Raising a Series A is hard for a founder. Especially when you consider they’re usually doing it for the first time, while the VCs on the other side of the table are essentially professional negotiators getting pitched and doing deals every day.
So to help give founders a leg up Justin Kan’s new legal tech startup Atrium is launching a program to help founders become better fundraisers.
Called Atrium Academy, the free two-day program pairs new founders with seasoned entrepreneurs and VCs to learn best tips on negotiation, building demand and a narrative and raising in general. It’s almost like YC’s startup school, but instead of bringing in enterprising students and convincing them to start a company Atrium is bringing in established companies and helping them raise a Series A or first major round of funding.
The startup ran a trial program last month and had 130 applications that were whittled down to 12 founders from around the world who flew in for the program. While there’s no set number of how many the program will accept, Kan made it clear that founders had to be running successful companies that was on track to soon raise a round.
Accepted founders were able to spend time in office hours with VCs from firms like Accel, General Catalyst and Initialized Capital and also see presentations and fireside talks from entrepreneurs who have had success raising Series A rounds.
Startups also were able to meet with Atrium’s lawyers for counseling and legal preparation specifically for the financing process. All attendees also receive discounted legal services if they choose to use Atrium as their law firm. Of course some may say that this is all just a lead generation tactic to get more companies using Atrium as their lawyer when they decide to raise a Series A.
Kan didn’t totally dismiss this idea – instead saying that it’s more realistically “very indirect lead generation”. Certaintly Atrium won’t be able to sign up all of these companies – some may already have lawyers from a seed round, and other may never end up raising or just decide not to use Atrium. But Kan sees the program as a great way to build goodwill for his company while at the same time getting to help the startup ecosystem in general, regardless of how much direct payback it results in.
Atrium plans on hosting four batches a year going forward, with the first being January 18th, 2017. Applications are open now.