21 October 2017
Joe McGuire

Payment Innovation

Joe McGuire - Airwallex

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Raising Money- It's all about the Benjamins baby

10 October 2017  |  3943 views  |  0

Fundraising... The eternal topic at of any start-up conversation. And understandably so. Funding is scale, scale is success. Success is happiness… Right?

After raising the biggest ever Aussie A-round earlier in the year, it’s never far from any event we attend. How do you get the big players interested? How did you get your val? While I don’t profess to have all the answers, below are three things that I have learn’t along the way;

Better to be a lackey then John Mackey

Recently Amazon inhaled WholeFoods in the US for US$13.8 Billion. That’s with a B. After one of the biggest deals in history you would expect John Mackey, CEO and Founder to be in the nine zero’s club. Astonishingly, he walked away from the acquisition with US$8 million dollars. While money ain’t everything, founding a company and running it with on less than 0.5% of equity sounds like a bit of a drainer. Lesson number one; Don’t give away the house just to get construction started.

Houston we have a problem. And its umm… Unicorns?

Well, maybe not Houston, but most definitely Silicon Valley. Reid Hoffman in his fantastic podcast Masters of Scale argues that the only place to do a start-up is Silicon Valley. While he makes some great points around talent, legal expertise and investors etc etc etc. He forgot to mention one thing; you need only apply if your business is the next Unicorn. It's an interesting phenomenon. You may have an idea for a great business that could make you a couple of hundred million. Doesn't matter, if your business doesn't have mythical creature status; keep walking.

And can you blame them? These poor kids in Silicon Valley VC-land are under a lot of pressure to deliver big deals and the hundred club is no longer impressive. I mean, Jim did his impersonation of Scary Movie selling Whatsaaaap, Steve’s done Insta and Sacca’s done Twitter. If you want to make a name for yourself its got to go big. Like one Billion big. So remember, if you knock on heavens door, make sure your idea and your industry have the potential to take you into that nine zero's club.


You pitch your idea. You're happy with your performance and the formalities conclude. You shake hands and as you are being walked to the exit they crack some jokes before asking; “So who else are you talking to?”

Welcome to the FOMO. FOMO, an ancient term coined before millennials ruled the world. It’s described by the urban dictionary as a state of mental or emotional strain caused by the fear of missing out. Where is the relevance? Create FOMO with your investors, give them a whiff that they miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime, and you will get your valuation, maybe more. Why? Because the only thing those Sili kids think about more than a billion dollar party is being left off the invite list.

  • Free speech doesn’t pay the bills. All views expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the views of Airwallex.
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job title Global Head of Sales/Partnerships
location Melbourne
member since 2017
Summary profile See full profile »
Running sales/partnerships for Australia's hottest FinTech, Airwallex. Backed by Tencent, Mastercard and Sequoia, we are doing our bit to reduce friction in the world of cross-border payments.

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