The Startup Journey: Patience and Persistence

Post By Janet Kosloff

February 8, 2012

Over the course of my career many a boss, coworker, and even sales prospect has commented on my persistence. Some saying, “you’re like a dog with a bone, you just won’t let go”. Others saying, if you don’t stop harping on why you think (fill in the blank) I’m going to jump out of the window!! Sales prospects, usually those that eventually turned into clients, occasionally thank me for being “patiently persistent”. The ones that didn’t turn into clients probably had other not so complimentary things to say, but thankfully never to my face (except one errant email that found it’s way to me accidentally, which referred to me as pushy…me??)

All of this to say, I am stubborn! I don’t like to let go and I don’t like to lose.

I knew that starting a company would take persistence, but I didn’t think I would have to draw on all my persistent resources in the very first year, but lo and behold raising our seed round of funding, ultimately from a syndicate of 4 different angel investment groups tested every ounce of persistence in me.

I started the fund raising process February, few months before our product came to market. I was able to wrangle an introduction to one of the most prolific investors in the Boston area, and a well-known mentor of women entrepreneurs in the making, Jean Hammond. I met with Jean and she liked what we were up to. She set up a screening meeting with Golden Seeds, an angel group that specializes in funding women owned start ups. I thought I had it made, I sailed through the screening meeting and got invited to the general session where they give a thumbs up or down to moving into the due diligence phase.

I was very nervous for this meeting and made sure that I presented in a calm and professional (CEO-like) manor. I didn’t want to let on that I really felt like little kid about to realize a life long dream, so I toned it down. I think the exact feedback I got on my presentation after that meeting was, “low energy presentation, not a winner”. Needless to say, they passed. I was devastated, how could this group of successful highly intelligent women not see that I had what it takes, that I was one of them (or at least a ‘wanna’ be). I asked (ok, begged) for a second chance, but in this game, there are no second chances – they passed and that’s that. I was told that if the circumstances of your company change measurably maybe you can have another shot, but even then not likely.

Luckily I had impressed enough people so that they were willing to make introductions on my behalf, to ultimately, I think every angel group east of the Mississippi, and I met with them all! Some passed right away, some passed after the screening and some invited me to present to the full group.

During this process I learned the following; if you really believe in what you are doing don’t give up, find a champion within the larger group who shares your enthusiasm, try not to get too distracted (this is hard), don’t stop running your company so you have news (hopefully good) to keep feeding to the group to keep the enthusiasm going.

Finally it happened! In June, LaunchPad took the lead, money was right around the corner right? Wrong!

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