We’ve been writing for several months now about how Idaho startups have been dealing, with varying degrees of success, with the current economic situation and how startup funding has reportedly been harder to get.
That’s why it’s so nice to talk to someone who actually got the funding they were looking for.
We first wrote about BoldHue in March, talking with Rachel Wilson, CEO and co-founder, about her plans for the makeup company. At the time we spoke with her, she said she was raising a $500,000 pre-seed round that she expected to close within 60 days, followed by a later $3 million round to manufacture and distribute the product.
As it happened, Wilson increased both the time and the amount, and was successful. How did she do it?
This interview has been edited for clarity.
How much funding did you receive?
Our round was set for $1 million and we received $1,092,000 -- an oversubscription due to multiple investor interest to come into this round.
How did you choose that amount?
In our planning efforts, this amount allows us to take care of our top priorities of product development and R&D.
What are you going to do with it?
Currently, we are deploying capital to our product development efforts, R&D, brand creation, and expanding our team.
From whom did you get it?
Our round was led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Lucas Venture Group, followed by Boise-based Capital Eleven, founders/investors of Tackle.io, and other angels.
How did you pick them?
Lucas Venture Group has been around for a very long time and has had many successful exits in its portfolio, but, most importantly, the fund has a strong focus on supporting female-founded companies and we resonated with their culture and enthusiasm for what we were doing.
Capital Eleven and Tackle.io are experienced entrepreneurs themselves and understand the journey from the other side of the aisle. We really value that in our investors because they have sat in our seats before and they know the challenges that lie ahead, giving us the opportunity to lean on their experiences as we navigate through these early stages.
In addition, we received capital from a private group that is well known in influencer and marketing, which will allow us to tap into their resources and lean on their guidance as we begin to be more forward-facing in branding.
Our angels are excited about what we are doing and shared the same enthusiasm for the problems we are solving. These are investors we want on this journey with us.
Experts have been saying it’s a tough climate to raise money. Did you see a change? When did it happen and what did you see?
Raising capital, in general, is tough. There really is no easy route -- you just have to be persistent and passionate about the problem you are solving.
With that said, yes, market changes have had a lot of ups and downs over these past few years. I believe the current market shifts are showing the biggest effects in later-stage companies because those are where the largest checks are being written. So, early-stage companies are still seeing opportunity, especially disruptive technology like ours.
How did you do it?
Let's just say, coffee has been my best friend! Jokes aside, my co-founder and I are just so passionate about solving this problem that we just continue to keep moving forward one step at a time.
Believe me, there were definitely times when I wanted to throw in the towel and the truth is, behind the scenes, I have pushed myself even when I have felt wildly uncomfortable doing so. However, I know what we have is something special, so I’ve focused on buying into the message “success is an option” instead of the other word that shall not be named.
Of course, this is not a straightforward path; it’s impossible to do this on your own. So although I am proud of my own efforts in this accomplishment, I am beyond grateful to everyone around me who is my support system and has been involved in achieving this milestone with me.
What advice would you offer to other people who are raising in this climate?
Turn down the noise, focus, and remember why you said “yes” to this journey in the first place. Ask for help and don’t let your own pride get in the way of accomplishing your dreams. It’s ok that you don’t know everything, but it’s not ok to pretend like you do.
Your willingness to evolve and pivot will produce successful outcomes even when you feel like you should be further along. Patience! (a word I too, hate). Take a moment to celebrate the wins along the way, even if they may be small, because the small ones add up to one day being the big accomplishment you have been fighting to achieve for. And as Billie Jean King so perfectly said, “Pressure is a privilege.”
Sharon Fisher is a digital nomad who writes about entrepreneurship.
This article was created as a collaboration between Boise Entrepreneur Week, Built in Idaho and Trailhead.