The CEO of a startup founded by college dropouts sent a brutally honest pitch to potential investors

Screen Shot 2017 10 11 at 3.29.57 PMExeqExeq CEO Derek Brown

One of the hardest parts about getting a company off the ground is finding the right investors to help keep the lights on during the early days.

If you’ve ever watched the hit show “Shark Tank,” then you’ll know it’s no easy feat convincing investors to pour money into your company — especially in its early days. As such, young startups need to be confident, persistent and ready for rejection when trying to pitch venture capitalists.

One startup is taking a bit of an unorthodox approach to pitching potential investors.

Exeq, the New York-based startup founded by four New York City college drop-outs, blasted an email out to 400 venture capitalist and angel investors, according to a person familiar with the matter.

In an email seen by Business Insider, Exeq CEO Derek Brown, a former engineer at LinkedIn and Addepar, laid out the value of the company, which seeks to change the way millennials think about spending their money.

But before he did, he was brutally honest.

Here’s Brown (emphasis ours):

At Exeq, we don’t have everything together. We don’t know the future for our product and platform. We don’t know or control the external circumstances around our company.”

The point of the app is to help people make more efficient decisions about their spending. It does so by notifying users when slight changes to how they spend can be made. For instance, the app might alert a person who frequents a coffee shop on their way to work that there is a more affordable alternative nearby. The app, which is only available in New York City to iPhone users, has 6,000 users. But, like most startups, their sights are set higher.

“By combining financial and lifestyle data, we’re able to build a consumer product that enables consumer behaviour…responsibly,” Brown wrote in the email.

The company already counts Barclays, the British financial services company, as a backer. Here’s Brown on why others should jump in:

“Because you have a fiduciary duty to your LPs to make the best investments you can. We’d fall in that category. ;) On a more serious note, the answer’s simple: if you don’t see the shape of the world in the way that we’ve described above, then you shouldn’t invest in us.”

Let’s see if the cheekiness pays off.

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