Say hello to the new Founder Storyteller's Playbook
It’s a big day, storytellers.
After one year of writing this newsletter it’s time for an evolution.
The Founder Storyteller’s Playbook moving forward is focused on providing current founders and future founders exactly what they need to succeed over the next decade.
My goals with the updates are threefold:
- Unfiltered learnings you need to hear so you don’t have to sift through all the terrible advice for founders out there (sadly there’s a lot of it).
- Strategies and Tactics we are actively seeing work to raise capital and captivate investors.
- Inspiration and motivation to help you keep pushing forward even in the tough times.
Here’s to Day One.
This Week - Forbes, Brian Chesky & More
- We’re featured in Forbes! Big thanks to Nathan Beckford at Foundersuite for turning the podcast we did into this article.
- Michael Houck fireside - a16z-backed founder Mike and I did a deep dive on structuring your pitch and tapping into what investors love.
- Our brand new founder resource library - our goal is to build the most extensive library of fundraising, founder support and storytelling techniques on the internet. It’s now live and growing every day!
- Tell your hero story like Brian Chesky - founders and CEOs are always looking for leadership and speaking examples. This is as good as it gets.
The trap of logical storytelling
Many founders and CEOs fall into the trap of logical storytelling when they're trying to raise venture capital for their companies.
While logical storytelling works well for recounting past events, it's not the most effective approach when you're selling a vision of the future.
Remember, when you’re in front of an investor, you're not just describing the steps you've taken; you're painting a vivid picture of what your company can become.
Bring the emotion
Emotional storytelling is the cornerstone of competitive storytelling, and I stumbled upon its power during a trial that I actually lost.
This revelation led me to understand that emotional storytelling can sway juries in even the most serious cases. As a founder or CEO, you can utilize this technique to captivate investors and stakeholders.
To become a master storyteller, you need to structure your narrative effectively. The structure itself can turn on the emotional part of storytelling without resorting to dramatics.
Start with your Founder Origin story and your startup's humble beginnings.
Get into the weeds of it.
Take Brian Chesky’s (Co-Founder and CEO of AirBnB) talk a few weeks ago at Config.
You'll see that he immediately takes you right into the action.
He starts with "Back in 2019" and then transports you even further back in time with "Back to Rhode Island School of Design".
This puts you directly in the story. You're seeing it happen. It's a bit like Back to the Future.
It’s emotional. Raw. And Real.
After the Origin Story… instead of laying out a linear path to the future, leap ahead to the "Future Story." In this section, vividly depict the grandest, most ambitious vision you have for your company – a vision that inspires awe and excitement.
The secret sauce lies in the space between the origin story and the future story.
Leave this gap open, allowing investors to fill in the blanks with their imaginations.
By doing so, you can avoid triggering resistance and skepticism in investors. As they become invested in the possibilities, they'll be eager to be part of your envisioned future.
As you progress through funding rounds, the gap between your origin story and the future story gradually shrinks. While maintaining some mystery, you can employ a "phase approach storytelling" to fill in essential details. This approach keeps your audience engaged and excited about your journey.
Embrace big dreams
By focusing on emotional storytelling, you're playing in the realm of big dreams and boundless potential. Inspire your audience to envision a better tomorrow, and they'll want to be a part of it. Remember the likes of Apple and Nike – iconic brands that have masterfully used emotional storytelling to achieve greatness.
Just do it.
What I’m hearing
Q2 was rough in terms of total capital raised. The data from AngelList and Carta both reflect that it’s one of the worst quarters in over a decade. While this might be disheartening, here’s what I’m hearing from investors.
There’s a belief that we probably hit the bottom. Investors know their job is to deploy capital and find great founders. They are telling me that the second half of this year they will be focused on making that happen.
I can’t promise you it will be easy (because it’s not supposed to be) but I can promise you that if you prepare and execute a professional fundraise that you can raise capital.
With over 2,500 readers who are founders and investors we want to help spread the word about the cool stuff you’re doing. Maybe it will lead to a customer, a co-founder, or even investment. Message me and tell me what you’re up to.
Are you fundraising? Our 2023 goal is to hit $1B.
If you’re currently fundraising or plan to soon and want to raise with less stress, faster, and master you story, reach out to us.
Q3 and Q4 are major fundraising periods and are almost on us. The time to prepare is right now.
A former trial lawyer and prosecutor in Dallas, TX, Robbie trains founders to become world-class storytellers and venture capital fundraisers.
In barely two years, he's helped founders raise $575,000,000 of venture capital.