Fresh Out of TechstarsNYC, MakersKit Raises Seed Funding | AlleyWatch
BY ALLEYWATCH · JULY 15, 2014
Leave it to two guys in the Maker Movement to graduate from the Techstars program just under a month ago, and then announce that they’ve raised a seed round, led by Tribeca Venture Partners and supported by Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Mesa+, Greycroft Partners and Vayner RSE.
But they’re Makers Kit! They make everything look easy! (And we’re sure that two guys who know crafts backwards and forwards and make it all look like good fun certainly know how to craft a pitch!) Yup, that could explain why they just raised the big bucks. Co-founder Jawn McQuade is here to give us the point by point. Instructional video not included.
What was the funding process like?
It was definitely a roller coaster for us. We had never raised funding before, so we weren’t too sure what to expect, nor did we imagine how involved it would be.
Coming from a two person team at the time, we had no idea that both Mike and I were in for a new, full time job raising money, but we hunkered down and made it happen.
After all, ‘lets make it happen’ is our company’s motto.
We had help along the way from some amazing mentors, and were met with some killer VC’s who were just as excited as we were about MakersKit.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
I think for us, the biggest challenge was putting things on hold to fully commit to getting this round closed. It was a little scary knowing that this was Priority One, and everything else had to come second.
Luckily both Mike and I were doing it. We each committed 50% of our time on funding so the other could focus on growing the business.What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
I think people were excited because they believed in the space, but they also knew we were coming at it differently.
I also believe that in seed rounds, the team is what really sells any idea, and how the team pitches that idea can make or break you. For us, pitching was never the challenge. Coming from backgrounds in business and entertainment, we had a pretty good mix of showmanship, and numbers to back it up.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
For us, raising wasn’t even a thing that we thought of until we knew the idea would work – until we knew we were the team that could make it happen. Make sure you know those two things before you go and try to convince others that you should be funded.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We’re going to be expanding our operations. We just found a new workshop where we’re allowed to grow and keep up with the demand we’re seeing.
The other side is that we’re going to be pushing our media content pretty hard in the upcoming months. The media is another huge aspect that sets us apart.
How did the TechStarsNYC program help the company?
The mentoring that we got during Techstars is unfathomable. We’re very grateful that they took us in, and helped get us in front of the VCs that we were targeting. It was also just really nice to be around the rest of the class. There were some many good companies, led by some of the best people I’ve ever met.
Which is your favorite New York craft beer?
Brooklyn Local 2 by the Brooklyn Brewery