What to do after a successful seed round? The first quarter...
As you may have heard, Beagle successfully raised £365k at the end of last year. We raised with Seedrs (see our campaign here) and Marchmont Ventures and the cash dropped into our bank account on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to Beagle!
As it’s just turned April, we thought we’d share what we learnt in our first quarter after closing our successful round.
Who are we again?
For those who haven't heard of Beagle, we are a tech company, working to solve the climate crisis by helping consumers to change their shopping habits. Our first product is a free browser extension which makes it as easy to shop eco as to shop on Amazon! You can find out more about it at joinbeagle.com.
What did we do, and what did we we learn?
1) The money can take longer to come in than you think
Legal and administrative wrapping up, especially when you’re dealing with a crowdfund, can take a bit longer than you think, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.
2) It’s good to go back to your mission
After all the upheaval and distraction of raising, it helps to refocus on your “why”. At Beagle we are looking to change the way the world shops, to have a tangible effect on waste and climate change. In order to do this, we must become a household name in all the major consumer markets. This values-based mission will ultimately be the driving force of commercial activities and has been proven to be much more motivating to a team than even salaries or bonuses.
3) Plan ahead, but be flexible
All the beautiful projections you had during your raise might assume the money coming in earlier, hiring earlier, or spend money on marketing earlier. There’s no point working to outdated projections as it will demotivate the team, so in consultation with the board, they are worth updating asap. Getting buy-in from all members of the team and board on the medium-term plan just after the cash has landed will prevent hiccups and misunderstanding along the way and lead to an easier series A.
4) Have those hiring plans ready
In order to hire quickly, it’s worth having job descriptions and ads written and ready to go. This helped us to hire our new Marketing Exec, Sophie, who is swiftly overhauling all our social channels and helping us test our customer acquisition channels.
5) Test, test, test
Once you have the money to begin, start putting that money to the test in small doses. Using the principles in “Traction”, a book by Gabriel Weinberg Justin Mares, we began testing lots of different customer acquisition channels with set spends for each. E.g Facebook, newsletters and Google Ads. The goal is to find one or two to really sing, so you can double down on your investment and iterate and optimise to get the very best Customer Acquisition Costs. Good data is key to this, and making sure everything is being measured and attributed accurately is a challenge we have found it very much worth overcoming as early as possible.
6) Celebrate maxi and mini milestones
Beagle celebrated our raise with drinks and a delicious plant-based meal at Mildreds. Not only was it important to celebrate the achievement of months of hard work, but, due to the pandemic, it was the first time the team had been together in person for a very long time. Bonding as human beings, rather than just as founders on a mission, was a motivating and rejuvenating experience.
Since then, in just a few weeks we have managed to get our matching algorithm up from 85% to 90%, bring our click through rate up to the highest it’s ever been, and build an engine that will automate the onboarding of thousands of verified products.
7) Company culture, principles and policies
After a seed round is the first time many companies hire. Putting together a staff handbook, discussing workplace policies and agreeing on the kind of company culture you want to foster beyond he founding team are all important steps. We have also enjoyed introducing some weekly and monthly traditions which include talking about non-work related highlights of our weeks and setting up a book club, to collectively read and discuss books we believe will help Beagle as a company. So far we have read Traction and The Mom Test.
And what about you?
We would love to hear from other founders on what they did between Seed and Series A, what worked and what didn't.
We're also actively looking for advisory board members in the spheres of Online Technology, Digital Marketing and Sustainable Products/Lifecycles. Do get in touch if interested.
In the meantime, make sure to download the Beagle Button at joinbeagle.com and start your sustainable online shopping journey!