How to announce a fundraise

Anecdotes from our Series B

In the 48 hours that followed our Series B fundraise announcement: we generated millions of free impressions, thousands of new signups… and even hundreds of additional investors.

Granted, I don’t really think fundraising in of itself is worth celebrating… but as a startup you should always be looking for opportunities to expand your reach.

I’d argue we generated more buzz (🤪) around our fundraise than 99% of other startups have for theirs.

And I’m going to explain exactly how we did it 👇.

A few members of the Wefunder team had persistently been selling me on doing a community round with them for well over a year.

Wefunder is a crowdfunding platform that allows everyday people (i.e. not professional investors) invest in startups.

Although I had always loved the idea, it didn’t make sense for us to randomly raise money from our users. I was pretty opinionated that a community round performed much better and was operationally easier when positioned alongside a traditional priced round.

At the time, we didn’t have plans to raise additional capital, so I told their team week after week that we weren’t interested.

Then in a final attempt to win our business, they offered to purchase us a billboard in Times Square. The purpose of the promotion was to show that our users were super passionate about beehiiv and desperate to invest into the company.

Unbeknownst to the them, I had already been debating raising our Series B internally. This billboard would play directly into the vision I had for the announcement — building a larger narrative and generating some intrigue a few weeks in advance.

Plus, why say no to a free billboard in Times Square?

Entirely separate from the Wefunder ordeal, we had formally kicked off pursuing our Series B sometime in early March. Fast forward a few weeks and we had our lead investor, NEA, and the dynamics of the round were coming together quickly.

I pitched our investors on the idea of doing a community round as a part of the Series B. They were open to it, and we ultimately landed on raising $33M — $32M from the participating institutional investors and $1M directly from our users.

You only ever raise a Series B once. And as with everything we do, I wanted to make the absolute biggest splash possible. In fact, I wanted to stretch it over multiple days.

So the plan was to formally announce the fundraise on Tuesday April 30th with a few big press outlets covering the news, and then follow up the next day announcing that we were letting our users invest as well.

On Tuesday morning, TechCrunch led the way breaking the news with the following story.

Immediately after that went live, I sprung into action to post across socials and propagate the news. I posted on Twitter and LinkedIn, then sent an email to our investor list (made up of investors, friends, family, and colleagues) with the news and asked them to comment and share my posts.

Following the TechCrunch piece, we strategically coordinated interviews with Axios, The Information, Business Insider, Forbes, WSJ, and a handful of other outlets to cover the news as well.

And as you know, I also send this newsletter each Tuesday morning. After letting TechCrunch break the news, I sent my version of the Series B announcement to my 15,000 subscribers (if you missed it, you can read it here).

While the internet was doing its thing with the announcement, I coordinated a little IRL marketing as well with the NASDAQ. One of our investors introduced me to their team a few weeks prior and we were able to broadcast the announcement in Times Square all morning.

Tuesday was a lot of fun.

As you could imagine, every few minutes another investor or user would come out of the woodwork to tweet their two cents on the fundraise. Still no word from my exes though.

Actual footage of me retweeting everything

Despite already depleting all of the dopamine my body could produce, I ended the evening with a hint that there was more to come.

The next morning we sent an email to our users sharing the news of the Series B, and giving them first dibs to participate in a community round alongside our investors.

Then I took to social media to share the news of the community round with everyone else. The response to the community round made Tuesday’s announcement of the Series B feel like a walk in the park.

Our users went berserk and we were oversubscribed (i.e. raised more than our $1M target) in under 2 hours. Just a month earlier, Wefunder ran a billboard in Times Square in an attempt to prove that our users were hungry to invest. Talk about full circle.

For the following few days, we were bombarded with users sharing screenshots of their investment and begging to invest more.

From the TechCrunch drop on Tuesday to the final investment into the community round, and the coverage across dozens of media outlets and thousands of tweets in between. I don't think we could have milked such a mundane ordeal (raising money) for more impressions (or users) any better than we did.

I think our tweet from later that week sums it up pretty well.

By the way, if you’re interested in raising a community round shoot me a reply. I’d be happy to share additional insights and get you in touch with the right people.

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Credit: me

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Some of my favorite content I found on the internet this week…

  • 25 great books for the summer (The Information)

  • Jeff Bezos shares how to write well (Twitter)

  • Canva dropped a ton of amazing updates at their Canva Create event (Twitter)

  • Joe Biden is looking to hire a meme lord (TechCrunch)

  • If iPad and Kindle had a child it’d probably be this new computer (Daylight)

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