"I don't think anyone else tries to teach what Jason does."

Zohaib Ali, Co-Founder & CEO

Company HQ: Pakistan

Round Raised after FWC: Series A

Amount Raised: $41M


Q: What was the turning point that made you decide to join FWC when you were preparing to raise your next round?

I'm also a trader that trades options and derivatives. When you're trading financial instruments as a trader, you always ask this question - "Was this intentional or was this 'I just got lucky?' " And in that thought process, we're always asking this question in building our company and everything that we do.

To be honest, our seed round wasn't intentional. We got lucky. And that's what got me curious as to, I really need to understand what are some of the dynamics and factors that can help me become better and to enable the vision of what we're building, which is the region's largest B2B trade marketplace. And it cannot happen without a large influx of capital. So we need to understand what investors are really looking for and how can we position ourselves and our business in a manner which is attractive for them while keeping our vision intact of building the company.

So that's where the curiosity of learning came in, stumbling on a Twitter feed where Jason was tagged and I dropped him a DM and then that's when I joined FWC.

Q: The program has a lot of different components (live class, recorded lectures, homework, etc.). What was it like going through it and how did you find it beneficial?

It was a double-edged sword. So unfortunately or fortunately, I live in Pakistan, so I'm 13 hours ahead of Jason and his timing. So the class times were like 4 or 5 a.m. in the morning.

It was very difficult to wake up and follow that schedule. But that has become part of my daily routine, I'm waking up at 4.30, 5 in the morning now.

That also helped in another way because as soon as the lecture was done, I could spend another couple of hours working on the homework without any distraction. So by 7-7.30 a.m., I would have finished almost 90% of the work that was required in terms of homework and the lectures.

Q: What was it like being a part of a group of founders going through a similar process? How did that help?

We made several friends- we still remain in touch. We still exchange notes. We still ask for intros. I've also met several of them in person as well.

It is a lonely journey to raise money. But one thing that was really helpful was the platform where you could post questions and ask founders about their advice. Most of them were seasoned founders or founders who had already been part of the previous FWC and raised money. They would come up with tremendous answers. And that's where the learning is expedited because now you're learning from founders who have already been through that process and are giving you suggestions on the go.

Q: When you were raising, did investors notice or compliment your process?

Absolutely, I think almost every investor that invested in our subsequent rounds has generally given us feedback that this process that you run is pretty tight. We loved it. The story that you came up and delivered was very exciting, we really wanted to be part of that journey. And again, fundraising is not just the success. You have to build an entire business after the race.