How Analisa Goodin Raised Over $31 Million in Funding for Catch+Release (Analisa Goodin / Catch+Release)

By Jason Yeh
July 2, 2024
57
min
Listen on Apple Podcasts

How Analisa Goodin Raised Over $31 Million in Funding for Catch+Release (Analisa Goodin / Catch+Release)

When all you've ever known is running a bootstrapped startup... the world of venture capital can feel pretty intimidating. Bootstrapping a company is an extreme sport, and so is going down the path of venture capital - but each path is completely different from one another. You might have been able to build an amazing company that you believe can be huge (with the help of venture dollars), but without understanding how the game of venture capital actually works - you're at a huge disadvantage. Today's guest Analisa Goodin, founder and CEO of Catch+Release knew this and decided to be proactive about it. Way before she went out to raise her first of three successful rounds, she became a relentless networker which over time, led her to conversations with VCs getting her to learn the space. Clearly, something clicked because Catch+Release has now raised over $31M in venture capital. Listen to the full episode to hear more details on her most recent rounds as well as advice she has for up-and-coming founders looking to raise capital.

Analisa Goodin
Catch+Release
Funded
Jason Yeh (host)
Sponsors
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00]

And when we raised our Series A, we got a lot of pressure from people around us to take the term sheet with the highest valuation. And I, I was really stubborn about that. I, prioritized partner over valuation.

Analisa Goodin: And in 2023, I'm so glad I did because I mean, a lot of these valuations didn't hold in the new market

Right.​

Jason Yeh: if all you've ever known is running a bootstrap startup, the world of venture capital can feel intimidating. Bootstrapping a company is really hard and you have to learn a ton to survive. Going down. The path of venture funding is equally hard, but in very different ways, it takes new skills to be successful in that arena. You might've been able [00:01:00] to build an amazing company on the first path and think to yourself with some outside capital.

This could be huge. but without understanding how the game of venture capital works. You're at a massive disadvantage.

today's guests, Annalisa, Gooden. Founder and CEO of catch and release knew this and decided to be proactive about it. Way before she went out to raise her first of three successful rounds. She became a relentless networker and student of the game of venture capital through conversations with VCs. Clearly something clicked because catch and release has now raised over $31 million in venture capital.

Annalisa strategy could be described as being pretty creative. But it didn't come out of nowhere. It was already deeply embedded into who she was from an early age.

Analisa Goodin: Yeah, I would say that, um, as a kid, I, looking back multi generations to my parents, to my parents parents, [00:02:00] I was always exposed to two different frameworks of how to see the world.

One was highly creative and the other was highly logical. Uh, my dad's a neurologist. And a mathematician, but he's also a really skilled poet. Um, so he always had these like two sides to him. My mom's a photographer, but also a very skilled architect. So really logical around space, but highly creative around vision.

Um, my grandparents were the same. A lot of artists and urban planners and academics, this kind of blend of, of creativity and logic. was really kind of at the forefront for me. I was the oldest of three kids. Um, so natural leader, I guess you could sort of say. Um, I wasn't old, older by much, just 18 months apart from my younger sibling. And

but I think I, Loved that role, um, both from a [00:03:00] leadership perspective of, you know, having responsibility from an early age, but also being the first to break the rules. I was the one that sort of defined the boundaries of what was acceptable from my parents perspective and what wasn't.

So my, my younger siblings sort of saw the mistakes I made and chose to either repeat them or, or learn from them. Um, but I, I liked, I liked being in that position. It was fun.

Jason Yeh: Yeah. And it sounds like you didn't say the words, but, um, the leadership stuff, breaking the rules, more of an extrovert than an introvert.

Analisa Goodin: Yeah. I, I definitely was very extroverted as a kid, you know, ADD, like very kind of stimulated by my surroundings, especially about by people, very social. Um, Highly distractible. Um, Yeh, Very engaged, very curious. I was a really curious person, um, especially curious about other people. People always fascinated me.

[00:04:00] Um,

Jason Yeh: dual mindsets of, of your role models, your, your dad, your mom, your grandparents. I don't want to, I don't want to put words into your mouth, but I look at your background and where you ended up going down. What, what sort of, what side of your brain you started following as you got out of high school?

Do you remember kind of where you thought as you were coming out of high school.

Analisa Goodin: Yeh, I, highly, highly creative, um, had an amazing art teacher. I was surrounded by the arts as a kid, so it wasn't, um, wasn't new to me in high school. I just had a really art teacher in high school who, um, really empowered, empowered me to think that, that that's something I could do for a living. Um, and so when I decided to go to, when I went to college, I decided to do an undergraduate in, in fine arts. Um, and I, I didn't know necessarily what that would lead to from a, from a sort of a professional career perspective. Obviously I wasn't naive in the sense that, you know, artists don't make it in [00:05:00] the art world necessarily just because they're passionate about their medium and their body of work. The art world is its own beast, in some ways, even separate from making art, being able to survive in the art world is almost a different skill entirely. and so I wasn't, I wasn't necessarily thinking about that, but I, I was, I trusted that whatever I did, as long as I was passionate about it and engaged in it, it would lead me to a place that I'd want to spend time as a career. So I was, I was, I kind of, I had a lot of trust. Um, I guess in my self and in my, um, in the path that I was on, even though I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. A contrast to that would be my husband who I've known since I was a kid actually, but we didn't get, we didn't get together until college. He always had a really specific idea of exactly what he wanted to do. He's an amazing designer and entrepreneur. Um, but he knew from, you know, freshman year of high school that that, that was what he wanted to do. Um, and I always felt a little sort of like, man, am I just like flailing around? I don't have any. I don't [00:06:00] have this sort of path that's clear. Um, is that okay with me? Do I need to find that path? And I remember being a little insecure about it sometimes, but also, also totally trusted it Um, and that led to, it really, I mean, it really was the sort of like foundation for, for myself as an entrepreneur.

It was being in that space of somewhat ambiguity, but always driven by passion and curiosity for whatever it was I was engaged in.

Jason Yeh: Yeah. And you're, you said your parents came from different backgrounds, uh, scientists and designers and architects, but it didn't sound like you had the North star of being an entrepreneur at some point, um, kind of growing up. So where, you know, where did that come from? Where, when did you start seeing yourself as maybe Venturing out on your own.

Analisa Goodin: Well, I think, I think artists are entrepreneurs. I mean, when I, I think that that became especially apparent to me when I had my first studio outside of school. So after I graduated with my BFA, I lived in Italy for a few years, studying abroad in school, came back to California, [00:07:00] graduated. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school, but there was about two or three years gap between the BFA and the, and the grad, and the grad work, um, where I had a studio in West Oakland, rad little studio where I was, you know, went every day to paint and draw and get ready for exhibitions and market my work and do all the things that we do. Very entrepreneurial. No one was setting my schedule. No one was saying, here's how you need to spend your time. It was very much up to me how I spend my time. Um, I had side hustles during that period. So I worked, um, in production as a, an image researcher, which was eventually what led to me starting Catch and Release, the company. I worked in restaurants to make, um, Um, to make some money. But I, I never looked at these jobs, these kind of side hustles as just a way to make a paycheck. I thought if I'm going to spend any time outside the studio and give someone else my time, I better be getting something in return that's bigger than just a paycheck.

So restaurants I worked in were like Michelin star restaurants. I [00:08:00] was like, I want to be in a, I want to be in a chef's studio. If I'm not in my own studio, I want to learn the art of cooking and the art of service and challenge myself. I just always wanted to be challenged. Um, and so, and I, and I also trusted that as long as I was doing something that I was curious about and that I could be compassionate about and that I was learning from. I trusted that those threads would have a place in my life in the future. I trusted that I was building a foundation for something, even if I didn't know what that foundation was going to lead to yet. I knew it was an important part of my, my own character.

Jason Yeh: That's very cool. Um, I've heard this comparison before of artists and entrepreneurs and the connection there, and as you spelled out, it totally makes sense, right? Creating a product, uh, you're thinking

about your audience, your your, consumer and what, you know, a little bit about what you

want, a little bit about what they want, and then, yeah, there's a.

Um, full cycle business to it, where you create the product, you market it, you sell it, you know, you got to learn all [00:09:00] those things.

And now I totally get that on the entrepreneurial side of things.

Now we're going to fast forward to where we like focusing, um, at Funded. And it's, it's really this idea like, yes, you were an entrepreneur as an artist.

I think you started something, um, yourself, but The gap between that and being a venture backed founder is quite large, right? Doing some, something similar, but also something quite different. I wonder if you could, um, fast forward into the timeline

around when you're thinking about this company, Catch Release, what you wanted to build.

And my first question there is, Uh,

I think you have a lot of opportunities to talk about the business Catch Release, but what I want to know is when you thought, um, I want to start this company, were you like, I want to start this company and I need to raise millions of dollars for this company. Um, did you know what it meant to, to raise capital for companies?

Like tell us, tell us a little bit about what your mindset was like, um, when you started cash and release.

Analisa Goodin: [00:10:00] Yeah, I mean, you're totally spot, you're spot on. I mean, even when I surrounded myself with other entrepreneurs, the beginning stages of building the company, I found out pretty early that the kind of support I needed from my peer group really fell into two buckets. Are you venture backed or not? And if you're not venture backed, there are some conversations we can have that are helpful, and there are a lot of conversations we can't have that I need to be having. Um, because it is just a completely different, it's a totally different journey than other forms of entrepreneurialism, no doubt. Some things are the same, right? There's a grind, there's a, there's a, you know, building something, anything in any way is hard, and there's a lot to relate to someone about on that journey, but when you add venture into it, it just, it's a whole different beast, so. I completely agree with that distinction.

Um, I didn't know anything about venture capital. Born and raised in the Bay Area. Wasn't in the tech scene though. I was in the artist scene. So I knew museum curators and directors. I didn't know VCs and [00:11:00] CEOs. Let alone engineers. Um, or even how to build, any tech at all. Um, but I had a, a total vision for the product based on spending years and years inside of customer pain in my side hustle as an artist. So I, I knew that I knew what the product needed to be, do, and I knew the customer intimately well. So that was my advantage, but I had a lot of disadvantages. I just didn't, I didn't know how the process worked.

So I was relentless, I was a relentless networker. I would take anyone out for coffee who was willing to spend 15, 20, 30 minutes with me. And I would ask them tons of questions about their background. I would ask them about their career. I would try and find patterns in how people became who they were and, and what it took to get there.

Um, it was really more of a discovery. I didn't really know what I was looking to get out of it except for validation that the business idea I had had legs. I wanted that for sure. And then what was the, getting [00:12:00] advice on what the next logical step or best action is to move my vision forward. Uh, eventually that did lead me into conversations and coffees with people who had exposure to venture. And so they, I started getting questions. Have you ever thought about raising money? Not really. What does that mean? I, you know, then learning that entire world and then eventually getting introduced to investors, having coffee dates with them and starting to learn what they're looking for, what the benefits of raising venture are, and what, what they, what they required from an entrepreneur to even, you know, part ways with 500, 000 or a million dollars or, you know, Even 50,

Jason Yeh: Yeah, I'd love to pause you right there because I thought we might go in a different direction, but I think this is really important for people to hear you describe this part of your journey. Because, um, the first thing I'll ask you is when you started in this like sort of information gathering phase.

of your company building. Do you, do you remember how much time you were spending in this [00:13:00] phase? And, and was it, was it this anxiety to get through this phase where you're just like, look, I'm going to spend as much time here as I need to. Do you, do you remember that?

Analisa Goodin: I do remember it, but I was straddling it with actually building the company.

I was already building the company, not the product, um, but the company. So I was providing a service to my customers. I was really busy. I was starting to build a team of people who were helping me service my customers. And, and what I was doing in the background was learning what. All of the steps were that my customers were taking in the process of servicing their, their needs and starting to catalog those in a way that a product could ultimately pick up as a roadmap. So I was using my own business at the time and the momentum that I had with customers as a way to feed that. The R& D of a future product I would someday build without any engineers on staff or any product people around. Um, so I couldn't spend full time fundraising. [00:14:00] It was, it was, it had to be this thing I did on the side because we had a full fledged, Business with customers that paid us. And I knew I wanted to support that business with product and ultimately build something that our customers could use on their own without hiring us. Um, and that was going to take some time longer than I ever. Would ever have anticipated, but it took some time. So my, the fundraising was a, it was not something I necessarily was trying to get through. It was something I was trying to validate was the right path for me. I had an advisor at one point say, you're at this crossroads, you could raise money or you could not raise money. You could continue to build this business as a lifestyle business. Here's where, here's what that looks like in 10 years, or you can take venture money and go down this path. It was kind of a red, red pill, blue pill moment. It really was. It's like, now this one's highly risky. You take the money, you have the opportunity to build something huge, but there's also high risk there.

So like, [00:15:00] which one is it going to be? I remember that he specifically laid it out that way. It's fascinating.

Jason Yeh: No, I think that's a really good story for people to hear. Cause, uh, you, you came from out, by your own admission, you came from outside of that world. Right. And, uh, A lot of people who are outsiders, when they get this in the head that they want to start a company and think that they want to start a venture backed company, they're very anxious to get in and like, start with money and start going and start

using the money to build things.

Um, but it's helpful to hear like what you had to do, which was like, well, look, I have a business. I'm going to keep running the business. I think I can build more of a scalable product that does what my

current business does. And I'm going to continue taking as many people out for coffee as I can. So parallel track was validating with people, Uh, I'm assuming like people that were building tech were funding tech, uh, creating the network that you need.

And then until it finally got to this [00:16:00] point where people were like, now you do have this choice of raising capital or not. And it's an amazing choice to be given because it means that you didn't have to raise capital, right? Which is

Analisa Goodin: Yes, we have.

Jason Yeh: how you were so successful in the beginning. Um, so that's a great starting point.

Um, you know, there, there are a lot of questions I have, um,

Analisa Goodin: There's a downside to that

though, I will say.

There's a, there's another side of that coin. So on the one side, yeah, you make that sound so great in retrospect, like, why wouldn't you go out and, you And prove, prove a market and make money doing it.

And then decide if you want to raise money, the other side of that coin, when you start to learn more about venture is the revenue that you're generating as a service doesn't really matter much in the, in the minds of the VC.

So I had problem solution fit. I had a clear, there was a clear market. There were clear customers, but I had no product yet. And so despite the fact that I think I went out to raise my seed round and the, and the company had done maybe a million dollars in revenue. [00:17:00] Sounds impressive. Um, Got a lot of first meetings with that, with that top line. but that's not enough for the VCs. Not all of them wanted to take a risk on a pre product company, right? So it's, it was, it was sort of, you become dependent somewhat in some ways on the revenue that you're generating too, it's not, it wasn't like we could just turn it off and say, okay, thank you very much.

Million dollars. That was fun. Thanks for helping us out. Now we're going to take our margin and just apply it with some VC to a product and ditch all the customers that work with us over there. You actually have to sort of like. You actually have to bridge the gap, and that is a, that is a hard, expensive, and fraught with landmines process that not a lot of VCs in the early days wanted to bet on.

Jason Yeh: Yeah. It's, you know, it's kind of a damned if you're, damned if you don't scenario.

Analisa Goodin: Totally.

Jason Yeh: And people are like, well, no, we want you to, we want you to validate. We want you to get traction and

revenue. And then you give them the wrong type of revenue. You're like, well,

Analisa Goodin: [00:18:00] Yep. Exactly. It's so true. It's so

true. It's

Jason Yeh: you know, I think hearing that nothing's easy, right. Is, is maybe one of the

takeaways. Um, we'll, we'll get back to some of the. Landmines that you talk about and stuff along the way. Um, but suffice to say, we'll look at crunch base. You were able to raise that initial round of capital and then multiple rounds after that.

Um, and so there's like a lot that you've learned along the way. Um, I think. Where I want to spend, we could, if we, if we pulled apart every single one of your rounds, like, you know, we could be here for a couple hours. Um, but maybe for now, what we'll say is that you raised your first round and I believe something like 2017 or 16

Analisa Goodin: 2018.

Uh, it's 2018.

Yeh.

Jason Yeh: Um, and then you had two big rounds, at least announced over the last three years in some of the more interesting times to raise capital.

[00:19:00] So, um, where I'd like to fast forward you to is there's, there's a round that was announced and it's always impossible to kind of tell when this happened versus when it was announced.

The announced date was August 8th of 2023, which is kind of right in the middle of a very challenging. Time for fundraising. Um, and at least what was announced was nearly $9 million. Um, and, and so I'd like to hear a little bit about, man, five years has passed since you raised your first round of capital.

Um, you're, you have a very similar period of time to what we've

initially described, which is at some point you're running the company and you're like, well. We need to raise money again, or we need to go raise money. Can you tell us around what time that was and what was going on in the company? What was hitting your head fast forwarded into around 2023 where you were like, well, we need to raise capital.

Analisa Goodin: Well, we had raised our [00:20:00] Series A in 2021. That was our first major round. We'd done seed round. We'd done a post seed round. We were working with, um, many investors that we still work with today.

So that's a whole nother topic, which is, you know, who do you take money from?

And Elisa touched on something very real here, which is just because you have a successful service with revenue. Doesn't mean VCs will automatically think you'll be able to create a successful product. If you don't already have a product, you have to get investors excited about the incredible opportunity and convince them. That you're the team to do it. When we come back, Annalisa touches on power dynamics and the time she turned down a term sheet that would have been a death sentence for her and her company.

[00:21:00]

Analisa Goodin: we were given a term sheet in [00:22:00] 20. 15 from a major private equity firm, uh, for 3 million, we had 60, 000 in revenue at the time, um, and we turned it down, because the terms were audacious and, I got really good advice from one of my advisors that this was, uh, basically suicide if we took this money. Um, so tempting to do, but also be very skeptical too. Not only of the terms, but of who you work with. So we've been really fortunate that when we, when we look at, the time period between raising our Series A and the round we raised last year, a lot of the same investors, we got new investors as well, but we have continual support from our investors throughout the journey of our raises. And that's a testament to us, I think for sure, but it's also a testament to them. As an entrepreneur, you have to remember, you're always. You're always in control of who you raise money from. You, I mean, in, in one way VCs are one of the most highly commoditized places, right? [00:23:00] Everybody's got money. So who do you want to, who do you want to take money from?

And it's kind of remembering that you do have that power. You do have that agency. Raising money can be hard and sometimes your options might be limited, but you always have the option of saying no and figure, figuring out something else, especially if, if you think somebody is not going to be great to work with. So we've always been very, we've always been really picky about that. we raised our Series A from Accel. chose Accel. We did have options. Chose Accel because the partner, he and I really hit it off. Still have a wonderful relationship. They participated in the, in the round a few years later in 23. and we, once we raised our Series A, we knew the trajectory we were on. We knew what we wanted to build and what we were going to try and bring to market. And so raising money is, until you you're, you know, beyond the stages of product market fit and you're optimizing the business and getting to cashflow break even or, or positive. You're kind of as an entrepreneur, always looking at, you know, uh, how much time do we have before we're out of cash? When do I need to [00:24:00] raise my next round? And, and that's, those are, that's some, that's a bit of like, it can be very kind of hand, it can feel a little bit like handcuffs sometimes because raising money doesn't, Translate directly to how am I delivering customer value? it's it's really a way to get to the next milestone as a business, but the most important revenue comes from customers. So it's a, it's a, I think a lot of times we've, because of how hard fundraising can be, we feel this massive sense of accomplishment after we raise a round and we should. We should feel validated in that moment by really smart people. But you also have to remember like, but that's not really what we're building. We're not building a money, a company to raise money. We're building a company to serve customers. So those are the metrics that really matter. Um, not the, not the fundraising success.

Jason Yeh: Right, right. But, okay. And, and I totally agree with that. And you know, one of the things that I observe in your timing is you raised your Series A in 2021, which. Might've been some of the headiest times of venture capital, uh, [00:25:00] times when access to, to very, um, inexpensive capital sort of fueled this way of building businesses that were like even much more about top line growth, you know, get it out there, we'll figure out unit economics later.

And then all of a sudden the market shifts and you've got to go. You've got to go raise having built a company a certain way. And by the way, I'm just kind of like

reading the tea leaves. And so I'd love to hear a little bit about this idea of like, yes, you're always running your company and you know, you have your eye on cash out and runway.

And there is this time when people are like, Ooh, I'm looking at things and we got to go raise. What was going through your head in kind of late 2022 and 2023.

Analisa Goodin: We had launched a product. I'd built it. So we raised the series a, I built a completely new exec team, brought on how to

finance, brought on a head of product engineering. I was, you know, we were going [00:26:00] for it, brought on, like, started thinking about, you know, go to market and, um, spent all of 2022 building.

Building, shipping, building, shipping, getting customers to come in and beat up on the product and give us their feedback. And we were seeing great growth. We went from zero to 900, 000 and three quarters, and we were feeling great. And we entered Q1 of 23 with the.

With the idea of raising a Series B, um, and SVB crashed, everything started to crash, uh, and it became, and to your point, the sensitivities around what traction meant changed right under us.

It wasn't just about the growth, it wasn't just about incredible growth, it was about unit economics, it was about if you're gonna raise in this environment, here's what we have to see. So, we We were, we, we, we went out and talked, we had hundreds of conversations with VCs. No one knew [00:27:00] what their ability to write a check was.

I mean, it was, it was tumultuous.

It was tumultuous. So, scary times.

So we, we were, you know, I had really sober conversations with my board, um, and my advisors and my team and spent a lot of time just talking to people and saying, what do you think? What, I mean, what are the chances of raising a series B right now? And for the most part, reality set in and, you know, Everybody said it's pretty low. You might want to start thinking about some alternative options. And so we, we decided to reset our expectations, um, focus on, focus on our unit economics, just from a business efficiency standpoint, just making sure we were running a solid business ourselves that we felt we could justify. And then we reduced the amount we went out to raise. We changed the profile of the people we were talking to. we changed the letter of the round from B to kind of like A prime. And we, we went for it and didn't really turn back. I will say, I'm grateful for one thing when we, when [00:28:00] we raised in 21, like you said, heady time of the market, also for valuations. And when we raised our Series A, we got a lot of pressure from people around us to take the term sheet with the highest valuation. And there was quite a fluctuation in valuations. And I, I was really stubborn about that. I, I prioritized partner over valuation. I said, I really, I get it like less dilutive, better valuation, but don't totally jive with the partner.

Not quite sure I want to build with that person. I'm going to, I'm going to go this way instead. And in 2023, I'm so glad I did because we, I mean, a lot of these valuations didn't hold in the new market. Right. and that put founders and founding teams, and they're all of their, Shareholders in a really, really tough spot from a down round perspective and otherwise.

So that's another part of this that's just, you know, values change and you have to, you've got to be sober with yourself [00:29:00] about what you think you're worth. You have to be able to justify looking at your business, what you think, what you think you really can do and grow into.

Jason Yeh: Yeah, I mean, that's uh, it's cool that you made a A very good decision, but maybe not necessarily where you thought a lot of it would come into play. You, you picked a partner who, who in some ways people might've been like, is, is not really giving you the best deal,

but a very, uh, a very good lesson to learn. Um, and you know, I wanted to kind of wrap up this part of the conversation and say like, when. I was working alongside founders raising capital in 2023. A lot of what you described was

happening to everyone, right? The, the rules of engagement were kind of shifting outside, like outside of people's controls.

Expectations were moving underneath people's feet. Right. It was like six months prior, this is what people expected and what people were pushing you to do. And then all of a sudden it's like, well, no, not that anymore. And so my, my experience is that [00:30:00] like, there were a lot of tough conversations, a lot of things that felt real shitty along the way.

And so, um, do any stories come out, uh, like come to mind for you of like, especially raising this last round, what were some of the hardest times for you, either conversations or experiences that you can share?

Analisa Goodin: Um, yeah, I would say you really, so when you, when you get familiar with raising money and you've raised multiple rounds and you've worked with VCs and you get a feel for the process, you sort of start to understand, you Pick up on where you're getting real signal, like real buy signals from somebody. If they're really kind of leaning in and spending a lot of time with you, and bringing other partners to the table to have conversations, you start to kind of pick up you're looking for, you know, signals.

And so you're looking for a certain sense of urgency, there's a bit of a game. Played back and forth between the entrepreneur and the VC of, you know, how a little kind of a scarcity mindset and there's a lot of interest. So you've got to act quickly. There's, there's a lot of that. And it's, there's a dance [00:31:00] between the two and both sides know that there's the dance is happening.

So it's not, you know, it's, it's unspoken, unspoken rules of the, of the game. Um, in 2023, none of those signals were. All those signals were there, but they didn't, they weren't actually buy signals.

So VCs had all the time in the world. Like they didn't, nobody was writing checks. So they were first, they had to bring something to their LPs on a quarterly basis.

And that was Intel and data. And here's how many companies we spoke to in the last three months. And here's what we learned about them. Here's the data we got about them and what they're working on, what they're focused on and where we think the market's going. So entrepreneurs are just feeding VCs tons of info in the first half of 2023 with no intention of a check ever being written. That went as far as I had a partner meeting scheduled with a very well known VC firm. I'd been talking to a partner there. She brought in a more senior person. Everything was following the process. And The partner [00:32:00] meeting was scheduled and then canceled the day of the meeting.

Jason Yeh: Jesus.

Analisa Goodin: So it's just stuff like that happened and it was just, so there's shifting expectations, but then shifting tactics too. That's just, yeah. So, so I think it was really like a return to. What do I, what do I, what do I have that's solid? My relationships are solid. My board members are solid. The VCs I've raised from are solid. How do I, where's the ground that this company is standing on and how do I leverage that in this moment?

Became, and then, and then it was about finding new people too. We raised, um, we raised half of the round from a completely new, very well respected investor and then ended up raising a little bit more a few months. After that from a customer. So yeah, it was tough.

It was, it was a, it was a tough, it was a tough year and you just, and then SVB crashed in the middle of that too.

[00:33:00] So just a lot of uncertainty. And as an entrepreneur, you're not only focused on fundraising, you're also building a business. You're leading a team of people. So there was, there was great lessons in how to maintain composure, uh, during a time that otherwise was just a complete shit show.

Jason Yeh: Yeh. I mean I think the feeling of being strung along and then

Analisa Goodin: Yeah,

Jason Yeh: partner meetings cancelled and I think the

whole time like people, founders had people whispering in their ears like people aren't writing checks, this is bad and so you start having that like, that, that, that

That persona of fear like started coming out and that's not what you want when you're fundraising and you know, having people say like, I bet you they're not actually interested in having those final partner meetings canceled.

That's got to like gut you, right? That's got to feel terrible. And I don't want to

leave you. Yeah. I don't want to leave you stewing in that because you got past that. Right. And so the other

side of the coin that I, I like trying to At least highlight is [00:34:00] at some point you find this new investor, this very respected investor who's willing to

take, you know, at what ended up being half the round.

Um, do you remember where you were when, when that investor like either sent you the term sheet or gave you the word, like they were going to commit to this round?

Analisa Goodin: I do. Yeah, I do. I was sitting on a bench inside an office in New York at a customer meeting and they had just gotten off the phone with one of my board members, um, and. As a due diligence call and he called me and said, they're in, I mean, they're going to call you in about half an hour, but like, they're fully intending to participate in the round.

Jason Yeh: Dang. What'd that feel like?

Analisa Goodin: yeah, it was amazing. It was great. It was fantastic. And you know, it was, it was, you just, oh man, you, you can never. You used the word gutted. Great word. Um, that is how you feel, right? You do feel gutted after getting rejected or getting strung along. Like none of these things feel [00:35:00] good, but you can't, you're, you're also a salesperson and you can't let your past failures jeopardize your future successes. So you have to get on the next pitch and be just as energized and just as passionate and just as optimistic about the future and why what you're building is inevitable and that has to come through. that's one of those skills just like waiting tables at a Michelin star restaurant that even post this company. I mean, I'm bringing those skills as a parent. I have two young kids. Like, sometimes I'll go through situations where I'm just like, how do I get through this situation? This is like, so frustrating and hard. And I just remember, like, no, I've been building this like, core ab muscle of just total, of like, total resilience. Like I've been working that out for like five years. I got this, like I'm gonna figure it out. Um, so it's, and so then when it does pay off, when all of that work does pay off and somebody does say like, yeah, we're in, it's, it's just, it's [00:36:00] fabulous. And especially when they're good people, when you're excited about working with them and they, they see you, it's a very, like you feel very seen in that moment.

It's, that's awesome.

Great.

Jason Yeh: I'm, I'm

Analisa Goodin: And then it's back to

Jason Yeh: then it's

back to crap. Now we got to work,

Analisa Goodin: And then it's back to building. And then it's like, oh shit, I gotta spend this money now. Do I, you know, how am I gonna do that? What am I doing here? What's the plan? Do I have the right team? Like, you have the, then it's like, you think the hard part's over and actually that's just like permission to begin.

Jason Yeh: It's, it's always day one, you know, it's like, it continues to be day one over and

over again. You want to make progress. And then the time, uh, the

timer resets, um, look,

and at least that's, uh, been a, quite a ride for catch and release and, um, congratulations on getting that round, uh, raised. And you know, I look back on.

The different rounds that were raised in 2023. And I, and I feel like the companies, it was a really hard time to raise capital and the companies that were actually able to get that done tend to be some of the best ones. Right. And while you [00:37:00] might've at some point thought you wanted to raise two to three times that much, if it were a typical series B, I think you might look back on what that reset, um, did for you.

And it might end up being a huge blessing in disguise. So,

I'm, I'm excited to kind of see where Catch and Release goes. When we, when we end these, um, these,

conversations, I always like to ask a fun question, but Catch and Release is, is working on helping people access content and license it, you know, just in time or whenever they need it.

um, any stories about the weirdest or funniest pieces of content that have been License on the catch and release platform. Anything that you can share that PG 13, maybe.

Analisa Goodin: Um, yeah, absolutely. I mean, there's, there's lots. Um, well, I will say we, we did license a piece of content once for a, for, for a brand, a large healthcare brand. And it [00:38:00] was a video that. We'd found on YouTube of a woman, of a man proposing to a woman, and he was a paraplegic. So he was in a wheelchair, and he proposed to his, his fiancé, and she said yes, since he's captured on film. And, uh, our customer wanted to license it, and we You know, we create, we've created this marketplace as you, as you suggested for licensing and we often end up surprising people with, Hey, a brand saw your video and they want to pay you for it. And, you know, putting money in the pockets of regular people who aren't necessarily waking up in the morning expecting that is kind of fun. And what we learned is that they used, um, because of his condition, they were, they were unable to get pregnant. And so they used the licensing fees to help fund IVF.

And she got, she got pregnant nine months later and sent the company videos of their whole pregnancy and experience. And it was just so, it was such a pay it forward moment from a content [00:39:00] perspective.

Um, it was really cool.

Jason Yeh: That's an amazing story that kind of made me tear up a little bit. Um,

Analisa Goodin: Yeah, there's a lot of those. Yeah.

Jason Yeh: Well, Annalisa, thanks so much for the conversation. Uh, lots, um, lots to share, lots of things for people to sort of draw inspiration from. So

appreciate your

Analisa Goodin: Thank you This is a great topic. I wish this kind of resource was available when I was in the early stage of fundraising. I had to go figure it out on my own, but this is an amazing resource for people who are venturing into the, into this world. So thanks for doing it.

That was my conversation with Analisa Goodin, founder and CEO of catch and release one of the top content licensing platforms for brands and creators. I hope this episode allowed you to walk away with more knowledge on what it takes to become a venture back company on your own terms.

After the break, I'll be sitting down with my producer page to hear her thoughts on the convo I just had with Analisa.

[00:40:00]

Paige Randall: Hello, Jason.

Jason_Yeh: Hey Paige, how are ya?

Paige Randall: I feel like it's so scripted. I have deja vu every time we say that. Hello, Jason. Hi, Paige. We got to switch it up. Um, but I'm happy to have this, this little chat, this little debrief. [00:41:00] Um, I feel like we've been getting a good variety of, of different types of guests and different focuses within, fundraising and how people approach them.

So the reason I was kind of excited about this, this episode is I appreciate how it has this focus around. Running a service based company and starting out and then realizing like, Oh shoot, like there's really something here. There's a problem that a lot of people are trying to get solved. and for Annalisa, she was trying to figure out along the way, could we transition this into being a product that's scalable?

And I found the conversation super interesting around that. Um, because something you do talk about, A lot as well is you got to figure out first if your business is even able to be venture backed. So it was cool to kind of see her share her thought process behind it and some of the tactics she used to figure out if it was a fit.

Jason_Yeh: I don't see, I really love this too because In a lot of scenarios, this is the approach that I [00:42:00] give entrepreneurs. this is the approach that I advise entrepreneurs to follow, especially when, especially when there are people that are like, I want to start a business. I don't really know exactly what market I'm going to be in.

I don't know exactly the problem I want to solve, but I really, really want to solve a business. Um, this is advice that I got from my close friend who's like a fantastic entrepreneur when I was also like just dead set on starting a company, even though I didn't have the right thing to do. I didn't end up following this advice, but his advice was, you should Run a consultancy.

Like you should be a consultant to companies in spaces that you enjoy or that you have some passion around or you have some expertise around. By being there and like solving problems for them, the problems that might not be the thing that you end up doing on a bigger scale with software, but by being like so close to the customer, you get a chance to see other problems that you might actually be able to solve with software.

So, You know, the fact that [00:43:00] she was able to run a real business, actually solve problems, while there might be a, like, complication around this idea of like, well, how do I convince investors that we'll be able to build a product, or the product will actually be scalable, or a number of things. There's one thing that she doesn't have to convince people of, or doesn't have a hard time convincing them of, which is that she's validated the problem space.

Like, she's been solving the problem, but she's been doing it manually. A lot of founders, especially at earlier stages, they struggle with the fact that they're saying there's this problem, but like they don't have enough there to show that like there actually is a problem. You know, is someone actually paying for you to solve the problem?

That's how we know that there's a problem worth solving. Um, so yeah, I, I love this as a description because it can be a, it can be a roadmap for some other founders. Um, and in some cases it might not lead to raising venture capital, but that's also okay. I

Paige Randall: Yeah.

Yeah. I think those are some [00:44:00] solid points. I think I personally haven't heard of that many, I guess, roadmaps that are like this, like, or I just haven't. Um, yeah, I heard many stories of founders who have this like service business that's all manual that are trying to make this jump because it's a, it's a really hard and intimidating jump, especially because she was saying like she was building the company.

She wasn't building the product when she was figuring out how to raise. So I found that interesting as well. And I kind of wanted to double click on that. And ask like, she had like around a million dollars in revenue when she was thinking about going out to raise, and she was making the point that revenue from a service isn't really that attractive to VCs because you haven't proved that you can make revenue from a scalable product.

Um, I guess like, I don't know if you just have any thoughts on how someone can convey that. Within there's like, I don't even, I can't comprehend how you do that because you've proven that you can have a [00:45:00] successful service, but how do you, yeah, I guess I'm like trying to figure out how you make that jump or convey that jump to investors.

I don't

know. Yeah.

Jason_Yeh: No, I think it's like, it's something that comes up a lot where I'll see founders following this model and they're like, look, we're already making X dollars, uh, you know, X million dollars or however much it is. And then they want to go raise money at a valuation multiple of that. And you know, to take a step back when we think about how companies get valued, at the earliest stages, it's very finger in the air, you know, it's like, what does it feel like?

And we use these things called valuation multiples, which are like, Can we take your annual revenue and multiply it by 15 and that's what you're valued at. Um, that's kind of what people hope they'll get off of service revenue. But if you think about what a venture capitalist is doing when they're valuing a company, they're like saying, is this [00:46:00] company today going to be worth something more in the future?

And the revenue is an indication of like how likely it is that the bigger version of the company will come to be. And if you are running a company that is like generating revenue in one way, but you're saying you're going to do something completely different, then can't really give you that, what we call, we can't give you credit for that money because it's like, it's not the revenue that we need to expect for the future.

It's like, Similar but very different. I think the only thing that a founder can do is say like, well look, You don't have to give us a revenue multiple on this, but you're going to give us credit for all the work we've done to develop the customer, the brand, the validation of the problem space, the team, and like, and that revenue, you know, while we won't get a revenue multiple, you're going to give us [00:47:00] some, um, credit for all that we've done.

And in terms of, and in terms of what you, what you need to convince a VC of, of, of being able to make that transition is look, if you haven't started building the product, There is a lot of, um, there's a lot of trust that you're going to have to develop with the investor, um, belief in you and have that be combined with like just a really exciting opportunity.

Because at the end of the day, like it's a, it's a big risk. It's like, well, yeah, they validated a problem, but are they going to be good at building software? Like, do they know how to do that? Have they done it before? And there are so many ways and reasons that software companies can fail, especially if you're not experienced at that.

Um, But I think in, in Elisa's case, it's like, it's selling the bigger story so that all the risk is worth the reward of like, Oh my God, this could be massive. So we should try. And then you can, I think you can tell a story or you can [00:48:00] demonstrate that I've done so much to run a company. That has a lot of complexity to it.

We have this number of employees. We have these clients. We have to do these things. Yes, software is different from what I was doing before, but in a lot of ways, management of a company that's building software is not so different than managing a company that's building other things. I of course can do this.

I can apply my management and team skills to this, and it's not like we're replacing the whole team. A lot of the team that works together, executes together today will be pointed at this. We'll just be adding software engineers. So obviously there's always going to be twists and turns and stories that you tell, but if the story is compelling, you can make that leap and, uh, you know, convince an investor to back you on that transition

Paige Randall: Yeah. Okay. I like that. I think that helped bridge my, I just couldn't even wrap my head around like, cause they are kind of two completely different things, but it is always a risk regardless in an early stage company, like, you know, Especially like, I think she was going out to raise her seed, but in case of a pre seed, most of them don't have a [00:49:00] product. So they're trying to, they don't even have, you know, that, uh, uh, I don't know, I'm looking for the words, problem mark, yeah. Product market fit or like validation. See, I'm getting there. Um, They don't even have that. So in her case, at least she does still have something that she can kind of intertwine and, and tell this story of how she's going to apply it to the next phase of, of their company, which is cool.

Jason_Yeh: Totally. And one other thing I was going to add in there is that it's kind of also like a negotiating tactic for an investor to say, Look, I know you were making X million dollars a year, but you're doing something completely different from what you're saying you're going to do. And so like, we can't really give you credit.

Here's what the valuation will be.

Paige Randall: Oh

Jason_Yeh: But in the back of their heads, they're like, it is very impressive that you built this big business. And by the way, the skill it takes to build a multi million dollar business is like, It takes significant skills and there's a lot of just pure operating and pure team [00:50:00] management that goes into any company and, and companies should get credit for that.

So look, it's a venture capitalist job to get a great deal whenever they can. And so even though if they're in the back of their heads, they're probably like. Man, Annalise would be great to back. She's going after something great. They're probably still going to try to play the card. Well, I know you had this amount of revenue, but like, we can't give you credit for it and just have this sort of back and forth to get it to a valuation that they feel comfortable

Paige Randall: Yeah. I mean, and clearly though, like she got her, her credit was due because she did execute and raise three successful rounds and a lot, what she mentioned was a lot of the investors that, um, were a part of her first round went on to raise. Or be a part of her next two rounds. And I had a question around that.

Um, it wasn't even because of her episode, but I just, I thought of it. Um, is that like, is it common to have the same investors stay in the next round? And if they don't, is that always a bad [00:51:00] thing? Or is it because. Like, there's something else. Cause I know that they stay on the cap table regardless, I think. Um, but like, yeah, I just don't know where you draw that line. Like, is it always a bad thing or is it because maybe they have to put their funds elsewhere and they don't have, I don't know, is it always like a red flag?

Jason_Yeh: Well, you know, you've seen me do this page with other founders where like, I don't answer the question right away. Like, what do you think? Do you, what, what are the, what are the bad parts about that? And what are the good parts about that? Or I mean, I don't think, I think that if there's a reason, I think we just touched on this actually, I think that if there's a reason that they can't, that like genuinely stops them, then that, that makes sense. But if there's no reason, and they're just saying, Ah, yeah, we're going to sit this one out. That's kind of sketchy, but at the same time, they still are on the cap table.

Paige Randall: So they're like, I don't know. See, this is where I get confused. Cause maybe I don't understand what it means to be on the [00:52:00] cap table and how involved that makes you in a, in a company. Um,

Jason_Yeh: I'll just say, uh, your initial instincts are exactly correct. I mean, anytime an investor has an opportunity to invest in a company that. is a, like, seemingly a good company, then they should invest. Um, and people that are already on the cap table. So being on the cap table just means that you own equity.

And the only time you get off the cap table is if you somehow get rid of that equity. And by get rid of it, it's usually you sell it to somebody else. Somebody else buys that from you. Either the company buys it back or you sell it to another investor.

Paige Randall: when Andre had to re like regurgitate his cap table, that's kind of what he was doing. He was like, he was either like buying them back or selling them to other people.

Jason_Yeh: Yeah. In some, in some cases you buy people out, you take them off your cap table. Um, and then Andre, we're talking about the incognito episode. Some of it is [00:53:00] essentially they're still on the cap table, but you do something called. Recapping a company where you kind of cram them down as a term where you,

you raise

around at a very low valuation so that existing investors get diluted to a very small amount.

Anyways, but yeah, there are different ways to get people off the cap table. The thing I was going to say about your instincts here is that if you are Already an investor, so already on the cap table, and part of your mandate as a fund allows you to invest in later stages, as in that's part of your strategy, well then, it's really important for you, you as the founder to be able to get those investors.

To invest in the next round because the people on the cap table, the people that are closest to this business should know if it's a good business or if it's a bad business. And if they aren't re upping, if they're not like at least investing what's called their pro rata, [00:54:00] then it's an indication that the, the, the investors that are looking at the next round are going to go to each investor and say, Paige, you're not investing in this round.

Why?

Right? And if you don't have a good answer, then it's a very bad signal. The answer could be, We actually don't have any capital to invest. It could be, I mean, there are a few other things where it's like, we already got, we already got the ownership target that we need,

Paige Randall: Oh.

Jason_Yeh: have other people take it.

That's not as good of a deal. answer, but it's a little bit better of an answer. And so, yeah, um, it is a signal that is, is very important. So the fact that she had so many investors come with her in every round shows that they like what they're doing. They saw what she was doing when they wrote their initial check and liked it.

As they kept growing, they continued to like it. So every opportunity they've had to invest, they've continued to back it.

Paige Randall: Damn. Yeh, that makes, thank you for clarifying that. Yeh, I just, I've just [00:55:00] found this story particularly so fascinating because she just kinda grew up so outside of all of this and she used, like she was more in like the artistic world and she used that, that strength of like, Being an artist and being creative and then applying it into venture capital, which is just so interesting to see.

Like she's utilized her strengths of like talking to people and networking and just, I think she said she started off networking just with anyone. So anyone who would grab her a coffee, like grab a coffee and SF. Which could be a wide variety of people, and then that person might know someone. And then you slowly make your way.

I just, I just think she's genius. And it was so cool to see her execute on this because it might be easier for people who have a service, um, business, like not be able to envision themselves making that jump. So I feel like this episode gives a good opportunity to show people like, Yeah, like it actually is possible.

It's not easy. Yeh, it's just, it's cool.

Jason_Yeh: I think, I think [00:56:00] showing, you know, this is what we're all about. Telling the story that it's possible for anyone and, you know, putting in the effort, no matter what you come from, what type of person you are, what your strengths are, like is certainly possible with, with the right amount of effort. I think that's the debrief.

Paige Randall: I was waiting for you to say it this time. I always say it.

Jason_Yeh: I think that's the That's

Paige Randall: the debrief. That's the

Jason_Yeh: We'll see you next time.

​ [00:57:00]

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