Because it takes more than funding…. How can we get there?

By August 17, 2016 Thoughts No Comments
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I think the most exhausting experience in building my company has been poor advice and time wasted thinking there were people out there who write checks for people to start companies.  We’ve since learned there are 3 types of investors.

While amazingly and with gratitude, friends and family will be your first investors.  And for them, it’s not the same form of investment structure you would give a typical investor.   So these people have to believe in you 1,000%.  They have to go the extra mile to refer you and cheer on your wins.  If you ask them for something small, whether it’s a tweet or an introduction, they deliver without complaint.   Thank you for your support!  

The second is what we traditionally think of as investors.  The people who will write checks for what you’re doing if they can see a path to profit and if they understand your why this will work.  Note: THEY.   These investors are going to be experienced in making money the way they have been in the past.  They don’t give two buckets about your experience or what you’ve validated.  They aren’t interested in being more or less profitable.  They want to fit you in a box, rather than building a house with you.   To me, it’s almost like starting a new company.   If it has to be on their terms and in the way that they’ve done it in the past rather than what’s best for your business, success and vision; it’s not a good match for us at all.

After 2.5 years of building this company, I’ve become grotesquely disgusted by the thought of the latter type of investors.  There’s a visceral reaction at the notion that I have to compromise or do something I don’t want to do because some investor is used to making money a specific way.   I get disgusted by the guy who talks exit before making profits.  The same guy who tells me I can license and sell it outright to X company for $2 million dollars.  This is usually the same guy who never read the business plan or heard the long term vision and truly doesn’t care about what we care about.  I rarely waste 2 minutes on these people, but throughout this short time I’ve been building this company, it’s compounded to the point that my eyes glaze over and I can quickly identify these types of people by the failures of their past and how they often speak of limits rather than possibilities.

Did you know that there are people who are good at raising money and nothing else? I didn’t set out to be that person.  I set out to be the person that provides 10 times the initial investment.  I set out to build a company with a team of people that could make the world say YES! I set out to offer true value to people and the businesses that work with us.  We work as a team because we work!  We want to harvest what we plant and plant good things.

I didn’t build this company and set out on this journey to fail.  Failure simply happens while you are learning and growing.  I didn’t do it as a get rich quick scheme.  I did it to build a multi-billion dollar company capable of existing in 100 years and being the life-long and generational partner of those who believe what we believe.

The truth is, I know that we can’t do it alone forever.  I know eventually, we will need some form of financial investors to scale, but right now, I have nothing to lose by rejecting fiscal fundraising help.  Seriously.  I actually have everything to gain from rejecting it right now.  The reason is simple.  I want to build a profitable company that creates products and services that people will use and derive benefit from daily.  Not a ponzi scheme and definitely not a give me $5 million so you can tell the NY Times you care about poor people, make sure the photo is of the black people, not your true market of the 150+ million people (less than 17% black) that live paycheck to paycheck who I underpay salaries for to begin with; just so I can sleep better at night.  

This company has always been about empowering people.  I’m not in the business of boxing peoples potential to make for a neat selling close.  So it’s going to take more than a check and a photo opportunity.  It’s going to take the third type of investor, the Stretch Investor.

It’s going to take someone who is in alignment with what we are about and our vision.  It’s going to take everyday people who are committed to their personal success and a brighter future to put politics aside and invest in a profitable venture that will create jobs and wealth building opportunities for the millions of Americans that are under-employed.   It’s going to take mentors and advisors who actually do mentor and give advice, who give introductions, and who don’t sugar coat what’s necessary for our company to advance to the next level.  It’s going to take people who can help navigate government systems and financial systems to create viable solutions and implement them -or- simply people who will pick up the phone or write their local congressman and neighbors.   It’s going to take a Stretch investor.  Someone who believes we are the change we want to see in the world and we simply invest in the people first and the people that will get us there.  The people build the house and the people should be compensated as such.  

I’ve never been motivated by the money, always the change.   Since we are living in times of layoffs and underemployment, I know that many people are too narrowly focused to part with the funds necessary to invest in their commitment to eat better and save more or to live a Stretch Recipes Lifestyle.

This is why we build the tools and services necessary to empower them to implement changes.  This is why we started with stretch.  We wanted to know the true elasticity right down to ingredients, empower people to shop and cook at home weekly, and to measure and track the food data to better serve peoples health.  We wanted to give people better buying power.  We wanted to be food as prescription for people who struggle with can’t eats.  We wanted to do away with paper coupons and do away with food waste to better support the planet.   We wanted to do this with what seemed to be the more than obvious solution to multiple large systemic problems affecting everyone.  Most importantly, we want it for ourselves!

However, while we have a track record for completing projects and a team (and partnerships) whose egos thrive on simply being great at what they bring to a project, we have not been able to obtain investor confidence enough to fund the project before its completion.   Therefore, we find ourselves where we are today.

Today we offer supplemental pre-tax health plans that pay people directly in the event of a health or accidental emergency.  People don’t have the ability to save today for a multitude of reasons and when met with unfortunate circumstances, they can quickly find themselves in worst health or financially bankrupt.  We all pay the cost when someone goes bankrupt.  We work with companies to offer these plans so that deductions come directly from payroll checks.

This is how we will self-fund our company to finish building stretch, getting it to market, and get to our first milestone of having $5 million in assets to create additional low cost products to prevent financial catastrophes and support people with cash when they need it most.  This is how we get to a team that’s focused full-time on the problem rather than diverted attention focused on rent, student loans, and paying for the next meal.  When our team is paid to focus full-time on the company, the company creates change.

We are growing up to be the preferred partner when it comes to the cross-section of food and finances. We plan on having a lot of fun in the process and hope that you will join us when we have a definitive date for our equity based opportunity in October.  It will be the last time we ask for outside funding.  However, we are excited to extend the wealth building opportunity to the community!

Thank you again for your support.  To best support us now would be to connect us with companies in Texas and California with a minimum of 10 employees that would be interested in our no cost to the business supplemental health benefit offerings.  These introductions, if led to a relationship will allow us to have the funds necessary to keep going and get to a healthy cash flow.   If we can serve 52 companies within the next year, we will throw a Live Chef event and every person who facilitated a meeting will be the guests of honor!  😀

 

Thank you for reading and joining us!

Speak soon,

Lauren Foster

 

 

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