How Desperation Drove Me to Use Twitter to take 1,128 Meetings to Raise the First $3M of RareBreed Ventures Fund I
“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” — Whitney M. Young, Jr.
Many people have heard me say that I took over 1,000 meetings (1128 to be exact) from there middle of June to the middle of September 2020 to jump-start the fundraise of RareBreed Ventures. Well, I want to take some time to do an honest retelling of how those meetings came to be and why. While it was these meetings that allowed me to soft circle the first $3M of RareBreed Ventures Fund I, it wasn’t done as a strategy but out of desperation.
Just to level set, most of these meetings I took over this period were with other VCs and potential LPs but there were some with founders, office hours, and virtual events sprinkled in. Also, keep in mind this was during the height of Covid so almost all of these meetings were zooms.
Originally the way this all started was I had made up my mind to start RareBreed Ventures and raise my first fund. Unfortunately though, my personal network only got me to $400K which was far short of the goal of $10M. But, this was also around the time I started tweeting consistently.
What many don’t know is that in May of 2020 I only have 2,600 followers on Twitter compared to my 70,000 today in may of 2022. Well as I started tweeting more and gaining followers I noticed that a lot of my new followers were fellow VCs. So I started looking through my new followers every day and began sending all the VCs who started to follow me DMs to meet with a link to put time on my calendar.
Now, this is important to understand. I didn’t send all of those DMs to ask people for money but to learn. I realized I didn’t know how to raise a fund and needed to learn. So I sent out DMs to these new VC Twitter followers and folks started filling up my calendar. I’d say more than 80% of folks set up meetings.
As I started to have these meetings, early on I had the privilege to meet with Elizabeth Yin from Hustle Fund. Funny enough we actually met thanks to a young lady I was mentoring that worked with Elizabeth and not Twitter. During what was our first meeting she asked me about the minimum to invest in my fund and then said “That’s not bad, I think I can do that. In the moment I was so confused. It took a moment for me to grasp what was happening and that she was offering to became an LP. I didn’t even know GPs of funds could do that. It was this light bulb moment that led me to double down on Twitter and these DMs. I realized that the more VCs I met the more money I might be able to raise for the fund. That’s how having a ton of meetings became my strategy.
One important thing to keep in mind is that I never went into any of these meetings looking for money. It was always to meet with folks, learn, and connect. If they asked about more information on my fund or showed interest then we’d talk about it. This allowed me to raise and grow my network at the same time and in an authentic way.
As I was doing all of this I looked up one day and my calendar was filled every day with meetings for weeks out. It wasn’t planned but just kind of happened. I have to admit it wasn’t easy or fun and after a few weeks, I got burnt out. I started taking less meetings a day but It was working so I couldn’t stop. I still didn’t know a better way to fundraise yet so I kept going even when it sucked.
Not to mention those initial 1,000+ meetings were only the start of the process for me. Remember it was to soft circle the first $3M of a $10M goal. I actually had well over 2,500+ meetings to raise the full $10M over a 18 month period.
Another key point I want to make is, this is not the smartest way to raise a fund. What ended up being my strategy was unfocused and extremely wide-reaching. Mainly because it wasn’t strictly for fundraising and due to my lack of a network. But this strategy did help me grow an incredible network and reach my goal.
All in all this was the best way for me to fundraise, only because I couldn’t think of a better way to. This strategy was more so born out of desperation than anything. In the end, it worked out. It wasn’t easy, I got over worked and burnt out, but it got me to my goal and I and Rarebreed Ventures is better for it.