The Danger of Raising Too Much Capital

Raising too much money can be just as dangerous as not raising enough

Imagine this… you've just raised a massive round of funding for your startup.

You're ecstatic, and you feel like you're on top of the world!

But what if I told you that this could be the beginning of the end for your company?

As entrepreneurs, we often fall into the trap of thinking that more money will solve all our problems.

We believe that if we just had a little more cash, we could hire more people, expand into new markets, and grow our businesses faster than ever before.


Getting caught up in the hype of big funding rounds is easy. We see other startups raising millions of dollars and think we must do the same to keep up.

But the truth is, raising too much money can be just as dangerous as not raising enough.

On today’s episode of the Startup Hustle podcast, I interviewed Dave Hersh about why startups get stuck and the pitfalls of raising too much venture funding.

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The Problem with Overfunding

When you raise too much money, it's easy to lose focus on what really matters: building a sustainable, profitable business.

You might start throwing money at problems instead of taking the time to find creative solutions.

You might hire too many people too quickly, leading to a bloated team and a burn rate that's impossible to sustain.

After we sold my first company for $150M, I self-funded my second company for the first few years.

I learned firsthand how easy it is to throw money at problems and not solve them.

Keeping writing checks was easier than facing the facts and solving hard problems. I also had a burn rate that was much higher than it should be.

When you are lean and scrappy, you have to solve problems to survive instead of throwing money at them.

Money buys you time to help solve problems. This can be a blessing… and a curse if you don’t solve them.

The Dangers of Premature Scaling

One of the biggest risks of raising too much money is the temptation to scale too quickly.

When you have a lot of cash in the bank, it's easy to think that you need to grow as fast as possible to justify your valuation or raise another round.

But scaling prematurely can be a recipe for disaster.

Dave Hersh mentioned in the podcast that many startups try to scale before they're ready.

Here are the common mistakes:

  • Hiring too many people

  • Expanding into too many products, markets or verticals

  • Spreading yourself too thin

When you are trying to grow crazy fast, it is easy to try and do too many things. There are too many experiments happening at one time.

This can lead to a lack of focus, a dilution of your company's core strengths, and, ultimately, failure.

The Power of Staying Lean

So, what's the alternative?

Instead of raising too much money too early, focus on staying lean and disciplined.

Keep your team small and nimble, and stay close to your customers. Use your resources wisely and only raise money when absolutely necessary.

Dave Hersh put it best when he said:

Raise when it's irresponsible not to.

In other words, only seek funding when you've already proven your business model and need the extra cash to keep up with demand.

Raising money should be a strategic decision, not a default choice.

At my first company, we were in this exact same situation. We were growing faster than we could keep up with the demand.

Unfortunately, we were in the middle of the 2008-2009 recession and couldn’t raise money. We had to bootstrap it the whole way!

Raising Capital Insights

When should a startup raise big VC funding?

My first company was the perfect candidate for it. We were growing 100% in revenue year over year. If we could have raised funding when we were around $5-10M ARR, it would have been a game changer to help us scale.

Raising too much money can be a dangerous trap for startups.

It can lead to poor decision-making, premature scaling, and, ultimately, failure.

Unfortunately, I have also fallen into the trap of throwing money at problems and having a burn rate that is too high.

I have seen both sides of this dilemma.

As entrepreneurs, we need to be disciplined and strategic about when and how much we raise.

Actionable Insights:

1. Focus on building a sustainable, profitable business before seeking big funding rounds.

2. Stay lean and nimble, and only hire when absolutely necessary.

3. Raise money strategically when it's essential to support genuine growth and demand.

Sometimes, the key to success is staying focused, disciplined, and true to your startup's core strengths.

There is nothing wrong with being lean and scrappy.

“Mo money mo problems” also exists in startups.

Season 4 Michael GIF by The Office


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