Me and my ilk are venturing into new territory and have been for quite a while now.
My latest obsession is my company Otterology. Otterology is a Software based in the cloud that takes .csv reports and/or links with API’s to generate inventory management and enterprise reporting for small and mid sized businesses to make sense of their sales using SQUARE, Paypal, or any other mobile payment technology.
It’s jeanyus, it really is. What we have developed allows ANY business to use an ipad, or another tablet if you are not inclined to use the superior Apple product, and make that Ipad or tablet a full Point of Sale system with complete inventory, reporting and even bookkeeping control. How cool is that?
There are 2.5 million users of SQUARE and 8 million businesses using paypal. What we have created makes their lives easier and much less work. It gives them accountability and access to the data they need.
So what is the problem you say to yourself as you read this. The problem is we created this for us to use. We used it for 2 years. Ran almost 2 million dollars worth of business through it. Over 70,000 transactions itemized, sorted, and made into useful information and then realized……hey…..other people could use this.
So here we are. Launching a disruptive software system for next to nothing in the marketplace. We should be wearing party hats and renting a bulldozer to move all the cash we are making. Wrong. We have to get the product out to the masses. We have to hire people to keep tweaking and adjusting the software. We have to keep working on it and all of that costs money. A lot of money.
I personally have invested more into this than most people pay for a home. That taps me out so now I am selling shares of the company to Angel investors. “Angels” do not have wings despite their name and only one has been playing a harp so far.
They are people, or groups of people, that invest in early stage companies for a piece of the pie. This sounds great but they are very selective and cautious in doing so. They like to see traction and sales coming in. They like teams that are ready to go.
So far so good.
So here I am meeting with people and trying to tell them what we have and how great we are. How we are ready to take on the world. While that is all true it feels like a sales pitch and truth be told it is. We have a great product. Its tested and it works. We have people using it. We have “traction”.
What we don’t have is enough money to keep it rolling for the next year. Hence the Angels. So now I am spending my time trying to get people on board with this spectacular product in a market that will expand by 20 times in the next 4 years. It should be easy but I am here to tell you it is not.
Angels listen to tons of pitches. Everyone talking to them has the next great thing or they wouldn’t be doing it. Angels have to figure out where they want to invest to maximize their returns. Everyone is pitching and talking about how great they are. Honestly most of the things I have heard sounded dumb to me. Maybe that is why I am not an Angel…..yet.
It is not like the show Shark Tank.
So now I have learned things like “pre-money valuation” and “series A” and “Pro forma” so that I can talk confidently about the process. This is hard for me. I have “bootstrapped” (Built with your own money) Every single one of my businesses in the past. I have built them myself and with diligent control of income and outgoing. I have been obsessive about cutting costs, increasing profits, and maximizing sales. I, in essence, have been in control of all the money and have not had to depend on others to keep things rolling for the most part. I have taken loans to get them up but that seems different than looking for investors.
I’m sure it will all seem different once it happens but for right now I am waiting for others before I can expand and grow. Not something I am used to or very good at. It will happen, but the waiting is killing me.