Roulette or a Sure Thing?

A game of chance
A game of chance

Maybe you’ve been to a Casino and seen a roulette wheel or perhaps you haven’t – either way, everyone is probably familiar with the game.  There is a wheel with pockets and inside the pockets. Within those pockets of red and black are the numbers – from 1 to 36 and a zero (or double zero) on a green background. 

The wheel is spun in one direction and a white ball is sent in the opposite direction. After the whirr of the rotation comes a click, a bounce and a few more clicks and bounces as the ball hits the sides of the pockets, initially rotating too fast for the ball to settle. As both slow, the small white ball and the wheel both eventually stop the ball sitting inside one of the numbered pockets. That is roulette – a game millions of people have played for the excitement and the chance of winning their fortune– just like a Start-Up!

And just like pretty much every game of chance, people have spent hundreds of years trying to get an edge – a way to shave points off the odds in their favor, with the hope and belief that having a slightly better chance than the House and the next person – they’ll win their fortune.

If you’re reading this blog post – you may not be a gambler, you may not have any interest in gambling – I’m hoping you are here because you are interested in starting or building a business and you are interested in raising money from investors for it. Well folks – you are one of the biggest gamblers there is on the planet – whether you lay your chips on a table in a Casino or not. Make no mistake – starting a business and going into the entrepreneurial ‘Casino’ is risky – and you’re not laying down plastic chips – you are laying down seconds, minutes and hours of your life in the pursuit of something that may be great! And do you know what else?

You should look to optimize the percentages in your favor…

There may not be a House that will take your chips if you lose – but that time you spend on building a new business does not get put back in your life wallet – you spend them, they’re gone.

So how can you weigh those precious percentages and do your best to tip the chances of success more in your favor?

Well, I can think of a few ways but there a many…

1) Try to find someone who has trod the same path you are about to tread – and save yourself some time by trying to understand the opportunities and pitfalls that they experienced. Learning just a few of both will make the time you invest in finding and learning from a good mentor is incredibly worthwhile. It will pay off in dividends of time and money saved.

2) If you are going out to get Venture Capital funding – Andreas, the MD from DFJ I just interviewed, made a point which continues to resonate with me.  Self filter when reaching out to a VC – taking even a cursory amount of time to understand which VC partners are likely to be interested in your business model will increase your chances of success.

3)  When introducing yourself to a VC through either a contact or directly – avoid the templates, the Dear Sir / Madam’s, the cut and pastes – unlike Roulette, finding an investor is not a numbers game – sending a standard form letter to a hundred Venture Capital partners is likely to get you a hundred rejections. How often do you buy when you get an envelope through your front door addressed to ‘The Resident’? Yeah me too!

Now, I’ve been working on a number of tools which I’m confident will tip the playing field in your favor but I going to hold off from launching them quite yet. I want input from more folks so I’m 110% sure they’re ready  and 120% confident they’ll help entrepreneurs optimize their chance of winning the Investor Jackpot- 

But like I said above, raising money from Angel Investors or Venture Capitalists is not a numbers game – but you can certainly increase your likelihood of success – and when you are trying to raise One hundred thousand, or one million or one hundred million dollars – don’t you think you should try to improve the odds in your favor?

If you would like to improve your chances…consider signing up to my mailing list.

As always, I would really appreciate any thoughts or comments.


PS – for a short time I have an audio course which could seriously help your fund raising. I’ll soon bundle it with a broader course so it could be pulled from availability at any time.

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