Startup ran out of funding before the launch; had to go on the road, couch surfing for two months

Worked in a growing a newly developing industry for 7yrs+. Found a massive market gap and founded my own company to address it. Was invited to a business incubator to develop the company; finally fully developed and in the launch funding round, but completely out of cash. I had to leave my apt, leave my office and go on the road, traveling and couch surfing for the past two months. Finally was able to rent a room in a small artsey/college town, and take up a job at a local woodworking shop. Pulling together many top regional CEOs to collaborate on the launch, which will benefit everyone in the industry.

My refusal to admit the company had no money, continuing to pay myself a salary, getting a cheaper apartment; refusing to get a job and not just work on the startup 24/7 led me to couch surf for two months and become a very changed person.

Very very difficult to work enough to get ahead while pulling it all together with the company for the final round to go into production. The launch cost will be 650k min, but it is absolutely needed and addresses a huge market gap with a combination of the most innovativeΒ and highly efficient available technology, a disruptive (unique) business model and very convenient logistically.

    • To really launch, the goal of the company is to have a clean-tech manufacturing facility, hence the cost. I’ve been working to just broker the materials we will be processing in the meantime, for some income, supply chain management and more knowledge of the market; have several sellers and buyers; but the goal is really to process the raw materials ourselves. The business is fully developed, filed, accounts, web presence and clients, just havent made the first international commodities trade deal yet or complete the seed round to fund the factory. Work in progress though

    • I have like $4, my cell phone is off, the web domain will be down if not paid of in the next 2days, business account is less than zero, personal account is -$1600 and all accounts are now locked. Side income for just working a job is spotty.

      Fundraising is expensive and cost money; basically, its all about funding. In the 3-4th week of the seed round, which is going well. Cant really complain i guess, just work harder, make more money with side income and keep it going to raise the launch funding.

      Is this typical of seed rounds? Has anyone here ever successfully opened and closed a seed round for over 500k?

      • you wrote “Side income for just working a job is spotty.”

        You see how this comes across to an investor ?

        Why are you not running a small business like Taskrabbit

        to make ends meet. ?

        Who wants to work for someone else for $9 an hour ?

  • OP: At this stage, it’s all fundraising for the launch. I can PM my email to discuss privately the investment opportunity with you.

    the 650k: 400k in operating expenses, 250k in factory retrofitting. Will obtain the equipment on-lease and the raw materials at no upfront cost for the 1st 3months. the other alternative is to raise $1.5MM and be set up properly for the launch, but I can make it happen for 650k.

    The problem; my personal accounts are -1600, my phone is shut off, will lose the domain server and email client in the next few days and Ive only got about $15 cash. Entirely out of funding. Income from side jobs wont come for a few days and will be barely subsistence.

    The positive; substantial and growing investor pool, nearing the tipping point to frenzy. Solid market validated business model with many clients (international sell/buy market for the raw materials, lots of work just to source and vat them, now have to come to pricing terms to close the first international trade deal); unique damn near proprietary business model with materials databases and ask/bid market databases, which will be combined with newly innovative, highly-efficient, clean green technology.

    Looking to put it all together to host the shareholder/investor meeting to sell stock certificates for the launch, which will put the company into profitable production and sustained growth.

    The reality: No funding, I am faced with having to let it all fall by the wayside to take on additional work to live. I don’t mind peanut butter sandwhiches and bootstrapping, but I have to chose and letting the company fall by the wayside, right at this final launch point, to take on full time work or getting some funding to push forward to the last step and launch;

    kind of reminds me of Shakespeare: To be, or not to be- that is the question:

    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

    And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-

    No more;

  • you don’t deserve to be considered for funding, because you are STUPID.

    Coming here and asking for funding is a very dumb ass thing to do, instead of focusing on your product, your market and you r customers.

    You should quit this startup thing and go sell hot-dogs or get a burger flipping job and McDonald’s πŸ˜‰

    • OP:

      I didn’t actually come here asking for funding; your fucking stupid for thinking so. I was just expressing some of the difficulties of being out of funding and the decision to either carry, give it up or find a creative solution to make it work

      Your just a complete fucking asshole with no real feedback that’s helpful at all, only in attempts to dissuade me and “troll” to have some sort of sense of self-satisfaction. Pretty much just makes me think your a scumbag and an asshole and your opinion doesn’t mean shit to me.

      So unless you have something productive or constructive criticism to say, you can fuck right off

      • They should euthanize people as ignorant, arrogant, with obviously no integrity and poor moral character as you for fucks sake

      • The only thing I said was very constructive and hit you right where I wanted to hit: you’re stupid!

        I told you that you need to focus on building something ppl want, instead of coming here bitching about not having funds.

        You should appreciate feedback from ppl who took time to write it to you and stop crying abt who though the world is.

        My real feedback to you: you’re not suited to be an entrepreneur, you cracked in front of the first criticism you had in an online website.

        How will you take real criticism from real VC’s and how will you handful your competition who will try to put you out of business.

        Now: I wont tell you to fuck off, you are already fucked πŸ™‚

        • saying im stupid and to go flip burgers is not constructive; you’re just an asshole. I wasnt coming here asking for funds either, just explaining a situation and yes; the company happens to be in the seed funding round. Yes, I do have moments of vulnerability at times as an entrepreneur, and it seems theres assholes like you that would like to poke a stick at it.

          Plus, im not launching a consumer product, simply providing a B2B solution that takes away major pain points, that has caused a market gap, in the industry. Plus, I speak with real VCs frequently, they dont speak like you do at all; you just sounds like some asshole. I get a lot of criticism and feedback from them, which I use positively.

          You dont know wtf your talking about and can still fuck off

        • I would have to agree with you. Whatever the reason for writing, you can break down like that. Tou need to be in control of your emotions if you want to survive.

  • You can say anything and make it sound amazing, but in order to believe it, one needs to see. Do you have anything at all? If so, show it, otherwise everybody is gonna assume you are a bullshitter. Don’t rationalize it or counterargument with other arguments: Show it or shut up.

    • Yeah, that is the issue im encountering. I’ve done the processes to produce the products from the raw materials in buckets on a small scale. I am working on trading the raw materials as a broker in the marketplace. I have reports on the cost to operate the machinery and the recovery values, business plans, 5yrs, pitch decks, industry supplier and partner letters of support; what the fuck else will it take

      • having to struggle for every dollar just to live, keep my cell phone on; let alone be able to pitch somewhere with a full stomach

        • ………..most investors rarely see highly intelligent / creative people

          nearly flat broke. Investors wanna hear stories of how you carried metal around town and recycled it for 2 years and paid your bills .

          SOMETHING —-other than everything has been cut off. Investors wanna see “scrappy” behavior. Tenacity and creativity.

          and backbone.

          • Yeah, it seems that way; i took an iq test last night and scored 144. dunno how accurate it was though. Not a genius but gifted. To me this whole thing is simple, straightforward and highly profitable; I can address any concern of business issue aptly and properly. In reality, it doesnt really seem to be about the business at all, its about some weird untangible fuzzy feeling and crowd mentality or something. Like throwing a party: oh, so and so will go if x is going, yeah x is totally going, x will only go if y is going, and so on and so forth; just have to manipulate them all to say yes theyre all going, or get a lead investor; the industry is backing it though and will be going

            Well than call me tenacious D.

            I dont mind being without a phone for a bit; the website and more importantly the email getting shut down will be a harsh blow. Maybe I can hustle a bit to get someone to cover it, as my accounts are too fucked to touch right now

  • saying ill believe it when i see it is some fucking bs; the only way to see it is when it is happening. This is typical little red hen story “sure ill eat the biscuit after you do all the work and make it”. Fuck you

  • Few points. Congrats on thinking about green energy advancements but your title is misleading. Truth is stating you are “ready to launch” but out of money is the wrong status of your startup. “Ready to launch” in startup tech sense, which most investors interpret to mean the minimum physical infrastructure of your company is built already and can provide useful product to customers today and bring in revenue now, but is just short “runway” i.e. money for basic minimal company operations.

    Business plans, documentation & interactive presentations are fine but are usually a very small part of getting a startup off the ground. Most dont even have business plans initially. It seems you still need to actually build your physical infrastructure, the plant & establish the production output processes manually and test the quality of the resulting green product itself & if its viable and accepted by customers (all three of which are huge internal processes with variable risks in & of itself) before getting to the stage of distributing the final version green product to end user or trade to get a profit. A distribution process which still needs real life testing & execution. So many variables, unknowns, potential redtape, delays, costs and risk from paper estimates to real life output & profitable execution, that for an investor to estimate when they will recoup their principal, or have to invest much more to overcome manufacturing obstacles to or even see a return is too difficult to estimate. Vs just putting their money in another startup they understand, where there is a forseeable return & exit at some point and the physical buildout phase is already done, which most startups are at when seeking investment these days, unless it is a very simple straightforward concept such as a viral game or something where the business is seen, proven and risks are obvious.

    Seems like you’ve done alot of mental groundwork to de-risk the project visually on paper but none of that execution effort has created any tangible asset (factory, codebase, inventory) that can generate customers or revenue today or anytime soon, even if at a loss. If for nothing more than to prove that the market wants the type of green product you produce. This is why it seems you are naive about your project and your mindset toward investors coming on board.

    Anyone in business knows, one real life buildout of (plant construction or a manufacturing processes-type) setback can blow the entire business plan, projections and forecasts by years.

    Why tie their money in that when there are so many projects needing money that are ready to produce today with less variables and risk?

    Get a real job and if your knowledge & experience in the field is respected & deep, pool your connections along with their money and expertise & go in as equity founders. Maybe partner with a plant and refurbish it to start building product now. Better to have people invested with field knowledge versus VCs with none wondering what the hell you’re doing with their money.

    • The end products are not consumer products, they’re hard commodities. The business infrastructure is built by the way i will obtain the raw materials from suppliers (recyclers) in conjunction with newly innovated, high-efficency, clean green tech. To launch the factory will need to cover basic operations expenses and factory retrofitting. Can go into profitable production from there; ive already got the interested suppliers and all of the supplementary aspects covered

      • also have proprietary databases on the materials, and ask/bid market in obtaining the raw materials for recycling/resource recovery

  • There’s a guy I did some work for recently. I’m a small time contractor.

    He has 3 green houses and grows hydroponic lettuce.

    Sells it to uppity restaurants.. He’s getting about $5 a head.

    I think he can even ship this stuff UPS .

    He seems to be doing very well financially.

    My point to the O.P. is. …if someone is this brilliant to come up with

    something that nobody has come up with before. Then why can’t he do a mini pivot for a while and come up with some micro startup that pays the bills and

    he can live comfortably. Show investors that he is actually able to

    build something and show a profit. Then they will have less doubts when

    writing a large sum check for some giant concept that is not even proven to work at this point.

    most entrepreneurs have a handful of decent ideas.

    • That is a good idea. Rather than trade containers of the raw materials on the market, to be processed for resource recovery at a different companys factory. (Until i can finally fund getting my own, much better factory). I can do a very small scale operation for about 2k in startup cost, doing the same resource recovery process. Maybe the bank will lend me 2k to start it up, doing like 1lb/day of higher grade material and show small profits from it; then can show that to the investors and go for the full on 2-5ton/day processing & refining plant.

      • I have no idea what product you’re trying to sell. But with a smaller scale idea,

        or —“experiment”—you always run the risk of someone with money taking your idea and running with it. Not trying to scare you –but these are the realities of entrepreneurship.

  • managed to keep the website and email up; really figured out the”why”, sent some emails to a few angel firms in nyc and silicon valley. have the local industry support; which can supply and cover part of the launch cost, getting an angel group to put up the rest will be enough to launch into profitable production and sustained growth. For now, am just going to work any job in the area I can find; week or two, will be doing well enough to get by, optimistically by then, ill get some solid interest from the angels and can bring it all together to launch

  • 2 years later – Update

    After ending up living in a field for awhile with some coyotes, I eventually traveled from NY to NC.

    Closed on a $50k seed round. Half from some clients from a freelance business I started and half from an angel investor. They have committed an additional $150k

    After traveling all around the country trying to raise $5MM for the large scale processing and refining plant, we pivoted to raise a $750k round and start with a small plant. Working on getting lease terms for a building with the owner to cover the retrofit cost and a 100% equipment financing deal. Raw materials good to go.

    Will see how it pans out in the upcoming days.

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