The story of how Ivan Ivanovich and Ivan Nikiforovich were looking for investments. Part 2

    The story of how Ivan Ivanovich and Ivan Nikiforovich were looking for investments. Part 1.

    First pancakes

    So, the director and comrade S. went to London to meet with bigwigs of business. The calculation was like this - the people our delegates went to knew little about Internet business, they didn’t smell like a crisis in those days, the tantrum around startup profits was at its peak. It is worth noting that at that time from the technical documentation there were only outline ideas and a general description, in which the framework of the project was outlined. Plus an estimate of primary costs and the approximate cost of development for the first two years of life.

    As I understood in the future, from communication with people with big money, but with little knowledge in the subject area, it is categorically impossible to frighten them with technical tasks and geeky slang. The main thing that they want to see is how much money they need to invest and in what place they will start to make a profit. Out of inexperience, I tried to talk about the technical side of the project, but in the end I realized that populist high-profile statements are much more useful for creating a general impression (namely, it leads to a conversation about money). At this moment, I also realized that all these delusional discussions at the stage of the birth of the product idea were not so delusional, there was a feeling that these people are all crazy and, apparently, therefore so rich.

    I got a little distracted. They returned from London with nothing - as it turned out (!) It would be nice to make some kind of presentation and document called Due Diligence . My hopes for professionalism and any knowledge of investment issues of Comrade S. crumbled against the wall of facts. But, strangely enough, some serious people from London were still interested in the project and were ready to meet again as soon as at least Due Diligence appeared.

    Another prophet.

    By hook or by crook, Comrade S. came out (or maybe he was always familiar, only in this case it is not clear why he did not know the simplest things in attracting investment) to one fairly well-known and influential American who had taken root for about 15 years in Russia and quite successfully doing business in the regions. It was planned to go through representatives of serious investment funds through him, and he was ready to become something of a guarantor and guarantor, without which serious people do not want to talk to anyone. Let's call an American comrade R. He was also the chairman of a niche investment fund that had no interests on the Internet, so there was no question of his fund's investments.

    Comrade R. opened our eyes to many things (the same Due diligence), dissuaded the director and Comrade S. to seek money from funds of a different orientation, and all the more serious, but not versed in the subject area people with money. Investing from them is really much easier, but in the future the demand for the results will be completely different, there will also be attempts to control and penetrate the operational management of the company. Well, do not forget that these people are often associated with crime (which I did not doubt at all after some meetings and conversations with representatives of interested investors of this type). On the contrary, funds focused on Internet projects can become not only a source of money, but also a source of practical advice and may be saved from many mistakes at the initial stage.

    Hard to learn

    The work went more fun, but also much more intense. In addition to the standard set of documents, constantly some clarifying and clarifying some issues materials were constantly required. It often happened that at 10 pm Comrade S. phoned me and asked me to prepare this or that document by morning. Once he woke me up at one in the morning and said that 5 people from such and such a fund are sitting next to him - he puts the phone on speakerphone, and I need to briefly talk about the technical aspects of the project and answer some questions.

    Instead of a working prototype, it was decided to draw design layouts - there were neither resources nor time for development. They drew layouts of the main pages (about 10 layouts turned out in total), the design turned out to be very successful - I looked at the layouts and believed in the viability of the project more and more. I laid out the mock-ups on the project domain and re-linked the images in such a way that there was a feeling of going to different pages of the site. As it turned out, the solution was very successful - the impression was very positive. There were no bugs, for well-known reasons, everything is beautiful and neat, plus intriguing understatement. All this made me want to make the project as soon as possible and climb on it ourselves.

    We go further

    After some time, comrades S. and R. went to one very famous venture fund, which raised more than one successful web project. After several rounds of negotiations, in which I participated only through the documentation generated by me and telephone conversations (the same call at one in the morning), we were invited to the final presentation with the participation of the founders of the fund at headquarters, based in one small beautiful European city.

    It was just a crazy sensation of what happened incredible, until the last I refused to believe that all this mouse fuss could lead to something like that - we are going to YOURSELF! Already in my thoughts I began to make plans, first for my future salary, then for a share of the sale of the company (until that moment I called it "dulea") - now it’s very funny to remember.

    For some time I lived in France and accordingly speak good French (because of this I get very confused when speaking English), most of the founders are also French-speaking - so they decided that I would conduct my part of the presentation in French. At first I relaxed, but then I realized that I had gained all my main professional experience when I was in Russia and I know most of the terms either in Russian or in English. It was a shock - I’m talking like I’m talking, but I’m not able to really say anything about the case. What was to be done, I had to study French Wikipedia for a month, write and memorize speeches, invent questions and prepare answers to them. I was worried and worried terribly, it was unbearable to think that I could screw up a whole year’s business with my tongue-tied tongue.

    On the eve of the trip, everyone suddenly realized that our presentation was terrible. Most of the night before departure, in the train to the airport, in the airport, on the plane - we rewrote the presentation. At the same time, I was painfully memorizing my speeches. Exhausted, arrived, checked into the hotel, with glass eyes at 8 o’clock in the evening went out to the hall to drink something and began to wait for Comrade R., who specially flew in between the meetings from England.

    Having arrived, the first thing Comrade R. criticized the presentation and said that this would not work, it was necessary to redo everything. Having squeezed out the forces that had not come from where, Comrade S. and I rewrote the presentation until two in the morning. Having entered my room, I thought that I would fall exhausted and fall asleep right in my clothes a meter from the bed. What is there! I did not sleep almost all night, rehearsed again and memorized my speeches and answers to questions, coached pronunciation.

    The Last Judgment

    For a while, I nevertheless forgot to sleep, but then the alarm clock rang and I was on my cotton legs with the full feeling that I was in for a final judgment, I got out of bed. Taking off the ironed suit and shirt from the hanger, I realized with horror that I had forgotten the trouser belt at home - this was the climax of the nightmare that had haunted me for a whole day. Having buttoned up my jacket and noting with relief that my pants at least didn’t fall off, I went downstairs, where the director, comrade S. and the ever-cheerful and good-natured comrade R. had already had their coffee melted off. The meeting was scheduled for 10 am.

    We arrived at a beautiful mansion, to which the foundation had recently moved, a nice girl took us to the third floor and offered coffee. The tension for everyone except comrade R. was unreal - we nervously poisoned jokes and convinced each other that we would now show them (first a presentation, then a kuz'kin mother, or vice versa). The same sweet girl appeared and confusedly informed that the meeting was postponed to 12 - an e-mail was sent to Comrade S. about this.

    With some relief we went to the cafe for a late breakfast and here we were all released. It may not be all the same to us, but it’s much easier, the tension receded and returning at 12 o’clock to the meeting I was already in a very good and fighting mood.

    All partners of the fund attended the meeting, if my memory serves me - 6 or 7 people. Opening speech by comrades S. and R., opening speech by the director in terrible English, the beginning of the presentation. 2 or 3 people with boring faces looked at the slides, one generally looked somewhere past us and thought about something else, at that moment it seemed to me that there was no point in continuing, everything was gone. But somehow it turned out that the conversation gradually carried away all the participants, we argued, laughed, all my prepared speeches and answers were completely unnecessary. On the go, I adapted architecture to tricky questions, gave out ideas coming in the course of the conversation as our secret preparations (according to my observations, financial issues were solved by Comrade S. in this way), well, in general, everything went very easily and in a good atmosphere.

    After a three-hour conversation, the partners retired to the meeting, after 10 minutes they returned and one of the senior partners told us: “We will give you money.” The euphoria after the invitation to the presentation was nothing compared to what I felt at that moment. We left the building, got in a taxi, arrived at the hotel. All this time we smiled stupidly and did not know what to say. In the elevator, our director, who rarely shows emotion and generally wants to look like a stern mafia, hugged us one by one, patted us on the back and said "you are great, we are great!". Throughout the next evening, disagreement, resentment, fatigue, everything receded into the background - we dined at one of the best restaurants in the city, drank excellent wine and were sincerely happy for our incredible success. At the hotel, I talked face to face with Comrade R. - as I expected, he turned out to be an exceptionally intelligent and interesting person, communication with him was worth every minute of difficulties in the whole story. What surprised me most was that Comrade S. and the Director did not listen to him at all in some matters, but could have avoided so many problems. The next day we walked around the city, made plans for the future, argued about the nuances of organizing a new company. They returned to Moscow as winners.

    Return visit

    When the euphoria of success calmed down, we began to prepare for the next steps, since the promise “to give money” didn’t mean almost anything (although the word of respected people, as you know, is more expensive than money). Then we signed the so-called “agreement of intentions” and we were expected a return visit by a representative of the fund, a thorough study of our affairs, discussion of the details of the transaction, legal and other subtleties. The forecast of comrade R. at that time was 90% that money would still be given.

    Representatives of the fund arrived, there were several meetings without my participation. After some time, the director calls me - the fund refused. According to him, due to the fact that they did not agree on the division of shares. Maybe this is so, but maybe the reasons are different. Maybe something was wrong with the financial statements, maybe with more detailed discussions, the incompetence of the director and comrade S. was revealed, or maybe they really decided to bargain in the wake of success, and the guys are not simple - this does not work with them. I can only speculate, but the result remains the same - a bummer.


    After that, there were several more attempts to negotiate with the funds, at the same time they took up old projects because the money was over, but it was too late - to climb a rock without insurance is a risky event, if you break, there will be no second chance. The company had two roads - to rush headlong into the investment race, or to put existing projects on its feet. For myself, I personally learned from this story a huge number of lessons and invaluable experience, so I do not regret a second, although the hopes did not materialize. If you try to choose the main lesson of this period of life, I would not be able to choose between the two - nothing happens in vain and is always worth a try.

    Also popular now: