Episode five: Investment 101! And how we will fund Incrediballs

In this week's episode, we chat all things investment! And what the plan is for Incrediballs funding - at least in the short term.

You can listen here: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6YHVC36imtLjx38mymYQaz?si=SBg23zD2R7ColSqli5AK1w

Kia ora and welcome to another episode of Now That's What I Call Business, where we talk everything starting and scaling your mission-driven startup. I'm Brianne West, your host. You may know me as the founder and former CEO of Ethique, the company that revolutionized the cosmetics industry and prevented 30 million plastic bottles from landfill. This podcast is like a spoken diary that I'm sure I'll look back on on one day, and either laugh or cringe talking about the decisions we make, the challenge we face, and in general how building another world-changing business called Incrediballs is going. Incrediballs, for those of you who don't know, is the world's first totally plastic-free drinks range that doesn't launch until early next year, but I'm telling you about it right now so you can follow along the journey and learn how to build your very own startup.

Today we're stirring things up with the topic of investment as demanded by you mixed with a dash of my own trials and tribulations. So here's to making sense of cents. I'm sorry. I also really like puns. You'll get used to it. So over the last 10 years I have raised let's say 12 to $13 million of investment for Ethique. It's a lot of money. I never would've thought I'd be in this situation. Investment to me always seemed like this massively terrifying, insurmountable goal and I had no idea how to ever approach it. A lot of it fell into my lap almost, almost out of luck and some of it I had to work for. So I'm going to break down investment while you need it, the different types, of how to get it and tell you how I did and most importantly, what we're going to do with Incrediballs because already quite a few of you have reached out and asked what it is we are going to do to fund Incrediballs.

So we don't actually need investment for Incrediballs. I'm lucky that Ethique went so well, I can build Incrediballs without the help to a certain point at least, but there's so many of you asking to invest in the company and with Ethique, went so well, we are contemplating doing equity crowdfunding because with the 4,800% return on a Ethique's deal, we paid off people's mortgages and that is probably one of my proudest achievements. So stay tuned, we're thinking about it. So why do businesses need investment? This is obvious, they run out of money, but I got this comment a lot when I did equity crowdfunding and people said, "Your numbers must be fraudulent because you're profitable and you're growing well. So why do you need investment?" And fair, good question. But startups need a lot of investment. You need investment for staff, for facilities like factories if you're manufacturing it yourself, for expansion offshore, it goes on and there is nothing hungrier than a startup.

There's not many that can self-fund themselves. And those startups who do fund themselves, that's called bootstrapping, I find immeasurably impressive. There is this bizarre culture we have of worshiping and celebrating the investment amounts that companies raise as if that is a marker of success. This company's raised 50 million, they're now worth 100 million dollars. Or this company's now raised 2 million, they're now worth 10, whatever. It seems very peculiar to me that that's how we bench success in the startup world when really those companies that have done it without inside investment, we should really be celebrating those even more. However, off tangent, a lot of investment in startup goes into innovation. So if you're a new exciting company making new and exciting products, I don't know, maybe you're packaging for example, then you're going to need more investment because you're doing something that isn't probably turning any revenue yet and certainly wouldn't be profitable.

And if you are growing fast like Ethique did in those early days, then you burn through cash like no one's business. It is something I struggled to get my head around for a long time, how we could be bringing in all of these millions of dollars and yet still be struggling for cashflow day in, day out. It's not actually a pleasant position to be in. Growing too fast can kill a business just as much as not growing at all can.

Now there's a couple of reasons of course why you don't need investment. For those businesses that are bootstrapping it, you are champions, carry on. Don't succumb to the pressure that you need to raise investment to look successful. I totally get it and I've heard people say, "Well, why don't you just raise a little bit so people take you more seriously." It's nonsense. You are absolutely killing it. On the other side, if you need to raise investment, it doesn't mean you're not successful. It's just different courses for different horses. Is that the same? Different strokes for different folks.

The other aspect that you might want to consider is that, and course in most instances investment means losing a little bit of control. It doesn't necessarily mean you lose all control and this can certainly be mitigated, but once you let investors in, you are accountable to someone else. They have given you money and you need to give them a return as much as possible. So you need to consider how that extra pressure might make you feel.

Now to be clear to the investment newbies out there, when you raise investment for your company, you are selling shares. You are issuing shares. So that means someone owns a part of your company alongside you. That can be a wee bit difficult to get your head around. I remember the very, very first time I was offered investment. So let's take it back way, way back to I think it was 2014. Now I was a baby CEO, I was in my kitchen. I was still making shampoo in the microwave and yes, setting them on fire. Yes, I had no real idea what the business landscape looked like and the idea of investment wasn't something I'd considered beyond the bank and they weren't going to help me. Trust me. The bank nearly laughed at me.

I had picked up a business mentor through the university competition I talked about 100 million times and that wonderful business mentor, his name is Brian. At the conclusion of that competition, we had a chat and he said, "Look, I really like what you're doing. I really like what you stand for. I want to offer you some investment." And after some back and forth, we agreed on a number and a valuation and that was probably the easiest investment I have ever done, and certainly none of them have gone that simply since.

Now. I knew I needed to raise capital back then for Ethique because we ran out of money. I was still operating as I mentioned in my home and I desperately needed to move into a factory. My flat was taken over by shampoo bars. A friend of mine who worked for me, her house was taken over by shampoo bars. It was getting too big and to the point where I was really frightened of taking that leap without any kind of financial backing because remember, I was a university student. I didn't have anything to fall back on. I don't have a wealthy family. I didn't have anything that could give me a little bit of comfort that this was the right thing to do.

So when Brian came along and offered me this cash coupled with his support and help, I thought, you know what? I'm going to give this a go. So we shook on the deal and I'm not not giving you specifics. I actually genuinely do not recall the numbers and the specifics, but the company was not worth a lot. It was in the tens of thousands in terms of monthly sales. It was small, it was still really at that ideation pilot phase, where I was figuring out what worked and what didn't, and to be fair, a lot of it worked because a lot of it is still what you see today. But Brian's investment, however small it may have been, I think it was 50 grand back then, that helped me gain the confidence to move into refactory. So that is what you call angel investment. Brian was my first, certainly not my only, but my first angel, and angels are just wealthy individuals who like supporting startups.

Now, angel investment is incredibly risky. So typically they are people who like to get involved a little bit with business and help guide early stage entrepreneurs. Sometimes they take a board seat, sometimes they actually take an operational seat. It's entirely dependent on what you want and what they're offering in terms of skills and time. Now, there's lots of things to consider with angels. Yes, the financial side is one thing, but you also want to think about fit. Now, I have had the pleasure of working with lots of wonderful people. Many, many more people have offered me investment than I've ever taken for a variety of reasons. But one of the big ones is their values didn't align.

Now the difference between Brian and I is that we really did have that fit. He believed in why I was doing what I was doing more so than most other people I've even met. He totally understood the reason for doing it. Beyond just making a shampoo bar product, it was all about making something that in his words, because he came up with this, "Were better for people and better for the planet." He had skills to offer that was useful, he was great at helping me build my confidence in myself and he was a real win for the company in those early days. But we ran out of money pretty quickly. Again, startup life. And we knew we were going to have to raise again.

Now, equity crowdfunding had just been legalized in New Zealand maybe three or four months earlier in early 2015 I think it was, and I loved it. I thought it was terrifying, but I fucking loved it. So equity crowdfunding is like a mini stock market. It's like the Kickstarter model where a business will sell rewards before those rewards exist and they use the money that people have paid for those rewards to create the rewards in the first place. But equity crowdfunding sells shares in a business. Now, I love this infinitely more than the reward model for a couple of reasons.

One, people who wouldn't ordinarily be able to afford to invest had access to investment in companies. They could help support companies who they truly believed in and loved what they were doing. That's especially important for those mission driven businesses to have that early support, those passionate group of people around them helping them grow the company. So one, it gave access to people who wouldn't ordinarily be able to invest.

Two, frankly speaking, it seemed a lot less overwhelming than a proper angel pitch. To me, angels were a little bit scary. Whilst obviously I had my first investor, the idea of pitching to a bunch of angels in a room was absolutely terrifying. I was hideously terrified of public speaking back then to the point where I would throw up before I ever had to do a presentation. So pitching to a group of people was just not on my to-do list, but equity crowdfunding didn't need any of that. It was quicker to pull together. It was just seemingly easier with lower barriers. Now there's a lot of paperwork you need to do and there's lawyers and accountants just the same, but it seemed easier.

And the third thing was marketing. If you go and poll Ethique supporters in Aotearoa, you will find that about a third of them originally heard from us with equity crowdfunding. That is how powerful the marketing model for equity crowdfunding is. Do not underestimate it. We were on the news, we were in every national newspaper, we were on the NBR. We were everywhere because not only was equity crowdfunding novel, the idea of a mission-driven business, that was truly time to operate in a way that was ethical and kind and fair, that was unusual too. So combining both, that was a PR dream.

So our first round of equity crowdfunding was in 2015. Now we decided to sell 16% of the company for $200,000. That was fine, but how did we get to that valuation? Well, we made it really simple and this is actually the same valuation method I've used for Ethique for every day since now. So we based our valuation of the company on the 2.5 times 30 year earnings before depreciation, interest in tax, otherwise known as EBITDA. We also provided several forecasts for our crowdfunders. So we did a bronze, silver, and gold with our silver being sort of the we think we can achieve this, our gold forecast being like, yeah, if these things come to together we can absolutely achieve this, and our bronze being worst case scenario. We thought silver was the most conservative and the most fair option there.

So we valued the company at just over a million dollars. Now the beauty about all of this is if you are curious and want to go see exactly what I'm talking about, if you search PledgeMe Ethique, all of this information will come up for you. So that raises was very successful. We raised $200,000 in 10 days from about 150 people who went on to become shareholders. It was the most amazing experience. I met the most wonderful supportive people, from people I'd never heard of before to people I knew really well. My first ever investor was actually a singer, a local Cantabrian singer and we had a couple of couples who I'd never met before, but just really loved what the company was trying to do. This is why equity crowdfunding is so good for mission-driven businesses. You have people who are passionate about what it is you're doing. If we were just a shampoo company, would people care as much? I doubt it, but we were a shampoo company trying to change the world and that's what did it.

We had a launch event at Valentine's. We were washing people's hair, we had the press there. It was amazing. And I remember a couple came up to me afterwards and said, "Hi, you don't know us. We've just done ..." I think they did a $30,000 investment and that is an epic amount of money. They didn't know me, they didn't know a lot about the company. They had just seen the launch, they had been told about it by one of their family members and they were excited. Every single year they send me a Christmas card. Their support and others like them truly meant the world. God, sometimes startup life sucks. It sucks so bad when you are lying awake at three o'clock in the morning and you don't know how you're going to make payroll or you don't know how you're going to pay a bill or a bloody supplier has lied to your face and said something's on the water when it wasn't. Yes, that's speaking from experience. That sort of thing meant the absolute world.

So of course we did it again in 2017. I love equity crowdfunding. When people ask me about it in interviews, I perk up and get excited, which is why of course I'm contemplating doing it for Incrediballs. So in 2017 we were of course quite a lot bigger. We valued the company at 10 million, so a 10 times increase on the previous year, and we did this at a 4.5 times multiple of our current year's projected revenue. So we were projecting for that year that we were going to do 2.2 million. So it was simply a 4.5 times multiple of that.

Now, I'm not going to talk a great deal about business valuations because it's complicated, but the reason we chose to do it based off revenue is because we are the growth oriented company. If we chose to do it off EBITDA, it would've been difficult to get what I would've considered a fair valuation because whilst we were profitable on a small level, and again, you can see that in the details on PledgeMe, we were putting all that energy into growth. So the top line was much healthier looking and you will find that that's very true of a lot of startups. Some companies do a multiple on net profit or EBITDA. It depends entirely on a whole bunch of things, which is why it's often said that valuations are like black magic. If you can stand by your valuation and it is based on projections that are fair and reasonable, which is why I like current year valuations, then you're good to go.

I speak to a lot of mentees and obviously I do some investment on the side and I see a lot of these valuations where they're expecting hockey stick forecast. So they'll go from 5 million one year to 10 million the next, to 75 million the third year, and it's not enormously realistic. And hey, if it is realistic to you, I want to know why. And so many of these companies can't say why. So if you are looking for an investment, your valuation needs to be based on forecasts that are super solid because your investors are just going to laugh at you. A lot of equity crowdfunding deals I have watched on PledgeMe have fallen over because people have got really wound up about the valuations.

Now, at the same time we were doing this equity crowdfunding round, I was also being nicely harassed by a friend of mine from the Ice House who wanted me to take part in a big angel showcase. So this was a big event they host in Aotearoa every year. It's very flashy, it's very exciting. There's about 1,000 people in the room and 10 startups pitch. The idea, as I've told you, of pitching to that many people maybe feel violently ill, but it was also the opportunity of a lifetime.

So after a lot of back and forth, I said yes, and then I emailed them back in a panic and said, look, "No, I'm sorry I can't do it." They [inaudible] me through it and we split the investment. So we did it a million dollars in 2017. We were going to do it all by crowdfunding and hey, we could have done it because we raised half a million in 90 minutes. I have no doubt we would've raised a million because we were so much better known then. The key to our success in the original equity crowdfunding round actually was the fact that we did every single thing that we had said we were going to do in the 2015 raise. So it's really important to do what you say you're going to do and stick to your promises or if you don't, explain why you didn't.

Anyway, so this angel raise is in the back of my mind. It was occurring about two weeks before I launched on PledgeMe and I was terrified. I got up on stage and I was sick too. I had some kind of horrible coldy flu bug thing, so I couldn't bloody believe that I wasn't well on top of everything else. But I got up on stage, I did my four-minute pitch and we were offered collectively insane amounts. Somebody even offered to buy a half the company without seeing the company's financials. The pitch went that well because once again, people saw the value in a company selling much more than just a product. Obviously we didn't take that deal and in the end I think we only took about $450,000 from that because of the golden rule of investment, which is values. You want the angels to matter because angels take bigger chunks typically, and whilst equity crowdfunders usually take your smaller chunks, your average investment is about $1,000 and they don't have voting rights. Angels can be structured a little bit differently.

In our case, nobody had voting rights. It's up to you and you need to take legal advice when you're doing investment because you need to understand how to structure your cap table, which is your capital table, which is effectively your shareholder listing. How are people going to hold their shares? Are you just going to have people on your shareholder register like I did at Ethique? Probably would recommend you put them in a nominee company just for ease of management later when you have an exit or whatever it's you choose to do. There's a lot of things that go into it, but just to be clear, if I can do it back in 2015 when I had no experience and found the whole thing terrifying, anybody can do it and it is fun.

So with that angel side, I think we bought on about 10 angels and a nominee company. We went around and meet every single one of them, which took about two weeks, a bit of a roadshow, which was fun. We got to meet some people and a lot of those people I still talk to now. In fact one of them is currently helping us with a completely different company. So you never know who you're going to meet. Angels are incredibly useful.

The last piece of investment that Ethique got, it was of course in 2020 and that was through private equity. Now, venture capital and private equity are often mixed up. People don't quite know the difference. The difference between venture capital and private equity is relatively simple. Private equity involves bigger investment in more mature companies. For a private equity deal, our 2020 deal was a little bit small. Normally they are bigger amounts. They bought the majority of the company and they did this by buying out most of our shareholders in terms of our equity crowdfunding shareholders, our angel investors, and both my business partner and I, so that was my CEO, Tristan and I talked about many, many times. Brian and I all maintained an amount. I'm still the second largest shareholder of Ethique.

VC funds typically don't do that. They come along a little bit earlier and make smaller amounts in more emerging companies. Typically, your order will go something like angel investors, venture capitalists, private equity firms, and that's where your big exit usually is. Now when you get to this stage, you really want to have a think about what it is you want to achieve because you're going to get asked an awful lot what your exit strategy is, and I hated that. I remember walking into a room so excited, fizzing about this business. I'd just walked into a VC fund in San Francisco and this woman sat opposite me and she said, "This is great. What's your exit strategy?" And I thought, well, I'm here. I want to build this for the rest of my life because I was naive. "I don't have one."

That is not a good answer because a VC fund needs you to have an exit strategy or how on earth are they going to make a return? They want to know whether you plan on selling in the next 5 to 10 years. They want to know if you're going to stick with this company forever. They want to know if you want to stay around forever and you need to have an answer. And I know that feels really foreign when you're excited about building your baby, but you've got to have an answer. Venture capital firms are exactly the same.

Now, I haven't talked about a few other options. So bank being the obvious one. I mentioned it briefly that banks aren't necessarily particularly supportive to the early stage and they're not. Banks get involved when you've got bigger backers, you've got really established cashflow for years and years and years, you've got solid contracts, you're just much less of a risk unless you've got a lot of equity in your home and you're willing to put that up and please never put your home up against your business. You always guard your home. I think that's probably one of the biggest pieces of advice that Tristan, that COO who's been with me since 2016 and grown this company beside me, I think that was one of the biggest pieces of advices he gives me.

That was a long and drawn out story about what different types of investment are and what worked for Ethique. I look forward to going on this journey with Incrediballs, but I am not in a rush to do so, although I will say I'm in a rush [inaudible] it's just so much fun. I can't wait. So if you are looking to get investments, you need to do a few things before you start looking for investors. You need a business plan and no, you don't need a 50-page business plan. If you ever watch any of my TikToks, you'll know I never advocate for those bloody things, but you do need a pitch deck and that needs to have certain things.

Now, I talk about how to build a pitch deck or a presentation deck over on businessbutbetter.com, so I'm not going to go through that today. There are also pitch deck templates everywhere, all over the internet. There is a lot of information on how to build a good one, but my one piece of advice is as a mission driven company, make sure you lead with that mission because you don't want to hide away the fact that you are not here only to make a profit. Because yes, you may diminish the pool of investors willing to invest in you, but how much worse would it be to gain investment from someone who expects you to strip all the values out of your company that makes it unique, makes it successful simply to make more money? That happens all the time. Do not hide who you or your company are in order to get money because I promise you it's a long-term bad decision.

So once you've built a pitch deck, you want to address things like your growth trajectory and you want to have solid assumptions behind it. You want to talk about your team, you want to understand and showcase your market, your total addressable market or TAM as you will hear it often referred to. That means the number of people who potentially buy your product. We want to build forecasts that are built on really strong assumptions. Preferably someone independent has helped you prepare them and validated them and ensured that at least the numbers add up because I've seen pitches where they don't. You want to make sure that when they say, "Oh, how are you going to triple your income over the next three years? Or how are you going to triple your revenue over the next three years?" You can confidently say how. Not just, "Oh, we're probably going to move into this retailer," because that's not how retail works. How do you know they're going to want you on shelves? And then how are you going to move it off shelves? Forecasting can be complicated. Again, not something I'm going into in this episode.

And once you've created a beautiful pitch deck, then you need a little bit of mental preparation because you're going to be rejected way more times than you are going to be said yes to. If you're going the angel route and you start pitching a whole bunch of angels, most of them are going to say no, and that's okay because you want to get the right fit because you also want to say no because it is a marriage. It is not something you leap into boots and all. You want to get to know people before you say I do.

The last thing you want to consider before you start going into angels is who you want. Do you want dumb money? So do you just want money from someone who'll sit in the corner and not say anything? Do you want strategic advice? Do you want somebody who has connections in different countries or maybe warehousing or something that's helpful to you as a business? Have a real think about what you want and what you can work with because you may think you want someone operational and then decide actually, that's a horrible idea and that's when you start looking for investors.

Now, this process is largely the same for angels or VCs or PE fund. So I'm going to talk exclusively about angels, but this is relevant for all three. If you are wanting to go the equity crowdfunding route, there is two main options in Aotearoa. PledgeMe, my absolute ride or die. I adore what PledgeMe has done for Ethique and I cannot wait to do the same with Incrediballs. There is also Snowball Effect who have a bit of a different model where they have a lot of wholesale investors who then go out to your consumer investors. So you find investors in lots of different places.

One, networking. I know a fate worse than death itself, but unfortunately you don't know who knows someone who might be handy. So start spreading the word, send it to people you might know. This is often why it's useful having a discovery deck where it's just a couple of slides saying, "We are going to be doing this. This is our mission, our vision, and we are looking to raise funds," but without any the confidential detail. So then if they are interested, you can send them an NDA, a nondisclosure agreement and then you can send them the full deck and you don't have to worry too much about your information getting out there.

After networking, there's lots and lots of platforms. So there's websites like Angel List, LinkedIn, the Angel Association New Zealand, the Angel Investment Network, which has a presence in a lot of countries like Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA.

Accelerators and incubators, they all often measure their success on the rate of investment that their cohort gets, so that's another option as well. They will drive you through the process to get investment.

At the end of the day, it's actually not difficult to find these places. So angel groups are made up of individual angel investors and they're often grouped together around a style or type of investment. So you'll get tech groups, you'll get women founder groups, you'll get impact investment groups. So make sure you pick someone that's relevant to what it is you're looking for. Don't pitch a tech product to an FMCG, fast moving consumer goods angel group for example.

At the end of the day, it's so important that you have your ideal investment fit and an alignment and vision and where the company's going, mutual respect so they don't think you're an idiot and shared growth perspectives. Understand where you're going and why.

A couple of things to watch out for. So you want to be aware of loss of control. You will dilute your ownership, but there are certain thresholds you don't want to cross. Now you want to speak to your legal team about what they are, so be careful of diluting too much. I also think about future rounds and how that is going to look when you're going to raise money in the future. Vision divergence is a nice way of saying that you and the investor stop agreeing on your shared vision. This can really only be sorted out in the beginning, a little bit like a prenup. Ensure that you are all on the same page for the long term. Be aware that you are now going to be scrutinized. They want returns, they want performance. And whilst they might be really lovely in the beginning, if you underperform and continue to miss things like forecasts, that isn't going to go very well in the long term. So you're going to start having to step up your communication with your investors.

You're going to go through a due diligence process. It's called DD, and it's just where your investors will go through your entire [inaudible] with a fine tooth comb looking for problems. They'll want to look at things like trademarks, your product certifications, your product manufacturing. Obviously your financials are a big one, but everything you could think of that will cause them a problem or prevent the business from reaching its goals. It might feel invasive, it might feel accusatory. It shouldn't, with the right investor and kindness being involved, it doesn't need to feel like that. But do not hide things. You will probably have something called warranties where you warrant to the investor that all of the information you've provided is true, and if it's not, you are personally liable financially and legally for anything you lied about or mislead them or hid. Don't do it. The key to a successful investor relationship is clarity and transparency on both sides.

And your final piece of advice, regardless of which way you go, ensure that you do have that lawyer, I keep mentioning. Make sure the lawyer is involved with a final draft of documents, that they know what the desired outcome is and everybody has clarity on who gets what and why. I hope that has sort of helped with a bit of a rundown. As I mentioned, we are thinking about equity crowdfunding for Incrediballs. There is, I'll be frank, some real considerations around it. As I mentioned, we don't need the cash at this point. If Incrediballs does the same as Ethique and grows as fast, well we might have to think about it because we will need a lot, millions and millions of dollars to fund the business. And ultimately that's of course success and that's what I'd like it to look like. But I'm not in a rush for that to happen, but I'm still thinking about equity crowdfunding even though we don't need it for the reasons I mentioned before, which is bringing people on that journey and making people money.

The consideration there is of course, is what if the product doesn't sell? What if the business doesn't succeed? There is absolutely no guarantee in any of this, and whilst Ethique was successful, a little part of me, still mindful that it doesn't mean Incrediballs will be. So that is a consideration. That's why I'm not doing a round until we have at least a few months worth of sales, so we know what customer feedback is like, we know what our supply chain is like, we understand what the logistics and everything else that goes into performs like. So if there's any red flags, it's only our money that we are wasting first. That's really important.

The other side, of course, is the marketing that comes with equity crowdfunding. It's such a huge part of why Ethique was so successful in those early days and why it's such a strong community is that crowdfunding piece. We are all in it together. I loved that and I want to feel that again. So we'll be looking at doing this probably, but it will be early to mid 2024. And if you are interested, and I know there are people who were nagging you about it already, head over to incrediballs.com and sign up and I promise you'll be the first to know.

Investment's a funny one. I so clearly remember sitting across the table from Brian and being so conflicted about the idea of what felt like giving up some of my company that I had cried over, literally bled over. I still have little scars on my hands from the burns. It was such a wrench, but it was also that if you don't do this, the company's not going to be worth anything. You're not going to go anywhere, and it was a waste of everybody's time. It's hard. It's a real emotional thing that you need to get over. And perhaps as I'm only speaking for myself, perhaps other entrepreneurs and founders don't feel this way, but every round of investment has come with mixed feelings for me.

And particularly when it came to the big one at the end where it was such a big deal and I was saying goodbye to those shareholders, it felt like the end of an era, and it was an end of an era. They weren't part of our shareholders anymore. I mean, they were very happy. I got cards and letters and wonderful emails, and at our final AGM I had people saying, "Please, when you do something next, let me know. I want to invest again." And that faith in me is, honestly, it's hard to explain how it feels. So investment is a very deeply emotional thing to do that you need to be incredibly aware of. It's exciting and it delivers you to new heights, but it's time-consuming, it's distracting.

So if I leave you with anything after this quite long-winded episode, ensure you know what you want to do with the money. Ensure you know how much money you want to raise and don't have ridiculous forecasts that will make someone laugh at you. Understand who you want your investor to be and make sure you are both on the same page or you're all on the same page for where you want to go on the longterm and make sure they understand your vision and your mission.

Now, next fortnight's topic, I haven't even discussed what it's going to be yet. I have been so excited about Now That's What I Call Green, the sustainability arm of this podcast that I haven't even thought of the next episode. Let's see what happens in Incrediballs. We are at that period of time we're signing some paperwork and really there's not a lot going on, but next time you hear from me, I will have completed a big branding session with another company to help me drag out that underlying mission statement for Incrediballs. So I'm very excited to tell you all about that. I hope you found this entertaining, inspiring, or educational. And if not, well I'll do better next time. I've been your host Brianne West, and this is Now That's What I Call Business where we're not just talking business, we are changing the world.