Real Life Funding Stories: Chaz Englander, CEO of Fat Lama
By Mike Narouei, Content Producer at Boring Money
1 Feb, 2018
In our third real life funding story, Chaz Englander, CEO of rental service Fat Lama, explains why he delayed taking on funding from VCs for as long as possible.
What is Fat Lama?
Fat Lama is a platform that lets people rent out their belongings to others nearby. Every day, we connect people who need things, with others in their neighbourhood that have them to lend.
Did you try a number of routes before getting funding?
I'd previously been working for a London-based Angel funding platform called Angels Den, so by the time we were ready for our first raise, I had a reasonable idea of the European funding landscape. One of the decisions I'd come to was that we should delay taking on any funding from VCs for as long as possible. That's why our first two rounds (for £150k and £1m) were both entirely Angel rounds.
Some thoughts on the highs and lows of the process - did you start well ahead of time, for example? Or was there a point at which you thought the business might not be able to grow?
Raising very early stage capital is somewhat a numbers game. Because you need to meet a lot of people, it will take some time, so plan ahead. It's also necessarily a learning process - you need to learn how to get better and better at “building a deal” for the investor.
Any tips for other people going through the same process?
Meet as many people as you can. Particularly in the early days, when you might be pre-product or pre-revenue, volumes matter: it’s about getting out there and meeting a ton of people.
Beyond this, it's well worth focusing on the following questions:
Why are you the people to execute this idea?
How big is the vision/opportunity?
What’s your defensibility? What's your unreplicable USP?
Have a look at what Chaz built at www.fatlama.com.
If you're looking at funding a new business, you can read our Boring Money Guide to Finding Funding (https://www.boringmoney.co.uk/quick-reads/how-do-i-get-funding-for-my-business-idea/). It's full of straightforward, practical advice and steps to take. There's loads more about running a business on our Everyday Entrepreneurs page.