‘Thanks’. That little button provided by LinkedIn saves me at least an hour of my day, trying to figure out a polite non-disparaging response. Once pressed, I feel lighter. It is non-committal; there is no betrothal with it. It is vague enough to leave open future opportunity to engage yet polite enough to avoid appearing obnoxiously rude and totally ignoring the person who goes on to build something like Varcity. It is a problem that any of you with the title ‘VC’ in your LinkedIn profile, no doubt face when trawling through the hailstorm of LinkedIn messages and invites to connect (some probably from myself). Don’t get me started on LION’s.

I am fed up with feeling like a Zebra.

Founders are not to blame. We are amidst a start-up boom and with that comes the introduction (some for the first time) to the world of VC’s, cap tables, valuations and its ilk coupled with the influx of equity sharing platforms like Seedrs and Crowdcube, angel investor ‘collusion’ platforms like Angel List, accelerator platform like this, crowdfunding platforms like that – in short, there are all these people telling novice entrepreneurs that they can give them money. The problem? The founders are falling for it, they have allowed themselves to become convinced that they need VC intervention to go to market.

Let’s be clear. Sure, if you have an MVP that is getting so much traction (by way of eyeballs or actual conversion to sales) that you need money to scale in terms of talent acquisition, marketing budgets, equipment yadda yadda yadda you may need venture capital (indeed if your exit strategy is IPO or merger/acquisition then the right VC partnership can open the right doors to this) – but sometimes, a bridging loan can fill that gap, or even a ROSCA among your other start-up camaraderie (shameless product plug) can fill that gap without you having to give away equity in the hand-reared-non-GMO-fed-baby that your start-up becomes.

The bottom line is, if you believe your company is going to be the ground-shaking, disruptive, jaw-breaking, awe inspiring behemoth that you predict, ask yourself – ‘Why are you giving a bit of it away?’

Too often, start-ups are becoming all about ‘how much they’ve raised’ and not about ‘how much profit they’ve made.’ We have become a community of ‘unicorn-watchers.

The Trap

As a result of this mentality, many founders are becoming all-consumed with ‘raising money’ and lost sight of what should be the primary objective of any start-up – identify a market, develop an MVP with its unique selling point, make sells. Simple. However, due to this ‘unicorn-watcher’ mentality that has been promoted, with companies raising millions before even going to market it has become the quest of some founders to view that as its business model. Don’t be sucked in to the trap. You may run the risk of being labelled as an ‘Accelerator-Hopper’ which diminishes your credibility as a start-up and founder.

If you are a founder and you have a great product, trust in it. When you have made millions in sales, hold your equity until the VC’s are chomping at the bit. They should be asking, no, begging you to invest.

But, I need money to build my founding team

No you don’t. Evertices Ventures (EV) is a pre-seed accelerator with a difference. We provide entrepreneurs and idea-stage start-ups with the PEOPLE they need to scale up to launch, MVP or readiness for Seed investment (if they really, really need it).

Why Human Capital?

EV was founded by entrepreneurs who understand the primary pain point most start-ups faced – time & access. Most founders are already working and fit their start-up around their work-life. Accelerators offering a £15k investment + mentorship and investor introductions are great but still risky for the entrepreneur who quits their job in the hope of getting further investment after the acceleration programme ends. Money equals Time.

Then they have to access the team to scale their business. As they are cash-strapped they need to be able to find the right co-founders to believe in their business enough to work for free and bring it to market.

We believe VC investment should be optional not a requirement for all start-ups to flourish. You should too.