Mixing the personal with the professional in startup fundraising

By the time CapitalG signed on for Webflow’s Series B, the no code web design service was already profitable — a rarity for an early-stage company. It was a good position for the company and investors alike. For CapitalG, it was clear that the startup was already on the right path. And for Webflow, it meant a bit of leverage and — perhaps more importantly — an opportunity to be choosier about who it brought on as investors.

Of course, this isn’t an option for every company. For a variety of reasons, it’s not always possible to take such a deliberate approach to launching a company — and profitability can seem like a downright pipe dream in those early days. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from doing these TechCrunch Live chats week in, week out, it’s that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

That said, there are some universal takeaways when it comes to finding the right investment firm. To hear CapitalG General Partner Laela Sturdy and Webflow co-founder and CEO Vlad Magdalin tell it, the investor/startup relationship has become a kind of genuine friendship. It’s a quality both parties point to as key for making these sorts of deals. At the very least, neither side benefits if the other is looking for a quick out.

As great as Zoom is, to me, that in-person experience takes you to the next level of getting to know someone. Laela Sturdy

In-person is still important

Look, I recognize the irony of talking about how important in-person meetings are during a Zoom interview. And it’s likely true that a significant number of the biggest deals are happening in a virtual forum these days, but it also seems likely that the in-person meeting isn’t going anywhere in the long run — even if the handshake part of the deal is on the way out.

“We started to exchange some emails and had a couple of Zooms,” Sturdy said. “We were still in the heart of the pandemic. I was conducting most of my business on Zoom and just starting to see some friends and family outside, six feet at a distance. Our first couple of conversations over Zoom, I was enjoying getting to know Vlad and the business. I floated the idea that we could maybe get together in real life, which, at that time, sounded like a very unusual thing.”