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Volume 39- November 14th, 2021                                                                                                                        View in Your Browser

TODAY'S NEWSLETTER πŸš€

Happy Sunday everyone! 

If you follow me on Twitter, you may know this is an exciting time for the Dream Pops team.  We just raised $6 million dollars––our first-ever institutional round! And today, I’m giving my POV on the process. 

In today’s newsletter: 

  • A real look at what it took Dream Pops to raise $6M
  • When the right time is to raise money for your brand 
  • Waiting means winning: what I learned from operating my business with little cash

If you’re lucky enough to find this email in your inbox but aren’t a subscriber, click here to subscribe now.

HERE'S THE SCOOP 🍦

The Fundraising Fallacy 

There’s a major misunderstanding in CPG that you can just go out and raise $3M on the promise of an idea. 

It took me 177 rejections over 5+ years before Dream Pops secured its latest round of funding. That’s 177 introductions, countless pitches, even more meetings, endless conversations, and 3+ years without a salary. Not only is the process of raising money not glamorous, as it’s often portrayed, but it's also a full-time job on top of the already more than full-time job of being a founder. I don’t say this to scare you, but rather to provide a small bit of transparency in the overly opaque world of fundraising.  

Moreover, I want to tell you why––even if you could raise millions based on a vision––that money could actually cause you to fail. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but hear me out. 

Timing Is Everything 

As I mentioned above, one of the most important aspects of a raise in my book is timing. Not just the time it takes, but the strategic timing of the raise. I specifically waited until this point in time to seek institutional investment for Dream Pops. Not taking VC money for the first 5+ years of the Dream Pops journey is a major reason why I believe we’re still around today. 

Let me explain.  

Waiting to raise money taught us a few invaluable lessons––how to be scrappy, what success looks like, and most importantly, when we get an influx of cash, how to spend it efficiently. 

1. How To Be Scrappy 

For Dream Pops, I truly believe we would have failed if we’d secured a $6M check earlier in our evolution. At no point in our journey did we have a war chest of cash. Instead, year after year, I focused on small raises of $50-100K here or there––all from angel investors or friends and family. Out of necessity, we were forced to be creative in the way we operated. We focused on how to attract earned media. We doubled-down on our owned channels. We collaborated with brands with x1000 more brand recognition than us. We went all in on TikTok. I built a personal brand across LinkedIn, this newsletter, and my Stick With Your Dreams podcast. We did anything to draw attention to Dream Pops––all without bleeding cash. 

2. What Success Looks Like 

Nothing bothers me more than hearing β€œWow, Dream Pops...what an overnight success!” 

We spent 5+ years refining the business to where it is today. That means countless sleepless nights, draining my own savings, and constantly wondering if I had destroyed my career by taking off on such a risky endeavor. Despite the struggle, I'm glad we didn’t have the luxury of cash to scale our business at a rapid speed. Having extra cash would have meant throwing money at our problems, rather than looking to the root of the problem. Instead, we built a sustainable business with strategy and thoughtfulness behind each and every decision. For example, when we discovered frozen DTC would be too costly and complex, instead of throwing cash to the wind in hopes we’d figure it out, we pivoted to retail (a major coup in a DTC-obsessed world). Thanks to our shallow pockets, we’re now successfully selling in over 3,500 stores and counting. 

3. Where to Spend 

Lastly and most importantly, I now know where to effectively spend in order to scale. Thanks to the 5+ years growing the business, I know what markets I need to expand in, what roles to hire for, what SKUs to launch, and so on. 

All in all, when it comes to fundraising as a CPG brand, waiting means winning in the long-term. 

CASE STUDIES πŸ“”πŸ“–

Check out the recent media coverage of our raise!

EXCLUSIVE DECK 🀫

If you want to learn more about our unique early B2B approach, I’ve created a deck that dives into more detail for subscribers here. It includes outreach templates, apps we use, and important strategies I’ve learned along the way, so definitely take a look.

CHERRY ON TOP πŸ’

FURTHER RESOURCES ON TODAY'S TOPIC

MONDAY TO SUNDAY πŸ’‘

THE LATEST CPG NEWS

UP NEXT ➑️

Thanks for reading! 

As always, feel free to reply back with feedback, thoughts, and questions. 

See you next week. 

-DG

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The Courage to Dream. The Will to Innovate. The Tenacity to Execute.

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