as venture capital continues to slow down, founders are trying to expand their runways, no matter how much money they already have in the bank. But the startups that need the cash infusions the most are in trouble the most.
Last week, I wrote about the current state of bridge financing after multiple pre-seed investors began receiving emails from companies — some in a state of desperation — seeking more time in the form of cash. To the investors, it seemed like everyone was having a hard time. But while founders report it’s harder to raise across the board, it seems significantly harder for some than others.
Wa’il Ashshowwaf, co-founder and CEO of Reyets, a social justice app that helps people discover their rights in different situations, thinks it will be harder for founders like him who focus on more impact-driven stories. He told MovieUpdates that his company had multiple verbal pledges for bridge financing this year — ahead of a good round next year — but all investors pulled out just weeks before the checks were due.
“You know there’s a lot of money, but it feels like it’s harder to get those checks.” Elian Savodikker, founder, Nabu
“Investors are responding to [startups] those are more certain bets than the ones that are early and unproven,” said Ashshowwaf. “For us in the impact space, the boundary between business and benefit corp or a social venture [the investment opportunity] much harder for them to digest than, say, making a widget.”
It also appears that VCs are focusing on supporting startups that already have significant revenue and customer bases. David Astoria, founder and CEO of Pranos, a broadcast media startup, attributes most of his company’s recent bridging financing success to existing traction. He thinks the fact that Pranos already had money in the bank was a big plus for his investors.
“I think the roadblock with these bridge financing investors is that you have to prove that you’re really building the bridge,” Astoria said. He added that a banker recently told him, “We can help you build a bridge, but we’re not trying to help you build a pier.”