An icy fundraising environment can change the DNA of early startups for the better

There isn’t much hope the fundraising environment in 2023 will be better for startups than last year. It seems likely that it will get worse before it gets better – even in the earliest stages, which have remained largely isolated until now.

But for high-growth companies that are able to build business models that reflect current conditions and rely less on venture capital to grow, the icy environment could ultimately be a good thing.

While some industries need to raise a lot of capital to build a viable business, such as aerospace and defense or manufacturing, most don’t, but that hasn’t stopped companies from raking in buckets of dollars over the past few record years. But it’s better to just raise the smallest amount you need, which many startups are now discovering.

“I can’t tell you how many companies I’ve talked to that are in a tough environment because they’ve painted themselves into a corner because of their fundraising history and valuation,” Rachel ten Brink, a general partner at pre-seed-focused Red Bike Capital, told “They started in 2017 and raised 100x revenue. It’s a SaaS company; what do they do from here?

But now that it’s not so easy to get funding, budding founders may have the opportunity to avoid some of those pitfalls.

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