This past year has seen a wholesale shift in how the market feels about fintech. A year ago, nearly every investor had a fintech thesis, companies were racing to go public and investors at nearly every stage of the market were fighting to jam money into the hands of founders.
That’s not true any longer. The collapse in valuations on the public market has been extreme. A significant number of the biggest fintech companies to go public in the last couple of years are now worth less than the money they’d raised. And that drop in confidence has now permeated to all stages of the market.
Understandably, many early founders are unprepared to contemplate that the valuation of their idea — which will likely take about a decade to come to fruition — is now worth 75% less than it would have been six months ago.
But the long-term outlook of the sector remains unchanged for most investors and founders. The good news is, we’re still seeing deals getting done. The founders who are succeeding in this environment have adapted to the new reality quickly.
Money tends to attract money, so find ways to get the ball rolling.
Here are four strategies that the best early-stage fintech founders are now employing to fundraise:
Recognize that bid/ask spreads are going to be wide
It’s not you; it’s the market. The best founders recognize that the goal is to close a round, not to maximize the price or minimize dilution.
Minimizing dilution is good but not at the cost of losing a deal.
Plan for a long fundraise
While quick deals with proven founders and exceptional teams still happen, the average fundraising round, including diligence and paperwork, can now take up to four to five months. The days of the Notion-doc-over-a-weekend are firmly in the past.