Mike Slaats

How we raised $200,000 (after our investor left the table)

raised

Back in 2015, long before I started working on my current business Upvoty, I was working on a product called Vindy which was basically a home improvement platform where we generated leads from homeowners which we then sold to local contractors. At some point, we were doing pretty ok, I think we were around $5,000 MRR (monthly recurring revenue) with just a small team of 4, and so, we were growing, steady, but we had limited resources to really scale the platform.

Made the connection with an Angel Investor on LinkedIn

One day I was reading an article of a guy from my hometown and this interview stated that he just sold all of his shares from the company he was working for and he didn’t quite know what to do next. And I was also pretty inspired by his story because he scaled that company big time. So, I connected with him on LinkedIn and send him a message:

“Hey, I’ve read your article in the magazine, congrats, are you up for a cup of coffee someday?”

And after a couple of days, I got a reply back saying that he would love to meet me.

So, we scheduled a meeting at our office, and I, obviously, prepared some sheets with information about our product, because, being the guy he is, he would definitely ask about it.

Office Meeting Room
The exact meeting room of our office back then, where I met with the investor.

He left the table…

On the given day, he visited our office, and I asked him how he drinks his coffee. He wanted an espresso, the Italian way he said because that’s where he had lived for a couple of years prior to his return to Holland, and a little cookie on the side.

So, after I got him that Italian coffee, we sat down and he immediately asked about our product. And so, I pulled out my iPad and started showing him some sheets I prepared with the numbers. And I kid you not after we were done, he said: “I know enough, I’ll be in touch” and, he left the table. With that Italian coffee and cookie untouched.

Now, I really didn’t know what to think of it, it was my first time talking to an angel investor, and I didn’t know if this was positive at all, but, somehow, it felt good.

The email that changed it all

The next morning, I got an email from him. We had to send over our financial reports to his accountant.

And so we did.

After a couple of days, he called me. He wanted to meet me again.

So he came by, and again, he wanted an espresso, I didn’t have the nerves to ask him if he, this time, stayed long enough to actually drink it haha.

But he did. We sat down and he made his proposal clear to me: He wanted to invest $15,000, which was nothing, I mean, we were heading towards $8,000 a month, and I thought, what do we need to do with $15,000, right? So he then explained what he wanted to do.

$200,000 investment proposal

We would get this $15,000 with zero interest because he just wanted to see what we can do with such a small amount of money and how we would spend it.

He said: “If you can show me growth, I will put in an extra $200,000 next”.

So, obviously, my team and I were pretty blown away and we immediately started planning how we would spend this money. Luckily, we had a pretty smart girl on board who came up with the plan to invest this money in just a really small section of our marketplace scope. We served all kinds of contractors such as painters, plumbers, landscapers, etc. in all regions of Holland and Belgium, and so her plan was to only invest this money in painters in just a small region of Holland. This way, we would maximize the potential of the ROI (Return On Investment) and we could really look at the data and see what such an investment could do for our revenue.

And it did work out. And so we got our $200,000 investment from the angel investor and we managed to scale our monthly recurring revenue from around $8,000 to a mindblowing $50,000 because of it.

“I’m really glad I found this ship”

When we reached that milestone, I asked him to go out for dinner, just to thank him for his trust in us.

So, when we sat down in the restaurant, I couldn’t help but ask him why he took the chance on us, especially giving us the $15,000 basically for free.

And so he said: “From the moment I met you and your team, and I saw how well everything was documented, and how well the product was built, I was already convinced. To me, he said, the product was validated and so was the team, and if both are on point, I’m just really glad I found a ship to be on board with”.