Rethinking VC Funding: Do you really need it?

Rethinking the Strategic Approaches to Fuel Your Startup’s Growth

In the evolving world of startups, the conversation around funding is ripe for rethinking. While venture capital (VC) funding has long been viewed as a hallmark of startup success, especially in bustling entrepreneurial hubs, it’s time to reassess this notion. Is chasing VC funding always the smart move, or should more founders be considering the path less travelled – self-funding?

The VC Funding Myth

For many new businesses, especially in SaaS, VC funding has been regarded as a critical milestone, almost a rite of passage. This belief is fuelled by a historical narrative equating funding with potential success. However, this narrative is increasingly being questioned. The golden years of funding are gone, and deployments of cash have slowed down over the past 18 months with no sign of change on the horizon. In my years of working in startups and being part of this community, a common theme emerged: many plunged into the funding game without fully grasping its nuances and implications.

Understanding the VC Landscape

A crucial realisation is that only a minority of startups truly fit into the big VC funding model, which seeks businesses with the potential for massive scale and rapid growth. Let us repeat this:

“A crucial realisation is that only a minority of startups truly fit into the big VC funding model”

The pursuit of VC funding can often be more costly – in terms of time, effort, and company equity – than anticipated. The software industry has shifted, with technological advancements, particularly AI, reducing development and market entry costs. This evolution challenges the traditional VC model and suggests that easy funding and large-scale exits might become rarities.

The Current Fundraising Landscape

The fundraising environment today is markedly different from the ‘golden years’ of VC funding. The process has become more demanding, with increased competition and higher expectations. This change requires startups to reevaluate the role of VC funding in their growth strategies, understanding that it’s not a universal solution but a tool with specific applications and trade-offs.

VC Funding: A Strategic Choice, Not a Rite of Passage

VC fundraising isn’t inherently good or bad; it’s a strategic choice. For some startups targeting rapid scale and global markets, VC funding can be a catalyst for growth. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for all. Startups need to weigh their individual needs, market conditions, and long-term goals against the potential benefits and drawbacks of VC funding.

The Case for Self-Funding

Self-funding offers numerous advantages, including control over company direction, reduced pressure to scale prematurely and focus on sustainable, revenue-driven growth. Successful self-funded startups, like Mailchimp, Github, and Plenty of Fish, exemplify the potential of this path. Self-funding encourages a deeper market understanding, and a lean approach to business, and often results in more resilient and agile companies.

Tailoring Your Growth Strategy

Startups must tailor their growth strategies to their unique circumstances. For many, bootstrapping or self-funding can lead to more sustainable growth and greater autonomy. This approach fosters a close connection to customers, agility in market adaptations, and growth at a natural pace.

Shifting the Startup Mindset

We believe that new startup founders (especially in SaaS) should start with the expectation of not raising institutional funding, viewing it as an option under the right conditions, not a necessity. This mindset fosters practicality and sustainability, emphasising market understanding, solid product development, and revenue generation through sales and customer relationships.


The decision to seek VC funding should be made with a clear understanding of your startup’s unique needs and the current fundraising environment. It’s a strategic choice with significant implications for your business’s future. Whether you opt for VC funding, self-funding, or a combination of both, the goal remains the same: to build a resilient, successful business that stands the test of time.


We’d love to hear more opinions on this topic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or get in touch.

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