Recently, I find myself in too many discussions with founders about their fundraising. On the surface, there is obviously nothing wrong with that. What disturbs me though is how often the conversation starts with:

The moment you focus your energy away from building kick-ass products to pleasing an investor, you set yourself up for failure. Tweet This Quote

“What do we need to do to be an investable startup?” or, “How can we tweak our product so that investors will pour money into it?”

The very premise of these questions is wrong—fundamentally wrong. It’s backward to believe raising money is the thing and not just something you do to get to the thing.

Investors want to invest in founders who are building exceptional products and creating a lot of value for their customers. That’s the only way to build something big and lasting. The moment you focus your energy away from building kick-ass products to pleasing an investor, you set yourself up for failure.

Pour every ounce of energy into creating value for your customers. Solve their problems and you will be golden. Tweet This Quote

Even if you find an investor who falls for the Wizard of Oz charade, you now focus on the wrong target group (since your investor is typically not your customer), build the wrong product, and look at the wrong KPIs.

Instead, understand that money is just the enabler to do what you want to do. Focus on building the most kick-ass product you can. Pour every ounce of energy into creating value for your customers. Solve their problems, and you will be golden.


This originally appeared on Pascal’s blog.

About the author

Pascal Finette

Pascal Finette

Pascal is the Managing Director of Singularity University's Startup Lab. He is also an entrepreneur, coach, and speaker who has worked in Internet powerhouses, such as eBay, Mozilla, and Google, and Venture Capital—starting both a VC firm and accelerator program.