Lee Hower was one of the founding members of LinkedIn. Last week, he made millions when the company went public.
Life wasn’t always easy for LinkedIn though. Hower wrote an article for Fortune describing just how hard it was for the business network to raise its first round back in 2003.
In 2003, Google was still private and the idea of Steve Jobs dabbling in mobile was almost funny. Apple hadn’t even released its revolutionary touchwheel iPod* yet. A lot of investors had been burned in the dot-com downturn, so the environment wasn’t ripe for fundraising.
After pitching 25 firms and getting some humbling denies, LinkedIn was finally able to raise its $4.7 million.
“It was an interesting mix of reactions,” Hower writes. “A couple quickly grasped the opportunity we were pursuing and liked our team and concept. One partnership was clearly very divided and a vocal minority of GPs thought consumer Internet companies were a massive waste of time and money. In another, we descended into a debate about our 5-year forecasts…And a third firm “pressure tested” (i.e., grilled) Reid to see if he still had entrepreneurial zeal, after already having some success at PayPal.”
Hower says the entire process took four to five months. The rest is history.
To read more about Hower’s experience raising LinkedIn’s Series A round, head over to Fortune >>