This time around, we spoke to Le Yi from Ottodot, and Nirali Zaveri from Friz on rejection fatigue when fundraising. Ottodot is an educational games startup for children between 7 to 12, and Friz is building tools for freelancers and independents to get hired and paid - both are part of Iterative’s portfolio companies, and of course, part of our community.
We invited them both to talk about the often unspoken emotional journey that comes with fundraising: rejections, and what their fundraising processes were like and how they handled rejections.
About the Founders
Nirali is the CEO and co-founder of Friz where the team is building tools for freelancers and independents to get hired and paid. Her experiences at Mastercard in Commercial and Small Business Payments helped her realise the struggles freelancers face with their businesses.
Le Yi Khor
Le Yi is the CEO and co-founder of Ottodot, an educational games startup that aims to make learning fun for kids 7-12 years old. Ottodot builds games on Roblox and the games have reached thousands of players in less than 6 months. Her personal mission is empowering youths to realise their fullest potential through good design and technology.
3:25 - How Nirali got into both YC and Iterative's cohort
5:46 - “The most important thing is getting your metrics right” - Why Nirali believes it's important for founders to first be customer obsessed. “Fundraising is just a means to an end, and at the end of the day, you're serving your customers and the people you created the business for”
9:08 - How Le Yi and her co-founder had to learn how to fundraise as first-time founders. “Fundraising is one of the toughest things to learn because it's a private conversation, and the feedback loop is much harder and makes it difficult to learn”
12:08 - Ottodot's journey in fundraising in a ‘fundraising winter’
15:25 - “Fundraising strategy is something I completely underestimated” - Why fundraising is a skill and how it can be learned by founders
18:10 - Le Yi's experience with an investor that told her “this is not how you fundraise”
19:21 - The most surprising thing about fundraising - it's not the silver bullet that fixes everything
22:24 - The shift from having someone tell you what to do to figuring something out on your own - why fundraising is also highly subjective
25:51 - How to discern the fine line between noise and good feedback. “Ÿou need to first emotionally let go” and focus on what your customers are telling you
28:05 - Nirali shares the multiple ways to test out feedback from investors
33:43 - What rejections mean to both Nirali and Le Yi before, and what it means now
39:24 - Fundraising isn't something you can switch on and off
42:06 - Nirali's takeaway - having clarity is important
43:13 - Le Yi's takeaway - the importance of selling cannot be underestimated