Has anyone ever regretted raising money for their start-up?

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JASON LEMKIN

No, not me.

But there’s only one reason. I had no choice.

I’ve done two start-ups as a founder. Both of them required venture capital for me to get out of the “minimal viable product” stage (in both cases, one way or another, I did get the product to MVP/MSP without venture capital).

Generally, I believe there are only 4 reasons to raise venture capital, or any outside capital:

  • You have to. Then, don’t sweat it.
  • You can grow much, much more quickly. Still may not be worth it — see, e.g., Atlassian or Qualtrics or Basecamp. But maybe. Just build a model where you get at least 5–10x leverage on the capital.
  • Win the market / competition. Sometimes, you just gotta play to win. To play dominant-dominant strategy. To swamp the competition everywhere, everyday, every place. But make sure this dynamic is real, not imagined. Oftentimes, capital doesn’t make the difference alone. Sometimes, like Uber, it does.
  • It’s dirt cheap. Slack raising at $5b? Why not. There are downsides. But dilution isn’t one of them.

Now, kind of, we’re also running a startup in SaaStr. We’ve built it up to $7m or so without any outside capital. If we had more capital, we could hire more people, and grow more quickly.

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Published on August 7, 2016
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