Last weekend at MIT’s Stata Center, 500+ hackers, designers and assorted geeks gathered for BarCamp Boston 5. The organizing team including Shimon Rura, Jay Neely, Sooz Kaup and many others did a great job, thanks on behalf of all attendees.
BarCamp is an unconference, specifically, anyone can propose a session on any topic, gauge audience interest based on votes, and then lead the session or even request that someone expert in the topic lead it. The final set of sessions, many with slides online, is on the BarCamp Wiki. Also interesting was the “10-second intros” portion, where a couple of hundred people gave their elevator pitch to other attendees; though time-consuming, it was a nice way to get a sense of who was there and to also spot specific people you might want to meet.
I was up until 5AM working on my presentation and grabbed one of the first speaking slots. Thanks everyone who attended the session, we had some good dialogue and questions despite a tight 30-minute timeframe. My biggest learning were some interesting rumors of intangible benefits of having Paul Graham aka Y Combinator on your cap table (a cap table, or capitalization table, is basically a ledger/roster of investors and stockholders), such as a higher chance of avoiding major dilution (or cramdown) if raising funds at a lower valuation than the last round (a down round).
I posted the presentation -Fundraising Debugged: When, Why & Who to Raise (and not raise) Money From- to SlideShare, embedded below. It covers:
- Timeline of fundraising process for my startup, Going.com, from founding and bootstrapping, to quitting my day job, to seed and VC funding and acquisition by AOL
- Fundraising Decoder Ring: a one-slide comparison chart of the costs, benefits and characteristics of funding via boostraping, friends & family, seed/incubator funds, angels, and VC
- Deeper Pros/Cons/Bottom Line for each source
- Bustin 4 Myths about VC Funding
- List of advanced fundraising topics and Further Resources
I’ll be breaking down fundraising further in later posts. As always, appreciate your comments, questions and experiences.