The Engineering Leadership Podcast · Episode 81

SPECIAL: Pre-seed fundraising, pitching investors & dealing with rejection

with Aaron Erickson & Brian Guthrie

Apr 26, 2022
This is a special episode from our new series “Engineering Founders” - We deconstruct the recently closed pre-seed fundraising experience of our friends Brian Guthrie & Aaron Erickson (co-founders of Orgspace). Brian & Aaron share their experience finding a co-founder and making the decision to leave their engineering leadership positions at big companies. Plus they share great advice on navigating the fundraising experience and dealing with rejection! Check out Engineering Founders - https://bit.ly/3KnIfFI Learn more about Orgspace & check out their new beta HERE: http://orgspace.io/elc
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NEWSLETTER
EVENTS, PODCASTS AND MORE

This is a special episode from our new series “Engineering Founders” - We deconstruct the recently closed pre-seed fundraising experience of our friends Brian Guthrie & Aaron Erickson (co-founders of Orgspace). Brian & Aaron share their experience finding a co-founder and making the decision to leave their engineering leadership positions at big companies. Plus they share great advice on navigating the fundraising experience and dealing with rejection!

Check out Engineering Founders - https://bit.ly/3KnIfFI

Learn more about Orgspace & check out their new beta HERE: http://orgspace.io/elc

ABOUT BRIAN GUTHRIE

Brian Guthrie (@bguthrie) is Co-Founder and CTO at Orgspace. His career spansr 20 years, leading teams at everything from global enterprises to seed-stage startups. Prior to founding Orgspace, he was VPE at Meetup, where he led the organization through their transition out of WeWork. He’s worked in software domains as diverse as agile coaching, music hosting and pizza procurement and is a recognized thought leader in continuous integration and delivery. Brian lives and works in Brooklyn.

ABOUT AARON ERICKSON

Aaron Erickson (@AaronErickson) is Co-Founder and CEO at Orgspace. Before Orgspace, he spent 30 years working in leadership roles, most recently as VP of Engineering at New Relic. Over the course of his entire career, he has been an advocate for building better software. He spent a decade at ThoughtWorks, where he drove digital transformation via application of agile and continuous delivery. Aaron lives and works in San Francisco.

Aaron: “I remember one person in particular, saw our slide deck and said, 'Literally, I wouldn't even give you a reference to somebody with this slide deck.’ It was so bad...

Tough to hear! Right? You know, very, very tough to hear... But was very, very valuable! I mean, it really honed our message and it was precisely the thing we needed to hear, to actually make our pitch a lot better...”

Brian: I actually, I didn't find it that tough to hear. I always presumptively assume that whatever I'm doing is awful so to hear some of the reflected back, I'm like, 'Yes! It is terrible! Tell us more. Give us the worst.'

I really, I love that actually.”

Aaron: “Hence why I'm always the optimistic one and Brian always dragged me back to reality.”

Brian: “He was so wounded by it! I'm like, 'Yeah, it's a terrible deck!'”

ABOUT ORGSPACE

Orgspace is a management ops platform for software teams that helps your leaders scale. You can easily create team configurations, propose org charts, visualize cost projects & create headcount plans - so you can spend less time on spreadsheets & more time on humans.

If you want to learn more (or sign up for their JUST launched beta!) check them out at orgspace.io/elc


Check out our friends & sponsor Coderpad!

CoderPad is a technical interview platform built for all scales of business, whether you’re a startup or large global company!

Do you want to improve your candidate experience & hire the right people faster? Learn more at coderpad.io/elc


SHOW NOTES:

  • Closing a Pre-Seed round of funding (3:21)
  • Brian’s decision to leave Meetup (5:53)
  • Aaron’s decision to leave Salesforce (10:09)
  • How to choose a co-founder (13:21)
  • Questions to ask potential co-founders (15:50)
  • How to choose an idea (20:30)
  • Navigating the fundraise (25:27)
  • Filtering the feedback you get on your startup (28:16)
  • How to communicate your idea to investors (32:19)
  • Dealing with rejection (35:37)
  • Product > pitch deck (39:31)
  • How to balance building a business and fundraising (42:23)
  • Rapid Fire Questions (45:19)
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