October 6th, 2021
Tony Shu is one of the co-founders of HiHome, a platform that matches homes with buyers’ specific criteria and allows buyers to organize and compare options with specific data points. As a member of prestigious institutions like Harvard and Forbes 30 Under 30, Tony has had incredible opportunities to participate and learn from strong startup communities. Tony and HiHome still, however, ran into one of the hardest challenges for any startup: raising venture capital. By leveraging OnePager and participating in the Investor Day newsletter, Tony was able to close out over 50% of his pre-seed fundraise and get back to focusing on building HiHome.
HiHome, as Tony and his co-founder, James, put it is the fastest way to find your dream home. During their time at Harvard - James as an MBA candidate and Tony as an undergrad with a special concentration on urban studies - they found an inefficiency in the discovery and comparison process for home buyers. Following in the footsteps of great Harvard entrepreneurs, they set out to solve the problem.
The operations of running a startup are hard. The simple theory of finding a problem within a specific market and building a product or service that addresses that problem is fun, but everything in between can be overwhelming and scary. This is applicable to nothing more so than going out to fundraise. As a founder, you look for every opportunity available to gain access to a network of investors that can support you on your mission.
Around the time that Tony was heading out to fundraise, a pitch competition was being held by leaders of the Yale & Harvard Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. Taking a page from the aforementioned “every opportunity available” playbook, Tony knew they had to participate. The Open Scout sponsored event went incredibly well. As finalists, they had the opportunity to pitch in front of top tier investors, met with the other entrepreneurs from their own community, and, most importantly, were exposed to a great tool called OnePager.
While the pitch competition went well, Tony did not raise his full round from there. He and James continued to leverage their existing networks and talked to as many investors as they could, and while they were able to get a few signed term sheets and raise almost $200,000, they were still well short of their $400,000 target. Tony had a massive problem that many founders encounter when fundraising:
How do I get my story in front of enough investors that believe in what we’re doing?
Tony’s issue of distribution is one of the most difficult parts of fundraising. After a founder extends their network as far as it can go, they’re on their own to look for new connections that can either invest directly or make another connection to someone who can. This process takes over 100% of a founder’s time and is mentally crippling, most outreach ending up with a negative response, if any response at all.
The OnePager Investor Day newsletter solves this issue for founders. Our team has done the networking for you by curating a group of ~750 investors that are actively looking to invest in the companies we share. Every two weeks, we group around 20 of the top companies on OnePager and share them with that investor network. Ensuring that these impressive companies get the exposure they need to fundraise.
For Tony and the HiHome team, this was a perfect combination of preparation meeting opportunity: they already used OnePager to consolidate and share all of their fundraising information and a newsletter was heading out in a couple of days. On top of that, because Tony had dedicated so much time to building his company’s story in OnePager, he was highlighted in the newsletter by Noah Friedman, an investor at Loeb.nyc as a great investment opportunity:
Home searching is both a necessary evil and a guilty pleasure for many. The filters on most of the popular sites leave something to be desired, and the process of moving from search to action is far from perfect. With the massive changes in where people want to live as a result of COVID and the increasingly hot market for real estate tech (see Better.com SPAC), this feels like a good bet. Also love the unit economics if they're even close to real...
The Investor Day newsletter opportunity, and Noah’s subsequent write-up, brought HiHome in front of some of the world’s top venture capital investors. like M13, Scribble Ventures, and NextGen Venture Partners. A few weeks after letting us know how many conversations had stemmed from the newsletter, Tony reached out to the OnePager team:
HiHome is officially closing our pre-seed round this week with ~1/2 of the investors coming through OnePager's Investor Day -- woohoo!
Our goal at OnePager is to reduce barriers for founders so that they can focus on building their business. While the products and features may change, or the use case switches from fundraising to recruiting, the north star of building for founders remains the same. The Investor Day newsletter helps founders get their company’s story in front of a network of the world’s top investors in one fell swoop.
Want to read more success stories from Investor Day? Read how Nelson Mills sourced a $6m deal (led by Ashton Kutcher!)
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