Ask A Founder: Startup Lessons Learned from Work Truck Solutions’ Kathryn Schifferle

Kathryn Schifferle, Creator and CEO of Work Truck Solutions, turned being a woman in work trucks into an oversubscribed $2.1 million round.

We took a seat with Kathryn as she shared what her fundraising journey was like, the start-up lessons she found out, and her advice to fellow creators, specifically women. Here is what she needed to state:

HK: Tell me a little about Work Truck Solutions. How did you develop the concept?

KS: I was releasing an expert magazine in the work truck industry, when it became apparent that the industry had difficulties, the biggest of which was the lack of final information on an ended up truck. For background, a truck has 2 huge parts– a back end and a front end– typically not manufactured by the very same company. When a truck was completed, nobody was keeping an eye on what that car had actually ended up being, and so you could not search and find a completed car online. Initially I couldnt believe this was the case, but then I saw it was a huge sufficient problem that a solution needed to be supplied.

What is your background? Have you ever started a company before?

I am a serial business owner. I began 6 various companies prior to Work Truck Solutions, and had actually not intended on starting another. However this difficulty was complicated and so huge, and so darn intriguing, that I was pulled into it once again.

Did you do anything differently this time around, it being your seventh startup?

With my previous endeavors, I saw an idea and chose I was going to make it take place. It was all about convincing people I was. And because of that, I was able to utilize a fundraising technique where individuals I liked and respected presented me to people they understood and appreciated.

This was a various kind of startup for me. Rather than being passionate and compelled, I was slow and systematic. I had the frame of mind that if its meant to take place, it will, that made the entire startup experience exceptionally unique. And luckily, it worked astonishingly well. Internally we coined a trademarked phrase for when the ideal thing takes place at the right time with the ideal people: truckma.

What has been your fundraising journey to date?

In addition to Golden Seeds, we had a number of other angel investors in the round from Belle Michigan, Harvard Business School Alumni Angels, North Bay Angels, Sacramento Angels, among others. It is a diverse but really wise investment collection.

We were all internally moneyed when we started the business in 2010 and were just a model and an idea. In April 2012, we raised a seed round of $400,000 from regional good friends, household and professional acquaintances. We used the financial investment to take the model out into the marketplace and run it up the flagpole. We found that it needed major modifications, so we took that feedback and launched with a much better item in January 2013.

Interestingly, Belle Michigan not only purchases females run start-ups, but likewise only permits females to buy their fund. Their goal is to teach and educate female angels. When I went to go pitch them, it ended up that one of the three basic partners is from the automotive market and she completely comprehended what we were doing.

The deal we were working on ended up falling apart because our offer lead changed in the middle of settlements. In 2014 we went through a really rough period where we didnt understand how much longer we were going to make it.

When I initially went to Silicon Valley, there were 2 negatives to our scenario: Number 1. They came on as our lead financier. And as an outcome, it was very time consuming and the round took months to close.

How did you choose just how much financing to request for during each round?

And after that, of course, the other part was finding out just how much of the company I was ready to give up. I had currently been really generous to the people who had actually helped with the initial product develop, staff members, and so on

I created a forecast spreadsheet that at one point was so huge and complex we had names for it. I believe that if you are an entrepreneur you must take the time to do establish numerous business models.

. Were you searching for particular characteristics in your investors?

I like smart money, which I define as individuals who bring something aside from simply money to the table. They need to have several of the following: knowledge of the industry, connections in the market, understanding or connections in peripheral things that might relate to the market and/or they comprehend the type of work we are doing (structure SaaS).

What has been your most triumphant minute during fundraising?

I am really competitive, and at that minute, I finally felt that people desired in. People were going to be contesting the last space, in a sense, and that was a truly wonderful, fun awareness for me.

The Harvard Business School Angels hold workshops where creators bring lunch for three to 4 investors while the financiers supply the founder with guidance and recommendations. I was driving back from one of these workshops in the Bay Area after two of the financiers I had simply satisfied with chosen they likewise desired to invest, when I recognized I was going to be oversubscribed.

What about the worst moment?

The unfortunate minute was when the offer fell through in 2013 on that very first term sheet we signed. Even though now Im delighted that didnt move forward, I was extremely crushed at the time.

Do you have suggestions for female founders who are attempting to raise money for their start-up?

This sharp group of investors has done a load of research study showing that women-run start-ups are better at multitasking, they have less ego involved, etc. I would strongly suggest to a female creator to try to get presented to one or more of these groups due to the fact that it turns what could be, not always, however could be a downside into an advantage.

What basic advice do you have for business owners just beginning their fundraising journey?

KS: I was releasing an expert magazine in the work truck industry, when it ended up being obvious that the market had difficulties, the greatest of which was the lack of final data on a finished truck. For background, a truck has 2 huge parts– a back end and a front end– typically not made by the very same business. As soon as a truck was completed, no one was keeping track of what that automobile had actually become, and so you could not browse and find a finished automobile online. I began 6 various companies before Work Truck Solutions, and had in fact not planned on beginning another. The offer we were working on ended up falling apart because our deal lead altered in the middle of settlements.

Second of all, I recognized when I was pitching last year that there was a sweet spot in my discussion that actually started getting investors more interested. It was “My Goal is the Exit.” This is not my first rodeo. Im older, and my goal is to take all that entrepreneurial pain from before, compress it into a few years, and have a fantastic exit. Well guess what. That happens to correspond completely with the financiers goal. Lots of founders are excited about the product, the clients, the structure it, the having it, and the running it, that they forget that if there isnt a plan for some kind of exit down the road, the investors dont get their cash back. And if the investors do not get their money back (plus hopefully a lot more), there is no factor for them to invest.

Of all, keep in mind investors are your pals. A deal should be good and make sense for both parties.


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