Fundraising Advice

I get asked for fundraising advice often. Here’s a cleaned up version of my answer:

1. Understand that VCs have their own investors, and their top priority is delivering a substantial return on investment to their LPs.
2. Early stage investors evaluate thousands of startups, listening to hundreds of pitches each year, but only invest in a fraction of them.
3. Investors are skilled negotiators, so avoid playing games with them.
4. The best investors can discern your intentions with remarkable accuracy, a valuable skill in their line of work. Avoid posturing or lying to yourself about your startup’s purpose and impact.
5. When you hear a “no”, move on. 
6. When you hear a “yes”, know that the deal is not done until money is in your bank account.  
7. In general, time kills all deals. So timebox fundraising and stick to it emotionally and practically. Return to building and talking to users even if you haven't secured a term sheet after the predetermined period.
8. Fundraising is just a financing event; don't become infatuated with it or let it lead you into a state of depression.
9. Fundraising is not an indication of success or failure, it is an indication that you now own less of your company.  
10. If you’re not in 100% fundraising mode, don’t talk to VCs (unless they're good friends or family).