Hi everyone, Kevin here to help you close out your April 2023 with our latest updates and progress!
Without further ado,
Company Updates -
1) Outmore's Family is growing
On April 27th at 8:51 am, Caroline Gray Duncan was born! Both Sophie and Caroline are doing great, and I am so excited to welcome Caroline to the Outmore family.
My wife Ally and I can't wait to meet the newest Duncan and Outmore family member!
2) Outmore will be featured on This Is Small Business podcast!
A couple of weeks ago, Alex and I got an email that we were one of eight companies that Amazon was considering to feature on the This Is Small Business podcast. The podcast was looking for small businesses that could be a part of their 10-part mini-series following the journey leading up to and during the Rice Business Plan Competition.
After interviewing with their executive producer and recording team, Outmore Living was one of the four teams selected! We have already started recording and will have a team follow us throughout the weekend at Rice. We will make sure to let everyone know when the first episode is released this June.
3) Two weeks until the Rice Business Plan Competition!
On Friday, I attended the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition, which Alex and I won last December. It was an amazing chance to watch twenty of the best teams from across UT's campus compete. It also helped me think through how Alex and I can better our pitch heading into Rice.
The RBPC is May 11th-13th in Houston and will feature 42 of the most promising startups from across the country. The next ten days will consist of a lot of deck iteration and pitch practice. With Outmore's newest member Caroline understandably taking a lot of her dad's attention, getting ready will be no small feat. That being said, I am confident Alex and I will be ready for the challenge!
Areas of Focus -
For this upcoming month, we plan to prioritize the following areas:
1) Moving from 3D Printing to Injection Plastic Molding
Fingers crossed, but we believe that we just printed our final 3D prototype.
Our engineering team is currently incorporating the updated electronic components into our most recent 3D print. Assuming that the latest updates meet our expectations, we should be able to move from 3D printing to injection plastic molding in the next few weeks.
In the injection plastic molding stage, the goal is to create low-volume, high-quality prototypes that look and feel like what our final product will be. Because we have already completed our functional and user experience testing during the 3D printing phase, the injection plastic molding stage should be pretty quick before we move to mass production.
2) Financing Round 50% Committed!
We have surpassed 50% committed in our $2M seed fundraising round!
With the RBPC coming up in two weeks and ongoing due diligence by institutional investors and individual strategic investors, we are quickly moving towards a fully subscribed seed round. Because we value you or anyone you know might be interested in investing, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
3) Preparing for Presale and Launch!
We will deliver our first products to customers this fall!
To achieve this milestone, we have advance sourced incredible factories in Vietnam, created international and domestic supply chains, and established all the operational capabilities needed to track, import, and sell products.
Prior to delivering to customers this fall, we plan to launch a presale this summer. The piece we are still exploring is how to best sell our products to the market. Within this exploratory phase, our team has been researching the efficacy of selling via our own website or leveraging a crowd funding site like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. More to come in the coming months, but if you are a GTM expert and have thoughts on the best way we can launch our products, we'd love to connect!
4) Sourcing and Sampling
Like last month, we continue to fine tune our furniture design and receive new samples from our factory in Vietnam. We are hoping to share our final design in the next newsletter. More to come!
In June of 2022, Outmore Living raised its first outside capital from an angel investor in Austin. Considering that was almost a year ago, that investor was as much investing in Alex and I as he was investing in Outmore Living.
Founder Perspectives -
Raising capital as a first time founder
Since that point, we have raised $1M, and while I'd like to say it has been easy, the reality is that it has been filled with countless ups and downs. While we still have a lot of capital raising ahead of us, I wanted to share some of our learnings of raising capital as first time founders.
It takes way longer than expected
Raising capital is a time-consuming process that takes much longer than expected. As I mentioned earlier, we raised our first capital in June. However, it was not really until the last six months that raising capital became a full-time job. Every week, we have countless calls, meetings, and presentations with potential investors, and no investor is ready to write a check after one meeting. It is a relationship and trust building process that never happens over night.
Network is everything
Building relationships with investors and other founders is crucial to finding the right investors and getting funded. Every investor that we have had thus far has been via a connection or someone we met at an event. I'm sure that other founders have had success through other channels, but we have found our own networks as the key to our fundraising success.
Rejection is part of the process - learn and move on
Even the most successful founders face rejection from investors. Somebody passed on Google, right? Alex and I have learned to not take it personally and use the feedback to improve our pitch and business model.
Focus on the right investors
When we first started raising, we admittedly spent too much time meeting with the wrong investors (i.e. "only invest in SaaS companies"). We have learned that not all investors are a good fit for our business. We try to focus on investors who have experience in our industry and can offer more than just money, such as connections and expertise.
Keep your eye on the big picture
When starting a company from nothing, there is so much that needs to be done to make Outmore Living successful. Raising capital is just one step in building a successful company. Our team has stayed focused on our long-term goals and has tried to not to get too caught up in the fundraising process.
Until the next newsletter...