The first step to starting your own company is coming up with a great idea. The next step is convincing other people to give you loads of money for it – and that’s much easier said than done.
In their new book Get Backed, successful entrepreneurs Evan Baehr and Evan Loomis have developed the best how-to guide for entrepreneurs looking to take their company to the next level.
The book isn’t like other business advice books. Get Backed strives to get down to the specific, practical advice that entrepreneurs need – everything from real pitch deck examples to e-mail templates for writing to investors. Its casual, fun tone expertly integrates true stories from the authors and brilliant advice from successful investors.
Along the way, Baehr and Loomis stress the importance of relationships. A great pitch can only get you so far if investors don’t trust and believe in you. “The secret to raising money is one simple principle: successful fundraisers don’t raise money, they raise friends,” they write.
The authors themselves have quite the roundup of qualifications. Baehr (profiled by Opportunity Lives last fall) co-founded Able, a startup committed to giving small businesses increased access to capital through collaborative lending. Before that, he founded a company to digitize mail before it was shut down by the United States Postal Service. Loomis first started a company called TreeHouse, a sustainable home improvement store, and has since been advising startups and helping them launch their businesses.
A significant portion of the book is dedicated to crafting the perfect pitch. “If you want to get people fired up about an idea, they need to know why you are fired up about that idea,” write the authors. That starts with describing how you decided to devote your time to your company and why you think it will change the lives of your customers.
Get Backed features a powerful case study on Scott Harrison, the founder of charity: water, to highlight the importance of a compelling story. Harrison went from a rebellious life as a nightclub promoter to creating a revolutionary new nonprofit. Charity: water has raised over $185 million and brought clean water to over 5 million people in the last decade.
What really sets the book apart is the section with real-life pitch deck examples. Baehr and Loomis were able to convince several prominent entrepreneurs to share their actual pitch decks, giving readers the chance to see directly into the presentations that made these companies successful. It’s a rare glimpse into the world of fundraising.
Finally, Loomis and Baehr explain the basics of different fundraising rounds and tips for entrepreneurs to maximize their potential in each one. Dropping in brilliant anecdotes from their own mistakes and successes, you get the feeling that you’re learning from the best.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking to take your startup to the next level, Get Backed should be required reading.