What Should a Startup Look for in an Interim CFO to Help with Seed Funding?

Getting Started

You don’t need a CFO for seed funding. I’ve never heard of a seed stage startup getting an interim “CFO” – particularly for the sake of fund raising.

At this stage you need to make sure your accounting is in order and you PERSONALLY should know how and have build Pro Forma financials, models, etc. Angels aren’t likely to invest in you as a startup if *you* aren’t capable of the fundamentals of the finance side of things.

No one expects you to be an Accountant. No one expects you to be the CFO-type. But we all have every reasonable expectation that you are capable of the basics of running a business AND that you know how important and meaningful it is to know the models.

Seed funding is a result of your team, competitive advantage, and exit potential, along with the reasonably necessary amount of validation from the market that you can be successful. None of that comes from a CFO formally involved (paid for).

Begging the question that is valid… how then do you learn all that or figure out how to do it properly or reasonably accurately?

You should by now have Advisors. You should have equity set aside in your Delaware C-Corp (if you’re in the U.S., you are a Corp, yes? If you’re not, you’re not getting Angel/VC investment no matter what – you could take on partners in an LLC; partners who pay for their role, but that’s not the same as what “investors” seek). As such, you have equity to allocate to some Advisors that fill in the gaps in your team and expertise. Advisors such as Finance.

Point being, as a seed stage startup, there is an endless supply of online content and spreadsheets about what you need to have at this stage; YOU having it is what matters most, if only hopefully evident in the fact that you can just look up what you should have on the finance side of your business and do it (if you don’t/can’t/won’t at least do that, why would anyone take the risk of investing??). But that material being online aside, you should certainly have an Advisor who knows how and for a tiny bit of equity, gets you straightened out.

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