People raise capital every day and I often get asked what it was like to raise a million dollars within 5 months after the 2008 financial crisis. Well, to sum it up, “it was insanely hard, but it was the greatest business achievement of my life. Even better than raising my first $500K.”
As many of you recall, in October, 2008 the world changed dramatically. With the financial collapse, no one knew what was going to happen and for a startup, life expectancy was very short. Many may even remember the RIP Good Times presentation from Sequoia Capital. When the big boys do a whole PPT on the collapse, you know things were looking bleak.
While everyone was running for the hills post October, as a team, we dug in, and launched Clikthrough in December, 2008 with Sony Music and Phonogenic Records, home to the band The Script. With no clear path to having capital in January of 2009, I started writing paychecks from my own pocket as my current investors were not investing anymore money. I don’t blame them, the market rocked everyone and no one knew when it was going to be sunny again. I set out and traveled the world looking for capital, LA, New York, London, and Stockholm. With a bit of luck an awesome group of people decided to invest in me, those people were Savan Kotecha, Max Martin, Andrew Frampton, Steve Kipner, and many other successful music people and local investors in the Bay. It took me 5 months to raise $1.1 million post the 2008 financial crisis but I pulled it off. We weathered an insane storm, no one quit the company, we signed more deals, and shortly thereafter became profitable and never looked back.
While I never could have done it without those investors who believed in me during the dark hours, I am proud of what I accomplished because I never gave up as failure was not an option.
As an entrepreneur, you can either step up and swing for the fences or you can go home. In that era of my life, my dream of building the business mattered more to me than the fear I had every day of failing and I was determined to give it 100% until it was over.
This particular experience was the greatest business accomplishment I have had because it tested everything I knew about business, but more importantly my character.
While I hope no one has to go through that experience, if you do, don’t give up. You will come out the other end a better person for it.