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Entering the Financial Twilight Zone
We all know it takes a village to raise a child, but did you know that it also takes an army of business writers, researchers, financial planners, data analysts, IP lawyers, fact checkers, marketing gurus, social media experts, chart makers, and video producers to apply to be named a business with the potential to be funded? Not funded (no money is involved) but potentially funded. If your company receives this distinction, its name will be mentioned in a magazine (cue fireworks).
If you detect a note of sarcasm and annoyance in my text, you would be right. After being assured the application process wouldn’t be difficult, and that new companies with little fundraising experience were welcome, I found myself flailing around in a sea of contradictory information and business jargon.
The application instructions told me to set aside two hours to complete the process. Three days and some eight hours later I finally admitted defeat. What was taking me so long? I kept running into questions asking for information I didn’t have. For example, the annual revenue and sales figures for my top three competitors; price comparisons between my products and those of my competitors (which assumes they are comparable); and the number of shares I planned to offer in something called an “Unvested Option Pool.”
The second task that was so time consuming was the pitch deck. The opening instructions read, “You WILL be asked to submit a PDF of an investor deck and/or link to a pitch video.” Please bear in mind that Song Flight is less than six months old, and while I have a very good idea of what it will entail and how it will evolve - please see https://www.song-flight.com/general-6-1 - a pitch deck is another matter all together. Pitch decks require between 12 andd 20 slides, each designed to convey a vital piece of information that will make investors consider giving you money.
What was most confounding about this whole process, however, was realizing that despite the enormous amount of work I had already put in:
- Coming up with and articulating the Song Flight concept;
- Working for 14 years on a similar children’s media property;
- Building the Song Flight website: https://Song-Flight.com;
- Writing the first book in the Song Flight series;
- Presenting at conferences and live Twitter chats;
- Writing and recording a Song Flight theme song (with my musical collaborator);
- Producing a Song Flight music album with musicians from around the world;
- Hosting a seven-hour live concert;
- Doing live video visits with a group of children for six weeks;
- Creating the slideshows and artwork for each of those visits
- Documenting each of the six weeks as videos; and
- Documenting the results as proof I have a minimum viable product (MVP)
I still lacked the information I needed to convince investors to contribute to building Song Flight into a program that can reach and help kids around the world. The experience of going through this process was both a reminder of how different the two worlds (creative and financial) are and how much help I am going to need. Because let’s face it folks, while I may be able to learn how to create business plans, pitch decks, and financial statements those are not where my talents or passions lie. Plus, I would be miserable if I had to do them regulalry.
I finally abandoned the application today at 5:30 pm when I hit the “Financial Performance” section. There I was told, “It's okay if your company is "pre-revenue. Many start-ups are in your same stage and are still very fundable,” then asked about Capital Funding and Forcast Revenue.
So while I am crying “Uncle” for now, I am by no means giving up. I am, however, asking for help from friends, followers, and fans of CritterKin and Song Flight who have seen what a difference those programs can make in the lives of kids and by extension our collecitve future.
If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or connections, please email me at JenaBall@CritterKin.com.
Thank you and HUGS!
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