up to the chat.

00:23:30.000 --> 00:23:44.000

so you know, with the the economy and everything going crazy right now.

00:23:44.000 --> 00:23:49.000

Mattel's been apart a lot of these similar conversations over the last year is just the economy's done.

00:23:49.000 --> 00:23:53.000

A lot of really interested like there's been very tumultuous in a lot of ways, you know.

00:23:53.000 --> 00:23:59.000

First, there was all supply. Chain challenges, and and kind of increasing input costs.

00:23:59.000 --> 00:24:04.000

And so what we we saw a lot of brands do, and oftentimes successfully.

00:24:04.000 --> 00:24:12.000

And and this is what is ultimately the consumer, seeing on shelf, is prices are increasing and it's a reality that the brands themselves have to do it.

00:24:12.000 --> 00:24:27.000

To be able to maintain the profit margins that they need to, you know, continue to to manufacture the products that they are selling and to the consumer at the end of the day, and, so that's it leads into the inflation that you're seeing at

00:24:27.000 --> 00:24:43.000

shelf, at the same time you were seeing on the investing side of things, you know, I would say 2019, 2020, even 21, was a very Rothy time When there was lots of investment dollars going into earliest age.

00:24:43.000 --> 00:25:01.000

Brands a lot of people who are trying to find the next buzzy startup to put money into, and for the a lot of categories as slowed down dramatically in 2,022 and so from a business standpoint really focus on fundamentals of of the business books and margins

00:25:01.000 --> 00:25:02.000

focusing on, you know, collecting your accounts, receivable in a timely manner, managing inventory level, so that you're not sitting on too much inventory, which a lot of retailers and brands today are facing that challenge because they did try to order in advance because the loss

00:25:02.000 --> 00:25:16.000

Do you have any advice, or what kinds of things do you share with your clients on pricing strategies or things of that nature?

00:25:16.000 --> 00:25:20.000

of watching issues. And now we're sitting on that product, you know.

00:25:20.000 --> 00:25:25.000

And And so the it's just the balance of folks on the phone, Mendels and managing cash.

00:25:25.000 --> 00:25:39.000

You know, candidate, at the end of the day, because that is the one thing where you you have some more control over your own catch balances about how you manage it, about how quickly you and if that comes at the expense.

00:25:39.000 --> 00:25:59.000

Of slightly slower growth. You know, that's okay. It's really about living to fight another day and waiting out this cycle and and being able to control where you go over the next 6 12 months, and and not be enforced in some situation where you you know have to go out and find a way to

00:25:59.000 --> 00:26:09.000

finance the business. It's better to, you know, be in more of a sustained mode for the next 12 months, and then kind of wait for that right opportunity.

00:26:09.000 --> 00:26:23.000

To go back into over, you might be able to raise more capital, where you might have a new opportunity.

00:26:23.000 --> 00:26:32.000

I I have to chime in here with one thing that I really think has gotten a little bit lost with all of the dollars that are pouring in.

00:26:32.000 --> 00:26:36.000

It is a big achievement to be able to close around.

00:26:36.000 --> 00:26:42.000

No doubt about it. Raising money is hard at the same time raising money is not the goal.

00:26:42.000 --> 00:26:47.000

Raising money is a byproduct of having a financially sound business.

00:26:47.000 --> 00:27:05.000

That is, able to sustain itself. If you are running on a loss, and you have to raise money every 9 months, or every 9 to 12 months, You know there's a point where you have to take a look, at what are the financial foundations, that you are building because even if you're raising money, how are you going

00:27:05.000 --> 00:27:17.000

to find you know an exit for your company, and so there's I mean, take a look at the at the public markets right now, There's been a lot of of brands that have gone to market.

00:27:17.000 --> 00:27:20.000

And They don't have sustainable cross margins.

00:27:20.000 --> 00:27:29.000

And so it after a while, you know it's reflected in the stock market, and after a while there's you don't want to get to the to the G.

00:27:29.000 --> 00:27:52.000

Round to to the series G round, and so I think that while it is important to raise money and have access to capital, be able to grow your business, to scale also record with some perspective, that that's not the goal, and it's hard because every once in a while you know I mean you read somewhere like wow, they raised that evaluation

00:27:52.000 --> 00:27:57.000

of like half a 1 billion dollars good for them. You know We we.

00:27:57.000 --> 00:28:00.000

On the other hand, we've been profitable for about 3 years.

00:28:00.000 --> 00:28:08.000

Now, and so for us to be able to build a profitable business with sustainable margins through Covid, through all the supply chain.

00:28:08.000 --> 00:28:16.000

That's something that we're immensely proud of, because it allows us to grow in a healthy way where we are going to be positioned.

00:28:16.000 --> 00:28:17.000

One day to exit, And that's actually the goal is to have a business that can be built and scale and exits because ben and circle up, they don't get their returns out by investing in a in a family legacy business and This this was never built to be I legacy

00:28:17.000 --> 00:28:35.000

Much. Yeah.

00:28:35.000 --> 00:28:43.000

business. It was built to scale so we could help a lot of people looking for healthy, plant-based options, you know, around around the nation.

00:28:43.000 --> 00:28:56.000

And so with that, you need to have scale

00:28:56.000 --> 00:29:04.000

So I I think we're a privately held company, and we're also private private equity back.

00:29:04.000 --> 00:29:16.000

So what I will share is that my goal? At the end of the day is to is to be own about 30% of the company at the very end.

00:29:16.000 --> 00:29:20.000

So you have to backtrack. How many times do you think you'll need to raise money?

00:29:20.000 --> 00:29:36.000

At what valuation, and so I think that's another pitfall that a lot of early stage entrepreneurs, maybe overlook, is, that when you raise the big dollars because there's a lot of money pouring into the consumer space you're also diluting

00:29:36.000 --> 00:29:42.000

yourself at the most expensive stage of your business, because you're valuation.

00:29:42.000 --> 00:29:45.000

Your enterprise value will be the lowest in your very first round.

00:29:45.000 --> 00:30:05.000

Then, when you start to grow, and you know, have more enterprise value, and so you know one of the things that's absolutely critical for me may not be for other people, was that I wanted to control my my business, and the decisions and you can't do that if you raise money.

00:30:05.000 --> 00:30:09.000

Too quick, And then, all of a sudden, you are in a minority position for your company.

00:30:09.000 --> 00:30:19.000

So being able to pace how much you raise, and how much dilution you are going to give and return for that is a really important part of your strategy.

00:30:19.000 --> 00:30:23.000

A lot of people think. Oh, I'm just gonna get like a bank line of credit That's great.

00:30:23.000 --> 00:30:30.000

But you have to reach profitability first. And a lot of the times that doesn't come till several years after you start.

00:30:30.000 --> 00:30:39.000

same thing with factoring. You know. You might be able to find a factoring company that say, for example, Kantra, you know you buy from me for a dollar.

00:30:39.000 --> 00:30:46.000

Ben is gonna give me the the funds to to pay off that invoice.

00:30:46.000 --> 00:30:48.000

So why have the funds and I don't have to wait the net?

00:30:48.000 --> 00:30:49.000

30 net 40 days, and then he gets a percentage of that.

00:30:49.000 --> 00:31:07.000

Great great insights. Thank you. Question from the chat for you is, can you please address the equity you leverage to get funding

00:31:07.000 --> 00:31:08.000

the president of the first company that I work as a trade association that I worked for.

00:31:08.000 --> 00:31:13.000

But it still is. You know, it still is another step that you need to have in order to grow. So being able to have different tools for the different states that you're at is really important to controlling your your cache. Cash is king No Okay.

00:31:13.000 --> 00:31:18.000

He he Those were his parting words to my husband on the way out the door caches, cash, flowers, key.

00:31:18.000 --> 00:31:19.000

We just kind of looked at them because we're you know, young twenties we're like. What is he talking about now?

00:31:19.000 --> 00:31:23.000


00:31:23.000 --> 00:31:25.000

And we fully got it. I'm not a business owner.

00:31:25.000 --> 00:31:31.000

You have to when you want to produce market, sell, you know, and then and then wait 40 days to be paid.

00:31:31.000 --> 00:31:34.000


00:31:34.000 --> 00:31:35.000

Cash. Yeah, so have you received any formal coaching along this process?

00:31:35.000 --> 00:31:43.000

it can get painful. Yeah.

00:31:43.000 --> 00:31:48.000

So I You know I have to give do credit to my Cfo.

00:31:48.000 --> 00:31:56.000

He's also my husband. And so he had a background in investment banking, and so he helps me along the way.

00:31:56.000 --> 00:32:00.000

You know he didn't join our company until I think it was year 4.

00:32:00.000 --> 00:32:06.000

He was supporting our family, and so he he couldn't join, because I was a full time volunteer for nap pods.

00:32:06.000 --> 00:32:11.000

For 3 years, but I think I gave him a lot of credit in helping shape.

00:32:11.000 --> 00:32:21.000

You know where we are in terms of being able to raise money and and think about that equity, and think about the cash flow and all of that.

00:32:21.000 --> 00:32:29.000

I also would really advise women to take a look at forming a board of advisors for you.

00:32:29.000 --> 00:32:40.000

So an advisory board, So, people that you know you might give them some options and then they'll give you advice the reason why you want to form an advisory board, is twofold.

00:32:40.000 --> 00:32:43.000

Number one, I could probably call up Ben on an AD hoc.

00:32:43.000 --> 00:32:50.000

I met him at a seminar. I kept in touch with him, at Linkedin, but at some point he's just gonna give me, you know, as best he can.

00:32:50.000 --> 00:32:53.000

Thoughtful advice, but it may or may not be as well thought out of.

00:32:53.000 --> 00:32:57.000

As when I give him some options. So it's like, you know.

00:32:57.000 --> 00:33:07.000

Be a little bit more thoughtful. Help me get to market, and I would love to give you some options, and hopefully, you know they'll they'll be worth.

00:33:07.000 --> 00:33:10.000

They'll be worth more and more as we grow together.

00:33:10.000 --> 00:33:24.000

And it also allows me to hold him accountable. So if he's not, you know if he's not being a good advisor, if he's slicky, or if he's blowing me off, then you know he has, to still earn those options, and and so that's one way.

00:33:24.000 --> 00:33:41.000

to access people that you will need to have. I think, the other way to do that is that when you go to raise money in my case I'm new to the industry, I've never been a CEO before circle up knows that and So they're going to be looking at who is advising me am I just

00:33:41.000 --> 00:33:42.000

making these decisions without a lot of experience. No, I have, you know, reputed people in the different functional areas.

00:33:42.000 --> 00:33:57.000

Or who have been your mentors throughout

00:33:57.000 --> 00:34:03.000

a follow up to that somebody when you mentioned, give Ben some options, or give your advisor some options. What do you mean?

00:34:03.000 --> 00:34:04.000

Do you mean like financial options, or you just mean like, should I choose Pat A, or she's happy? Or what do you?

00:34:04.000 --> 00:34:09.000

How helping guide my my route to market. And so that's another benefit of having a advisory board

00:34:09.000 --> 00:34:10.000

Oh, I see. Yes, they are. They are options for equity in the company.

00:34:10.000 --> 00:34:19.000

What do you mean by that

00:34:19.000 --> 00:34:25.000

Okay, Great: Thank you. Ben. You talked a little bit about, you know.

00:34:25.000 --> 00:34:42.000

What are the kind of the startup process and what you look for in a company.

00:34:42.000 --> 00:34:48.000

So there's a you can get into a huge discussion around how to how to properly structure transaction.

00:34:48.000 --> 00:34:51.000

What I would say is for us as equity, investors.

00:34:51.000 --> 00:35:10.000

We're investing in, you know, equity being essentially last money out of a company you they have all your desk today, of all your loans, and then, whatever the company is worth, that's what the equity holders all split and and so we are purchasing a portion of of the equity in a

00:35:10.000 --> 00:35:14.000

company, and and how you determine that is, it's kind of math at the end of the day around.

00:35:14.000 --> 00:35:27.000

How much are you investing, And I want valuation, And so that terms of what percentage of the company you're buying, and that but the devils and the details around how you come to again the the amount that you invest is a little bit of a function of what the company wants to do with the money kind of

00:35:27.000 --> 00:35:44.000

what their plans are, how they, how they plan to spend it, to get the business to that next level of growth, And then, secondly, it's the valuation and and valuation is very much a little bit our little bit science and there is a formula in the sense that people are typically using some

00:35:44.000 --> 00:35:47.000

sort of multiple. So there might be a multiple of your sales.

00:35:47.000 --> 00:35:55.000

It might be a multiple of your profit profits. It might be multiple of you know, even within sales.

00:35:55.000 --> 00:36:00.000

It might be your actual last 12 months. Revenue might be your projected revenue.

00:36:00.000 --> 00:36:05.000

It might be your last 3 months run rate and there's a variety of different metrics that you can use.

00:36:05.000 --> 00:36:13.000

But at the end of the day you apply certain ranges of multiples, those numbers to come up to a rough sense of what the valuation range is.

00:36:13.000 --> 00:36:17.000

one way to think about those as an investor.

00:36:17.000 --> 00:36:20.000

We are also targeting, you know, certain levels of returns.

00:36:20.000 --> 00:36:28.000

We want to be able to make, you know, 5 times our investment over the span of 5 years, and so that can help you.

00:36:28.000 --> 00:36:31.000

Then back, into, you know, if we think this business can be.

00:36:31.000 --> 00:36:37.000

You know this size in 5 years that might imply as certain valuation at the endpoint.

00:36:37.000 --> 00:36:42.000

And so it kind of caps. What you might be able to pay today in terms of evaluation.

00:36:42.000 --> 00:36:50.000

And so again, There, there's so there, formulas that in form it, but the art really comes down to wha what do we think The opportunity is How big?

00:36:50.000 --> 00:37:05.000

Is the outside. What do we think this business really looks like in 5, 6, 7 years, when there is an opportunity, maybe sell the business to someone else, and and that can inform how we think about what the current value of business is today rather than just being a straight formula.

00:37:05.000 --> 00:37:14.000

Of 3 times revenue, and and so, like the 8 days It's all those things you you kind of look at, all those different methods to triangulate.

00:37:14.000 --> 00:37:20.000

Around how to value a company, and then that ends up being mostly just math around.

00:37:20.000 --> 00:37:22.000

How much are am I investing at that valuation?

00:37:22.000 --> 00:37:23.000

And so that's the percentage of the company that I now am.

00:37:23.000 --> 00:37:25.000

deal. Is there a formula? You go by. What might the numbers look like for a deal versus no deal, And what are the requirements or criteria that circle up goes by

00:37:25.000 --> 00:37:33.000

I an owner of there There's a lot of other details that you can go into around the structure, and there are different terms, and things that you can put in there.

00:37:33.000 --> 00:37:37.000

It's hard to hit it all in a 45 min webinar freak out session.

00:37:37.000 --> 00:37:41.000

You've got a whole career to do this. But yeah.

00:37:41.000 --> 00:37:42.000

hmm! I think it's hard, Kendrick, because I think there there might be some women here where they need access to grow their business.

00:37:42.000 --> 00:37:51.000

Now tell us all you know right now.

00:37:51.000 --> 00:37:52.000

But they they are looking for a lifestyle business. They want to be able to pass this down to their children, and you know that makes it hard for institutional investors to invest in because How do they get their money back out, so being able to being able to take a look at different financial tools to help you with the

00:37:52.000 --> 00:38:22.000

But but but yeah, but the the short answer is that it's exactly

00:38:26.000 --> 00:38:29.000

It it. It comes down to like Adam was saying.

00:38:29.000 --> 00:38:42.000

There needs to be a match. Different types of funding sources have different things that they are looking for, and so being able to match your business to what they're looking for is going to be a super important part of it.

00:38:42.000 --> 00:38:52.000

For us as a venture investor. We are heavily, heavily focused on growth, and so a company that is steady and very profitable.

00:38:52.000 --> 00:39:00.000

Well, it can be of an amazing business for us, as a venture Investor is less of a fit, for for we're mostly focused on.

00:39:00.000 --> 00:39:05.000

And so even though it's incredible business, we would probably tell the entrepreneur.

00:39:05.000 --> 00:39:17.000

You know it's just not the right fit for us to partner with you, because we are very focused on growth. And so when we're looking at a company we'll look at how fast they grown prior to engaging with us and what do we think is the opportunity, for how much growth, can there, be in the

00:39:17.000 --> 00:39:28.000

future, and then to the matter of the point. We also are looking for Is this the type of business that we could then find another investor that would want to buy it by our stake in this business.

00:39:28.000 --> 00:39:43.000

and so you know again, there's some businesses where there wouldn't necessarily be a clear buyer, and So, regardless of whether it's a great business, or not if there's no buyer, for it it becomes tough for us as more of an institutional investor, where we have time

00:39:43.000 --> 00:39:46.000

limits where we need to return money to other investors.

00:39:46.000 --> 00:40:02.000

if it just doesn't match up, it, becomes tough, regardless of how well a business is performing and the flip side, if if you're very slow, you might just need some loans whether it's from a bank whether it's from another type, of lender, whether it be from an individual who

00:40:02.000 --> 00:40:06.000

is willing to lend you money. They might be looking for something that's pretty safe.

00:40:06.000 --> 00:40:14.000

Lower returns, but they know they'll get paid back in 2 or 3 years, with a little bit of return, and then, like work really well for them.

00:40:14.000 --> 00:40:17.000

And so just matching up the profile of your business.

00:40:17.000 --> 00:40:21.000

What you want to do? Long term and the type of investor?

00:40:21.000 --> 00:40:25.000

is a super important part of the conversation. As you. You grow and and I know all.

00:40:25.000 --> 00:40:26.000

All of this is very nuanced, and so it's a Madeline's point, I think, is really important.

00:40:26.000 --> 00:40:31.000


00:40:31.000 --> 00:40:36.000

Just to talk to a lot of people talk to other entrepreneurs, talk to advisors, you know.

00:40:36.000 --> 00:40:54.000

Just be willing to ask a lot of questions, and you know, risk looking a little bit silly looking a little bit uninformed, because at the end of the day at least, within the consumer product world I think, everyone is very well intentioned and wanted to support and wanting to help

00:40:54.000 --> 00:41:06.000

educate and and form, and make connections, and and and so the people who are in the earlier stages of learning about something as specific as fundraising.

00:41:06.000 --> 00:41:07.000

There's a lot of people who want to support and and try to help along the way, so I think it's the willingness to look a little silly, and and just ask the question is is a big part of You successful.

00:41:07.000 --> 00:41:16.000

growth that you need in my access to capital. But being able to find the right partner is also an important part of of the strategy, and how you grow your business growing, your business, growing, your customers, growing your like capital

00:41:16.000 --> 00:41:19.000

Yeah, it. It goes. You go much further. You just gotta get over here.

00:41:19.000 --> 00:41:23.000

You go a little bit and yeah, and and and I know that we have colleagues with the Sba.

00:41:23.000 --> 00:41:40.000

Who are willing to help, to, and maybe introduce you to other entrepreneurs, and then I think there's like a score group that's the senior retired people who can also give their expertise and so just feel free to reach out to either people in the commercial service or sba to

00:41:40.000 --> 00:41:49.000

see who they know in their network that might be able to help you along the way I think we got time for 2 last questions, and then we're gonna turn it back to the main session for closing remarks.

00:41:49.000 --> 00:41:55.000

Melissa? Is there anything that you think we should be heading that I've missed?

00:41:55.000 --> 00:41:59.000

I think there's one last question about like procedures of equity.

00:41:59.000 --> 00:42:00.000

You talked about that a little bit. But how do? How do you decide?

00:42:00.000 --> 00:42:03.000

That's right.

00:42:03.000 --> 00:42:08.000

Is it it so? I think the question that I saw in the chat box?

00:42:08.000 --> 00:42:25.000

It referred to the Advisory Board, and the answer that I would say to that is, it depends on the stage If you are brand new, like we were, and there was like a lot to figure out and so you gave a little bit more you know depending on like are you going to give me a half an hour once a month, are

00:42:25.000 --> 00:42:44.000

you gonna give me an hour once a month, and so being able to take look at what state you're at, and then how active of, an or you know of a advisory board are they willing to commit to you then, that informs like how much, you will be able to to give them versus if you

00:42:44.000 --> 00:42:49.000

are further along, but you just need kind of like tweaking along the way you're giving less options.

00:42:49.000 --> 00:42:57.000

But still giving a commitment of like, you know. High touch, low touch, medium touch in terms of what their time permits.

00:42:57.000 --> 00:42:58.000

I would recommend, as a resource Y combinator has a great textbook in which to talk about forming.

00:42:58.000 --> 00:43:11.000

How much to give, when and what does it look like

00:43:11.000 --> 00:43:12.000

Okay, Great: Thank you so much. Last question. And then we're gonna close out.

00:43:12.000 --> 00:43:16.000

you know advisory board. And then what is the range that you wanna grant?

00:43:16.000 --> 00:43:21.000

shark, tank. Love it or hate it.

00:43:21.000 --> 00:43:27.000

Who are you asking

00:43:27.000 --> 00:43:39.000

I You know I'm grateful. I'm grateful to be on the other side of women that have been able to raise money on the venture and Private equity reason why I participate in places like this and venues.

00:43:39.000 --> 00:43:45.000

Like this is because I want to make it easier for female founders and female lead organizations.

00:43:45.000 --> 00:43:55.000

Access capital, and if someone for me that you know, was recruiting for blood drives with cookies and juice and stickers can go ahead and successfully do this.

00:43:55.000 --> 00:43:59.000

I hope to inspire and show that other women can do that too.

00:43:59.000 --> 00:44:00.000

So there's a lot of grit along the way.

00:44:00.000 --> 00:44:02.000

No comment. You there, Whoever wants to answer

00:44:02.000 --> 00:44:06.000

Yeah, yeah.

00:44:06.000 --> 00:44:10.000

Thank you, Mattel, and thank you, Ben, for your time and your leadership, and for sharing your stories.

00:44:10.000 --> 00:44:14.000

It means the world to the people. On this webinar, and I find so much from both of you.

00:44:14.000 --> 00:44:18.000

This concludes: our breakout session. We're now gonna turn it over to Susan.

00:44:18.000 --> 00:44:19.000

Our event organizer for a few closing remarks.

00:44:19.000 --> 00:44:20.000


00:44:20.000 --> 00:44:33.000

But but your determination will take you far

00:44:33.000 --> 00:44:48.000

wow! Thank you so much to everybody. I don't remember the last time that I sat glued to my laptop for 5 h watching a webinar. I attended every session. Today.

00:44:48.000 --> 00:44:51.000

And It was amazing to interact with everybody in the chat.

00:44:51.000 --> 00:44:56.000

this was just so incredibly inspiring. I just wanna do a couple of quick.

00:44:56.000 --> 00:45:00.000

Thank you to first of all to Melissa from the W.

00:45:00.000 --> 00:45:10.000

Marketplace for doing an amazing job with all of moving, everybody in and out and handling questions in the chat, and it was just so smooth and seamless. And thank you.

00:45:10.000 --> 00:45:14.000

So much Melissa, for probably having the hardest job today.

00:45:14.000 --> 00:45:20.000

So thank you for that. I just want to thank our organizing partners. The Us.

00:45:20.000 --> 00:45:24.000

Commercial service has just been an amazing partner in putting together this event.

00:45:24.000 --> 00:45:27.000

They did a lot of the heavy lifting They recruited all the moderators.

00:45:27.000 --> 00:45:34.000

Thank you, to our moderators. Thank you so much for bringing in our high-level speakers from the depart from the Us.

00:45:34.000 --> 00:45:39.000

International trade administration, and from the small business administration. Thank you.

00:45:39.000 --> 00:45:44.000

To all of the lenders and financing services who joined us today.

00:45:44.000 --> 00:45:50.000

Thank you for your incredibly valuable time, and especially to the way entrepreneurs who joined and shared their experience.

00:45:50.000 --> 00:46:02.000

There is nothing that is more helpful when you are trying to run your own business than hearing from other people who have successfully navigated a really difficult thing like finding funding.

00:46:02.000 --> 00:46:06.000

And capital. So thank you so much to all of those women who joined us.

00:46:06.000 --> 00:46:10.000

thank you. To all of the women who joined us.

00:46:10.000 --> 00:46:15.000

Today. It's hard to take time out of writing your business to come to something like this, and we so appreciate it.

00:46:15.000 --> 00:46:18.000

You were so active in the chat. It was so fun to interact with everybody.

00:46:18.000 --> 00:46:31.000

Thank you so much. You know our goal for this webinar was to provide a broad range of funding and financing options, and our hope is that you walked away with inspiration.

00:46:31.000 --> 00:46:43.000

And that you walked away with maybe some new connections, some new ideas for how you can grow your business because, as we were talking about in the chat, we need more, women Ceos, And we need more women running business in this country.

00:46:43.000 --> 00:46:47.000

So we are so thrilled that you all joined us today.

00:46:47.000 --> 00:46:51.000

you know we've all heard a little bit about the W.

00:46:51.000 --> 00:46:54.000

Marketplace earlier from my co-founder, Kate Eisler.

00:46:54.000 --> 00:46:59.000

In our earlier session, Please reach out if you have any questions about the W.

00:46:59.000 --> 00:47:03.000

Marketplace. Of course we'd all love everybody to go onto the site. W.

00:47:03.000 --> 00:47:08.000

Marketplace com and shop and support other women entrepreneurs.

00:47:08.000 --> 00:47:18.000

So every time you make a purchase, you're making a decision about where you want to put your money, and the other thing that I just wanted to hit on, because I think it was so great.

00:47:18.000 --> 00:47:28.000

From our last session is, Find your fit talk to everyone, and be vulnerable about what you don't know That is how you're going to grow your business.

00:47:28.000 --> 00:47:34.000

Talk to everyone, find the right fit for you, and be vulnerable about what you don't know.

00:47:34.000 --> 00:47:46.000

Just gonna say that again. So at this time I'm gonna turn it back over to Melissa for just a couple of more points on how we're gonna close this out, And how you'll get the information from this session sent to you So again.

00:47:46.000 --> 00:48:02.000

Thank you so much for joining us, and we are hoping to see you in future sessions or on the Debbie marketplace.

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Launched in 2020, TheWMarketplace is a nationwide e-commerce marketplace for women-owned businesses to sell their products and professional and personal services. Offering favorable terms to its sellers, it also is a supportive community of women entrepreneurs that have access to learning opportunities through the trademarked HER-Commerce™ programs. With over 500 women-owned businesses selling 4000+ products and services ranging from home goods to coaching, in over 35 states, TheWMarketplace empowers shoppers with a new way to find the communities they want to support, including Black-woman owned, Latina-owned, AAPI-owned, Veteran woman-owned, and more. The Her Story Q&A is one benefit TheWMarketplace provides to sellers.