Navigating the Fundraising Process: A Comprehensive Guide

February 27, 2024


Embarking on the fundraising journey is a pivotal moment for startups aiming to scale operations, enhance product development, and amplify their market presence. Securing external capital is often a requisite for such ambitions, serving not just as a financial lifeline but also as a catalyst for growth and innovation. This guide distills the essence of navigating the fundraising process, drawing from firsthand experiences in the startup ecosystem, insights from seasoned investors, and lessons from successful fundraising campaigns.

Understanding the Why

The imperative for fundraising is rooted in the startupโ€™s intrinsic need for growth capital. Beyond the basics of operational costs and payroll, startups require funding to accelerate market penetration, refine products, and attract top talent. However, fundraising is more than just securing cash; it's about forging partnerships with investors who bring value beyond capital, offering strategic guidance, industry connections, and operational expertise. This alignment of interests between startups and investors is fundamental to the fundraising narrative.

Timing Your Fundraise

Determining the optimal moment to seek external funding is both an art and a science. It hinges on demonstrating a compelling value proposition, a robust business model, and, ideally, a track record of traction that signals market validation. Startups should approach fundraising when they have a clear understanding of their market, a validated product-market fit, and a trajectory of growth that resonates with potential investors. Early-stage companies might find this phase challenging, yet advancements in technology have made it feasible to showcase potential through prototypes, user feedback, and growth metrics even at nascent stages.

How Much to Raise?

The quantum of funding a startup decides to raise should be strategically calibrated to its growth milestones, runway requirements, and the dilution founders are willing to accept. Aiming to secure enough capital to achieve profitabilityโ€”or at least the next significant growth milestoneโ€”can minimize the frequency and dependency on external financing. Founders should articulate a clear plan, outlining how the funds will be utilized to scale operations, enhance product offerings, and achieve market expansion. This clarity not only strengthens the fundraising pitch but also aligns investor expectations with the startup's growth trajectory.

Exploring Financing Options

The landscape of startup financing is diverse, offering a spectrum of options from equity financing, convertible notes, to newer instruments like SAFEs (Simple Agreement for Future Equity). Each option carries its nuances, trade-offs, and implications for both founders and investors. Equity financing, for instance, involves selling a stake in the company, potentially offering investors a say in business decisions. Convertible notes and SAFEs, on the other hand, are designed to defer valuation discussions until a later financing round, often providing startups with quicker access to capital. Understanding these mechanisms and their long-term impact on ownership and control is crucial for founders navigating the fundraising process.

Valuation Considerations

Setting a valuation is a delicate balance of art, science, and negotiation, reflecting the startup's potential value, market conditions, and investor interest. While early-stage valuations may seem more speculative, they are pivotal in determining the equity given up in exchange for capital. Founders should approach valuation with a mindset of fairness and realism, aiming for a figure that supports growth while remaining attractive to investors. Engaging in transparent discussions with potential investors, leveraging comparable market valuations, and being open to negotiation can facilitate a valuation that aligns with both parties' expectations.

Selecting the Right Investors

The choice of investors goes beyond the capital they offer. It's about partnering with individuals and institutions that share the startup's vision, understand its industry, and can contribute strategically to its growth. This alignment is crucial for fostering a productive and supportive relationship throughout the startup's lifecycle. Founders should conduct due diligence on potential investors, seeking out those with a track record of supporting startups through growth challenges, offering valuable mentorship, and facilitating industry connections.


Navigating the fundraising process is a multifaceted journey that requires careful planning, strategic timing, and a clear understanding of financing options. By aligning their fundraising goals with the right investors and crafting a compelling narrative around their startup's potential, founders can pave the way for a successful partnership that fuels growth and innovation. This guide, while not exhaustive, aims to provide startups with the foundational knowledge and strategic insights to embark on their fundraising journey with confidence.

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Jonathan Anguelov
Founder at AirCall, valued at over $1 Billion & Investor

Jonathan Anguelov, a well-known figure in the French Tech scene, co-founded AirCall, a BtoB startup valued at over a billion euros. Under his leadership, AirCall achieved an annual recurring revenue exceeding 100 million euros, reaching Unicorn status and earning the exclusive Centaur distinction, limited to just 150 elite companies worldwide.

With an estimated wealth of 300 million euros, Jonathan's success is rooted in his strong entrepreneurial skills and wise investment decisions. Currently, he focuses on real estate investments through his company, Aguesseau Capital, with assets totaling 60 million euros.

Additionally, he supports the entrepreneurial ecosystem as a business angel, having invested in over 40 thriving startups.

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Ilan Abehassera
Founder of Origins, Async, Willo & Investor

With over 15 years of experience as a tech entrepreneur, he has co-founded and led several successful startups in the SAAS and consumer sectors, raising many millions in total funding and reaching millions of users worldwide. He is currently the co-founder and CEO of Async, the only tool that liberates your calendar with voice messages that can be read, reacted to, and shared with anyone. Previously, he co-founded Willo, which raised $25M with Kleiner Perkins and received Time's best invention of the year award.

He is also an angel investor and co-founder of Origins alongside โšฝ๏ธ world champion Blaise Matuidi, an early-stage venture firm that supports legendary consumer founders with an unfair advantage from seed to series A. Their LPs are primarily athletes, celebrities, and investors with significant social media influence, forming a powerful community of 160 million followers. He leverages the influence of their LPs to boost awareness and growth for the startups they invest in.

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Rodrigo Sepรบlveda Schulz
30 years experience as Investor, Board Member, 5x Founder

Rodrigo Sepรบlveda Schulz is a powerhouse in entrepreneurship and investment, demonstrating a robust track record across various sectors, participating in over 70 financing transactions, with 25 exits to date, including 3 exceeding $1 billion in valuation each (2 IPOs, 18 M&A, only 5 bankruptcies). In addition to investing, Rodrigo consults with corporates and startups, offering his strategic insights and broad network to assist in their growth and establishing successful partnerships.

As a respected thought leader, Rodrigo is a sought-after speaker, startup mentor, jury member in startup competitions, and occasional lecturer at top-tier graduate schools. He also actively participates in the podcasting space, contributing to over 800 podcasts in the past decade, and providing insightful commentary on the business aspects of technology. Multilingual in French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, and Thai, Rodrigo brings to bear his global perspectives and multifaceted skills in all his endeavors, standing as a versatile professional and an adventurous life explorer.

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Olivier Vaury
Investor and advisor | ex-CFO at ManoMano and Amazon France ex-BCG

Olivier Vaury, is a finance authority and technology advocate, pivotal in the growth of Europe's e-commerce and startup landscapes.Educated at prestigious institutions โ€” ENS Ulm, Universitรฉ Paris-Dauphine, and LSE โ€” Olivier's career trajectory has been impressive.He started his career at the Boston Consulting Group up to a senior manager position, with assignment across all industries.


He then moved to finance roles at Groupe Casino (as Head of Finance for the company's international businesses) and Amazon, where he served as the Finance Director for the France business, overseeing a period of ultra-fast growth and market consolidation. In 2017, Olivier embraced entrepreneurship at ManoMano, Europe's premier Home Improvement digital platform, acting as the first CFO of the company, and building from scratch the Finance, Legal, Analytics and Payments teams. He helped the company raised over โ‚ฌ500m fresh capital and grow revenue 10x.


In parallel, he showed strong to innovation as a business angel, investing in over 35 early-stage tech startups, mostly in the deep tech arena (with emerging stars of the deep tech scene in France such as Aqemia in pharma tech or LaVie in plant-based meat alternatives) . These investments cover an array of fields, including medtech, life sciences, robotics, space, software and niche marketplaces, demonstrating his knack for identifying and nurturing groundbreaking technologies.


Currently, Olivier leverages his comprehensive skillset as an advisor, guiding businesses in strategy, finance, data analysis, and HR. His unique combination of financial acumen, visionary leadership, and enthusiasm for technological advancements positions him as an influential figure in the finance and startup communities.

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Romain Lavielle
Head of portfolio and dealflow at Ava capital, Managing HEC's entrepreneurship certificate

Romain is a former entrepreneur, he created Digital Village (network of co-working spaces) and a B2B Saas in customer complaint management. He has a double background of engineer (EFREI Paris) and business (HEC Paris) wich made him start his career in digital at the early ages (he was one of the first 1000 French accounts on Facebook ;-) ).
After having managed Incubateur HEC Paris startup program, he has turned to the investor side, by managing dealflow and portfolio support at Ava Capital (100 startups in portfolio).

His analytical skills make him spot the core problem and go straight to the point to find a solution. Fond of lean, he'll always advize to test and learn.

Romain loves to support entrepreneurs, he has seen thousands of pitchs and one-to-one meetings with founders. He has a passion for great founders and loves to help them build incredible products and develop great companies.

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Alexandre Katrangi
Founder of Licorne Gulf Investment - Middle East & Africa expert

Alexandreโ€™s proximity and constant exclusive local relations with the key actors and players of the Middle East & all GCC, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, Qatar and Africa for the last past 27 years,

He provides independent investments through his Family Investment Holding and Advices to client base comprising blue chip financial institutions and private investors, large conglomerates of CAC40 and Fortune 500 or market intelligence companies as well as politicians and diplomats.

Core business flows from Investing directly or syndicating Invetsments from their Partners and Gulf Families they manage Assets and advising on all aspects of market entry through to the investment process itself as well as basic geopolitics, geostrategies and environmental advice.

Fundamental interest in emerging and frontier markets and mainly with the Saudi Arabian, Bahreini and Qatari market focus on all its market aspects such as oil & gas, oil prices, military and defense sector, industrial sector, rail sector, energy conventional/thermal electricity and IPP sector and nuclear sector, Technologies, royal family succession and internal visions.

Over the past 23 years, Alexandre has interacted and operated with companies such as Vitol, Halliburton, EDF, Denel, Mocoh Switzerland, Socar, Bashneft, Sistema, Norinco, Geodis, Ukroboronprom, Natixis, Blackstone, Thomson, KNDS, Several Football clubs, Angel Bike, Reputed Fintechs, Biotechs and many other international companies and conglomerates.

He is a past Associate of the Ambassador Omar Zeidan considered as the doyen of Middle East and Arabian Peninsula dealmaker since 30 years, and helds the position of Special Advisor of Royal Family Members of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain as well as the Delegate of a French Political Party.

Core Competencies:
- Investments and Capital Raising
- Strategic Partnership and Joint Venture
- M&A
- Macro level due diligence and analysis
- Country and specific sector, projects, company and business relations studies
- Identification of opportunities and assessment on the actors and network intelligence.
- Intelligence & advisory services on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.

Alexandre will consider speaking engagements globally in the areas of Investments, funding, politics, risk, strategy, intelligence, international relations, Technologies and energy and doing business in the Middle

East and Africa. Charismatic in his delivery, Alexandre is happy delivering a business keynote address to large and small audiences, after dinner speech, one to one executive mentoring, day and half day consultancy.

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Manuel Jaffrin
GetApp Co-founder (acquired by Gartner NYSE:IT)

With over a decade of experience in the Corporate IT sector at Sun Microsystems, Manuel Jaffrin ventured into entrepreneurship by co-founding GetApp in 2009, a bootstrapped venture where he served as COO. GetApp is designed to assist businesses in finding and comparing trusted software solutions. His efforts led to the acquisition of the company by Gartner (NYSE: IT) in June 2015, resulting in the formation of a new business unit, Gartner Digital Markets. Jaffrin played a pivotal role in scaling the business to over $20M in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) before departing in 2017. Currently, he leverages his experience to invest in startups and offer guidance to tech entrepreneurs on critical growth strategies, including initial growth phases, demand generation, building scalable sales operations, and fundraising.

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Pierre Gaubil
CEO at 34 elements

Pierre is a distinguished entrepreneur and investor with a history of co-founding four startups in the US and Europe. He notably led one of these startups to a successful IPO and played a key role in two major mergers and acquisitions.

Over 17 years in San Francisco, Pierre honed his skills in the midst of the tech industry's elite. His extensive experience as a General Partner at The Refiners, an early-stage venture capital fund in San Francisco, includes investing in 54 startups.He is currently leading 34 Elements, a revolutionary methodology designed to guide startups towards achieving product-market fit.

Pierre's expertise extends to coaching over 300 startups, specializing in strategy development. His areas of proficiency encompass vision creation, team building, equity structuring, value proposition development, market positioning, segmented market targeting, go-to-market strategy formulation, business model innovation, data-driven decision-making frameworks and fundraising.

Additionally, Pierre is a prolific author and a well-respected voice in the industry. He contributes regularly to two esteemed American digital magazines, Data Driven Investor and The Startup, and hosts his own podcast, 34 Elements. His insights are widely sought after, as evidenced by his frequent appearances as a guest on popular podcasts such as Silicon Carne, Tech 45, Marketing Square, Le Board, and others.

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Jean-David Rombi
CEO Kornette

Over the past two decades, I have gained experience as a strategic partner in several organizations dedicated to partnership development and supporting startups such as Aucland with Fabrice Grinda the Forbes world's top business angel in 2019, Net Angels startup studio with the success story : Skeepers, FrenchFounders... Startup Grind Marseille by Google, and the WeSprint accelerator by Sociรฉtรฉ Gรฉnรฉrale.

Through my expertise, I have been able to provide strategic and financial support to European startups in their pursuit of growth.

Today, I enable startups to raise funds through the Kornette mobile app.


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Gรฉraud Lamazรจre
Investor at Unicraft VC

A passionate entrepreneur for over 15 years, I have developed several companies in the BtoC and BtoB markets. I have completed 2 significant exits. Today, I'm an investor in start-up projects. I know perfectly well the expectations of Angels Investors and VCs, and have developed a large network of professionals and investors. My aim is to share my rich experience of accompanying dozens of Stratups from ideation through product-market-fit, go-to-market and sales scaling strategies to the B-series. I'm personally passionate about tech issues.

AI Integration: I am constantly looking to integrate artificial intelligence solutions to automate processes, enhance efficiency, and create competitive advantages for the startups I work with. I'm an optimist with the ambition to make things happen.

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Xavier Sanso
Founder at Metrix Partners

Xavier has a long career in finance roles, most recently (2016) as founding partner at Metrix Partners. He provides strategic financial advice to top startups in healthcare, SaaS and deeptech, and also to their investors.

He has advised M&A transactions of startups with major corporations such as: SAP, Coinbase, AstraZeneca, Tencent or Family Zone, and he has also helped grow startups during their late seed, series A and series B phases, including fundraising processes from VCs such as: Octopus, Elaia, Notion, Dawn, Nauta, Caixa Capital Risc, MMC or Ship2B. Xavier also advises top VCs in their investment process, so he will be able to reverse engineer their logic for you.

The type of advice you can expect from Xavier is: how to get up to speed as regards investment readiness so that your company addresses an M&A or fundraising process with a well-rounded investment thesis, how to improve your business plan so that the scientific, operational and financial parts blend well in one unique and robust proposition, or how to set up the core financial and operational infrastructure for your next step of maturity.

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