The investment ‘relationship’ is fast becoming a marriage on equal terms
Birthdays during the pandemic have been odd affairs, but this year I got some very welcome news on mine when it was confirmed that DASH had closed its latest funding round. Achieved in the shadow of snarled up global supply chains, I was both delighted and relieved.
Delighted to bring on board investors including our new chairman David Milner and footballing legend Patrice Evra. Relieved because an intense process was over. Now the dust has settled, I can reflect on lessons learnt — especially how business fundraising today requires a principled approach if you’re as serious about purpose as you are about profits.
Let’s be honest — there’s been a lot of capital about recently. Central bank stimulus and interest-rate cuts over the last two years have been supportive for SMEs. However, using ‘cheap money’ to fund your business can come with strings attached, especially for purpose-led brands.
Investment is like a long-term relationship, but it’s not a one-night stand. Those involved are going to be working closely with you and business for a long time to come. At DASH we firmly believe that the team is the most integral part to any business — and everyone needs to be agreed on what that direction is.
It’s highly encouraging to see that the traditional ‘compromises’ which brands faced in the business fundraising process are changing fast. In recent years I’ve seen those on both sides of the venture capital fence becoming more and more aligned on ethical considerations. In fact, according to many we’re at the point when purpose-led considerations in VC are about to take off.
The emergence of passionate VC funds and investors taking purpose-led brands like Allplants to the next level is massive. It shows that by partnering with the right people, you can cut out the haggling of ‘purpose versus profits’, and replace it with a mutually beneficial set-up where investors and investee can satisfy their values.
I’m optimistic, but in the meantime we need to keep asking the right questions. After all, you don’t need to dance with the first person who asks. What are they like? Do they seem interested in your journey or just your assets? Increasingly, when it comes to business fundraising, the best relationships for the purpose-driven might just be a marriage on equal terms.