It’s the first full week of February, and we’ve got the wind at our back. We’re pitching, we’re growing, sales are up, and we’re rapidly approaching our peak season for sales and fundraising.
It’s hard to accurately convey how excited I am about the progress we’ve made and the changes that are coming together. We’re making game-changing moves to get to the next level.
Our update, challenges, and ask are below.
SPOILER: The ask is for more investment and for introductions to angels, angel groups and VCs, if you know anyone in this space. If you are inclined to come into this round, it’s an excellent time to invest; Our priced equity round is on the horizon, and your investment will convert with a bonus that rapidly increases the value of your position.
Thank you so much for being a part of this exciting journey towards a successful exit with MI OLA.
FUNDRAISING: We are pitching for our Seed round and kicked it off on Monday of this week.
1) We are shooting to close our Pre-Seed round raise of $1.5MM by May 1st.
2) On Monday night, I pitched the Wharton Alumni Retail Group – Wharton Angels that are focused primarily on retail. It went really well. We’re following up with angels and family offices this week.
3) Yesterday, I pitched an angel investor who is going to connect us to the HBS Angels and Republic.co (crowdfunding platform well networked with angelist, VCs and angels.)
4) The Sheworx Fundraising Bootcamp (started last week) is a great source of structure, timing, investor information and introductions. It’s a lot of work and all encompassing, but it will provide the structure to give us the best chance at meeting our funding goals.
GROWING OUR TEAM: We are adding a Co-founder.
1) We have 2 great candidates for our co-founder CMO role. They are both fantastic. I’ll be taking them through our vision and projections and working to get 1 or both working (trial period) in the next 2 weeks. It’s incredibly exciting.
2) This person will live and die by our KPIS on revenue, customer acquisition, conversion rate and lifetime value – while I continue to oversee this, run the business and raise our pre-seed round.
ADVERTISING & MARKETING
1) We’ve been working with Metric Digital, the agency that helped build Bonobos and Canada Goose. They are getting good results for us, but they are expensive. We are considering switching to a smaller, less expensive agency, until we raise our seed round and then going back to Metric Digital and we’re discussing options with them this week.
2) We are planning an exciting photo shoot/campaign in April, working with influencers so that we get images, and a viral ripple during our actual shoot. (Budget permitting.)
RUNWAY & INVESTMENT
More investment in this round would be incredibly helpful. Cash is challenge and it’s hard to plan for aggressive growth with a small runway.
SALES: Sales were flat 2018 vs 2017, and may end up a bit soft once we finalize our numbers.
Why? This is primarily due to a few things:
1) Changes to the facebook algorithm. Ultimately our metrics are still attractive, but it was hard to push advertising and growth when our CAC was varying widely throughout the year, and our runway tight.
How we’re addressing this: Adding to our team. Monitoring our advertising closer. Working with a top notch growth agency. Rolling out new channels to acquire customers both online and offline. the good? Once we find our customer, she LOVES Mi Ola and is terrifically loyal.
2) Lack of a full year of runway to push our sales growth. Thus far, we’ve been raising money, constantly, without getting enough to plan for 12 months.
How we’re addressing this: We’re raising our pre-seed round of $1.5MM so we can plan for aggressive growth for the next 12-18 months and go for it, without putting on the brakes periodically.
We’re also asking you to consider investing more now, so we can push and grow and line up a great story for our seed round.
3) Low inventory. We’re low on inventory and need to spend to restock, and introduce new items to drive desire, sales and press.
How we’re addressing this: We have an order in to our factory and will be stocking up this Spring.
1) INVESTMENT: We have a bit more room in our current raise, before we close it shortly to raise our pre-seed, priced equity round. Any more investment will be used to drive growth and attract investment from angels and VCs.
It’s a GREAT time to come in to this round, as our priced equity round is now on the horizon - which will convert your position, with a bonus, increasing the value rapidly.
2) CONNECTIONS: If you have contacts at any angel groups, family offices, or Venture Capital funds, please introduce us.
Our chances of a successful round go up incrementally when we can have a current investor introduce us to potential future investors.