How Startup Raises First Venture Capital Round - Slava Rubin

In Chapter 5 of 13 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, crowdfunding entrepreneur and IndieGoGo CEO Slava Rubin answers "How Did Your Team Go About Raising Venture Capital?"  Rubin notes the importance of mission alignment and how this plays into goals, milestones, and responsibilities.  He details the transition from being a bootstrap financed startup to taking on convertible debt to deciding on venture financing to build out the team and user experience. 

Slava Rubin returns to CYF for his Year 3 interview.  As CEO and Co-Founder, Rubin has helped transform cause and project fundraising by establishing his company IndieGoGo as a global leader in crowdfunding.  He is also active in philanthropy, starting the Music Against Myeloma annual charity event to fight cancer.  He graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. 


Erik Michielsen: How does your team go about raising venture capital?

Slava Rubin: I think it’s really important that the core team be aligned on knowing what we’re trying to accomplish. What size of a company are we looking to build? How many employees do we wanna have? What kind of revenue are we looking to accomplish? Where do we wanna sit in the competitive landscape and what are we trying to accomplish as a vision? All those things need to be agreed to. Where you’re singing the same song and after that it’s making sure that you know who’s playing what role. You typically don’t wanna have too many people in the process of actually try to raise the money because that can be confusing in terms of coordination and managing the process. So, with us specifically I'm leading up the fundraising process with significant help from the core team.

Erik Michielsen: Was this your first time raising venture capital?

Slava Rubin: Yes. So, we launched in January 2008 and the three founders Eric Shell, Danae Ringelman and myself we boot strapped through 2008. We planned on raising money in the fall of 2008 but then the crash of 2008-2009 happened, which really slowed things down for us. We then raised a small convertible note and followed that with a venture capital round of 1.5 million in March of 2011.

Erik Michielsen: And you used that to build out the team and now are looking at next steps to scale further?

Slava Rubin: Exactly. So, we went from a team of 5 to now a team of 19 and we’re continuing to grow and always looking on how to improve the customer experience.