The Economy and Entrepreneurs – Hold On!
Mar 17 2008

oryx-antelope.jpgUnless you live under a rock or don’t drive a car, you have no doubt heard about or felt the state of the US economy.  It’s in a state of well let’s say ‘confusion’ with indications it’s moving in the wrong direction.  Gas prices are at record highs, people are filing for bankruptcy, they are losing their homes, the government has a record amount of debt, the stock market is going down, etc. etc.

So where does this leave us entrepreneurs who want to raise funds to take their businesses to the next level?  Well, that’s a good question and a challenging one to answer.

I’ve had a handful of meetings with potential investors and a couple of them have expressed interest in participating, but they might change their minds given what’s going on in the economy.  As the saying goes “It’s not in the bank, until it’s in the bank!”  Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist in NYC, linked in his Read the Blogs post to a post on the Bear Stearns bailout by JP Morgan, which illustrates why even if you think it’s in the bank, it might not actually really be in the bank!  Our personal savings accounts are also going down with the market.

I had several conversations with entrepreneurs coming from different parts of the country at SXSW Interactive who have been struggling for a while to raise funds for businesses that are up and running with strong visitor and user traction.

So despite only being less than two months into the process, all of this has forced me to revaluate my fundraising plans for Babble Soft.  Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart as there are many ups, downs, and false starts.  The economy changes however have a huge impact on the success or failure of a startup.  If the economy is doing great you get all sorts of crazy new ideas/businesses popping up with chances to live and prove themselves.  If it’s bad, even the companies with wonderful ideas can suffer, die out, or never even get a chance to shine.

The good news is that of all the industries out there (except for maybe the alcohol industry), the baby market is fairly recession proof.   People don’t stop having babies nor do they stop buying things for their babies or things to help them take care of their babies.  The bad news is that what we are trying to do at Babble Soft does not yet have a predefined “mental need or want” (because it’s so new) like say bouncy chairs, bright/shiny toys, Baby Einstein videos, or diapers.

On the plus side, we have not taken any outside money to date so we don’t have to worry about how and when we pay investors back like some other start-up companies.  The downside is that if we don’t raise money right now, it will take longer to bring the exciting, potentially life changing vision I have to the world or worse we might miss the market opportunity.

I’m still trying to figure out the best plan of action.  I wish we had more money to create a new user experience, enhance our current applications, and create new applications ourselves.  I’m evaluating trying to raise a smaller amount of money and growing slower.  Now’s the time when the creative juices start flowing!

If you know an entrepreneur, give them a hug (if you can’t give ‘em money) because it’s going to be a tough roller coaster ride for the next probably year or so.  Some will be able to hang on and emerge stronger and better, some will get off gracefully, others might fall off unexpectedly, and yet others will wish they had fallen off before they lost their money and lost some of their sanity. 🙂

If any of you have any thoughts, advice, virtual hugs, or even questions please share below…

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, fundraising, venture capital | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

6 Comments on “The Economy and Entrepreneurs – Hold On!”

  1. 1 Angie Chang said at 3:26 PM on March 18th, 2008:

    Have you heard of the Women 2.0 Business Plan Competition? Closing date for submissions is April 1, 2008

  2. 2 James from said at 9:29 PM on March 18th, 2008:

    This is a very good article! Hang in there! All of us will benefit at the end, remember you either have a business plan or you work for someone who does.

  3. 3 Aruni said at 9:35 PM on March 18th, 2008:

    @Angie Chang – I had not heard about the Women 2.0 business plan competition. It looks interesting. I’ll definitely check it out.

    @James – thanks for the support!

  4. 4 James from said at 10:15 PM on March 18th, 2008:


    I just found this article!!! We have hope…lol Dont worry I have faith that you will get funding, You have a great concept and business model!!!

    Here you go:
    Last summer we worried that the $5 million Highland Capital and DFJ had handed over to CMI Marketing and represented some sort of market top. So what do we do now that the same investors have given the same social network another $12 million, bringing the total raise to $20 million?

    At a minimum, we need to shake our heads in awe at CafeMom’s growth trajectory: The site was launched in late 2006, and by last November was generating more page views than any other women’s site. We assume some of this traffic has been purchased, but from what we can tell CafeMom is indeed a bonafide social network with real traction. Allen Stern reports that the site is working with “Walmart, Playskool, Disney, HP, Kraft, General Mills, Nestle, Unilever, JCPenney, Johnson & Johnson and Best Buy”, selling custom campaigns for up to $500,000 a pop.

    Mandatory “Melrose Place” reference: CMI’s co-founder is Andrew Shue, best known to readers of a certain age as “Billy”.

    Here is the link.

  5. 5 entrepreMusings » I’m Apply for the Women 2.0 Napkin Business Plan Competition said at 12:02 PM on April 7th, 2008:

    […] business plan competition in California.  Thanks to Angie Chang for leaving a comment on my recent Economy and Entrepreneurs post letting me know about it.  At the time the deadline was April 1, but they’ve since […]

  6. 6 Opportunity Knocked. I Opened The Door. | entrepreMusings said at 8:31 PM on June 15th, 2008:

    […] 2008.  By end of March and early April (because I’ve raised funds before and could see the writing on the wall) it became clear to me this was not going to happen right now for a variety of reasons […]