Chaos is a ladder; so is raising capital from Asian investors.
Still nostalgic about the blockchain party of late ’17? Yes, it was off the chain here in East Asia, too. As long as you had a translated white paper and a Telegram account, you were A-list. Crypto fanboys wanted to be you, and investors wanted to be with you.
The party’s still on, of that we assure you. It’s just more exclusive. You have to come correct. Read on for a break-down of the different rungs on the East Asia social ladder, to know what it really takes to get into the back rooms of the party, where the action is.
First Rung – Localized Telegram and a Whitepaper
Congrats, you got into the party. But you’re still just a geek on the couch, the guy with taped glasses and rainbow suspenders who can’t make eye contact.
We know, we know: you’ve got a great personality, a vision that will disrupt the (insert industry name here) industry. So why can’t your agency bring every guest in the room to meet you and make them like you?
Alas, the reason you’re at the party is the same as for everyone else –money. Oh sure, everone’s a blockchain evangelist committed to a decentralized utopia, but no one can get started on that until they have a few million in the bank.
Bottom line: your project, and subsequently your Telegram account, holds a lot less promise of profitability than it would have last year.
Ah, to be ’17 again, when the users would show up by the score per hour. Every project had the promise of being the next big thing, and the Telegram group was where those users got their one-way ticket to the moon.
As 2018 draws to a close, you need to get off the couch, and start showing the party-goers your stuff.
Second Rung – PR & Digital Media
Don’t hate those tall, beautiful, magnetic people who can walk into a party and effortlessly become the center of attention.
And definitely don’t act like a Leisure Suit Larry, pretending to looks and charisma that simply aren’t there.
Who’s the life of the blockchain investment party in East Asia? No surprise – the same characters who draw attention and investment right now on the other side of the Pacific, swingers who have:
- viable tech
- an existing business
- a team geared for business, not just tech success
If this doesn’t quite describe you, fear not, but also ask not how much can be raised for you, until you’ve asked how what interest you can raise in your project.
You can be that balding, pot-bellied guy who partygoers are whispering about, if there’s press out about you. He’s had his book reviewed in the New Yorker; you’ve had your project reviewed on Jinse.com.
East Asia is huge. Its blockchain investment community is not. There is a well-connected, vibrant pigeon wire of project talk, and it’s not going to be on your Telegram channel– not at first, anyway.
So if you’re not an obvious 10, and you expect to leave the party with $10m, realize that you need to pony up for some solid PR and content marketing, the investment party version of a designer suit, hand-made shoes, and linen name card.
Third Rung – Webinars and AMAs
We give Telegram short shrift, only because it’s still so oversold. This is because every agency in the land knows how to get you twenty-thousand bot-added followers. But hey, at least it’s cheaper than going to a conference and coming back with two thousand business cards that will amount to so much desk detritus.
In either case, lack of PR is why the crickets are chirping and the Telegram isn’t pinging. Serious investors aren’t going to project Telegrams for airdrops and bounty – they’re going for transparency.
After PR generates some broad but targeted awareness and authenticity, it’s time to face the friendly fire. AMAs (Ask Me Anything) and Webinars take guts, but reward the hosts with much increased chances of face-time (actual faces, not Apples), and much increased understanding of how to present your project to serious investors.
Fourth Rung – Road Show
This is where the average project wants to start out, understandably. But check the mirror once again. Are you a 10, in terms of:
- viable tech
- an existing business
- a team geared for business, not just tech success ?
If not, and if you haven’t done some time on the second and third rungs, then any advisory promising you a road show is going to be taking you to the investment equivalent of college keggers.
Again, you want to be in that exclusive after-party. No matter how good a partner’s investor network is, that partner can’t take you with Eyes Wide Shut. Any partner who does is taking you in, and the results will be dismaying.
Key to not getting exposed as a pretender at high-level investor parties is a deal book. Not your pitch deck. The deal book differs in that, while it is short and concise, it’s aimed at making a compelling case for the VC investor, not the cryptocurrency lover, or blockchain believer. A good fundraising partner will have resources to help you with that.
For all projects looking to raise capital in East Asia, please view the foregoing, over-extended analogy not as satire, but an attempt to grasp the reality of blockchain fundraising as it stands today.
Reality, not desire, will get you funded soonest, for as billionaire founder of Bridgewater Ray Dalio tells us,
—more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality—
is the essential foundation for producing good outcomes.”
And a final word on the East Asia social ladder, not from us, but rather the legendary Zig Ziglar,
“You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.”