Bridges Need Blueprints

Over the last year, I’ve observed a recurring pattern:

Unfinished highway bridges, Czech republic

  • A pre-revenue (or low-revenue) start-up pitches an exciting new product or service. The start-up asks for a seed investment, with a budget showing that the new capital will provide approximately 18 months of runway. Projections show the start-up achieving target metrics for revenue, active users, customers, or the like within a year. After those milestones are reached, the start-up plans to raise additional financing at a significantly higher valuation.
  • The team is impressive, the market seems substantial, and due diligence indicates that potential customers are eager to work with the start-up. Investors invest.
  • 15 months later, the start-up is back. Everything is going great — but the software development scheduled slipped and the pilot customer loves the product but can’t make a decision on a purchase because of a management transition. The company’s success is inevitable. It just needs more time — and, therefore, more capital. Would the initial investors please provide a “bridge” investment?

My question is always “A bridge to where, exactly?”

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