Last week we (at VarageSale) announced $34,000,000 in fundraising from a group of amazing investors. You can read the news on Business Week and in the Globe and Mail. Two of those investors are Sequoia and Lightspeed Venture Partners. These guys have invested in some of the biggest and best companies in the world: Google, Dropbox, Electronic Arts, Grubhub, Airbnb, Snapchat, Instagram and more. The list is pretty crazy. (The other investors in VarageSale have been incredibly dedicated and valuable as well!)
I’ve received a lot of “congrats!” messages from people on Twitter, Facebook and email. They’re all well appreciated. It’s always nice to feel people rally behind you and what you’re doing. Please note: I had almost nothing to do with the fundraising at VarageSale (the bulk of that effort goes to Carl, Tami and Andrew, and the rest of the team), although I was the first investor in the company (and VarageSale was my first angel investment). The announcement about the fundraising went out Thursday and I spent Friday enjoying it…And now, it’s back to work.
Thirty-four million dollars is a lot of money. It’s an immense responsibility. The more you raise, the higher the expectations. As much as you open doors to bigger and better, you close doors too. You can’t exit early anymore, the valuation is just too high. You’re now building something really big and long-lasting. Of course almost every entrepreneur says they’re doing that from the beginning but early exits can be great too. I’ve been involved in a couple early exits that turned out wonderfully. But in the case of VarageSale it’s truly “go big or go home”.
What’s clear, but occasionally forgotten in the hubbub of fundraising (and the subsequent “noise” made about it in the media, etc.) is that there’s always more work ahead than behind. There’s always more to accomplish than what’s been accomplished to-date. The VarageSale team has done a lot to get where it is today and bring on a lot of funding from top-notch investors, but we know wholeheartedly that there’s way, way, way, way, way more work ahead of us than what we’ve already done. The money gives us the freedom and opportunity to do that work and win big–alone on its own it’s not success–it’s a big step in the right direction. As we move into beautiful new offices today and continue to bask a little bit in the glow of the fundraising announcement, my focus is clear: now shit really hits the fan. Now we have to step it up a notch (or two, or three, or four) and turn VarageSale into the behemoth of awesomeness that we and our investors believe it can be. Now comes the hard part.