As I was running on the treadmill this week, I was thinking about the circumstances that had me preparing to fundraise AND run a marathon. It is not uncommon for me to “gut feel” myself into a position like this only to reflect on what got me here after the fact.
It turns out there are a lot of parallels between my raising money and running a marathon.
- They are both things I have always wanted to do at least once. Will I want to be a (co-)founder of another company? Will I want to run a second marathon? Who knows, but I want to conquer both challenges at least once.
- Although I have done a lot of similar things, I have done nothing approaching this magnitude. I have run six half-marathons, but I expect a full marathon is more than twice as hard. I have run a start-up, but it was already funded and did not get beyond the startup phase. I have been on both sides of mergers/acquisitions. I have made enough project and product business cases for a lifetime. None of these approach the difficulty of starting a company of the scale of Travelabulous from scratch.
- I wanted to make sure – in the case that there was only one – that each would be extraordinary. Edinburgh might be my favourite place on the planet. I love travelling, but travel planning sucks. Someone has to fix it!
- Both take way more activities than appear at face value. Sure there is a lot of running involved in preparing for a marathon. However, at least at my age, you have to throw in squats, deadlifts, yoga, and bike work to the long slow runs, hills, and sprints. In raising money, you have to first make sure you are building a product people love. Even assuming that is the cards, you then have to think about debt, sub-debt, convertible debt, equity, friends-and-family, strategic investment and crowdfunding. You have to keep options open and likely use a combination. Oh, and more on crowdfunding in a future post!
- Sharing the experiences with people that make it worthwhile. Running Edinburgh with Terry Bird is a big deal for me. Not only because I can’t let him get to 5 before I get to my first! 🙂 The team we are building and partnering with at Travelabulous makes it easy to keep going.
- Let one drive the other. Some might think it would be insane to do both at the same time. My way of thinking is to let the pressure of one always be a reminder of the other. Keep each in balance. Stay healthy and centred. It is easy to lose this at any time in life, none more than starting a startup.
There it is. Insane? Maybe. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
’til next time… Kirk, out!