Startup Spotlight: Party Round
All Things Venture #058
Hey Everyone - Dez here from All Things Venture. If you’ve been following the newsletter for the past few weeks, you’ve probably realized I am a fan of today’s Startup Spotlight - Party Round. I actually wrote about them earlier this year in my article Just Ride the Waves, where I break down how Party Round uses viral content marketing on Twitter to drive growth. Party Round is the type of company that I like to describe as founder’s first. From their actual product, to their marketing, to the type of employees they’ve been able to attract - their customer (founders) is placed at the center of their decisions, and obsessed over. And yeah I know, everyone says they’re customer obsessed. But how often do you see it working? How often do you see businesses, of the back of 280 character tweets, generate literally hundreds of customer leads, parternship opportunities, and VC interest simply because they know who they’re talking to and where they are? Not often, and that’s just one aspect of what makes Party Round awesome. So yeah, you could say I’m pretty pumped to share today’s article about Party Round. And as always, let’s dive right in.
Jordi! Tell me a little bit about yourself, what is Party Round, and what is the problem you’re trying to solve?
I’m Jordi Hays and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Party Round. Previously, I started a few companies (an ad network and a labor marketplace), and noticed that the existing process of raising money from a bunch of individuals is super archaic and manual. Party Round is solving that with an automated fundraising tool for founders.
With our product, a founder can come on, create a round, set the terms of that round and privately invite investors. From there, Party Round handles the rest - from document generation, to signature collection, to funds collection. We’re taking fundraising into the 21st century.
Why do you care about solving this problem? And how has it differed from your previous startups?
My previous startups weren’t in fintech. I have a consumer background, so I really come at everything here from a consumer’s (founder’s) perspective.
At my previous company, I had a close friend that wanted to invest $500. I was excited about working with him, but my lawyer actually advised against taking his money, telling me it’ll cost more than $500 to send a SAFE and take the investment. Fortunately, I had the foresight to include him anyway and over time, he drove in over $50k in attributable revenue. So I saw firsthand how powerful it was to raise from the right investor, regardless of check size.
Your team has consistently gone viral on Twitter, whether it’s helpful VCs or drop your ENS trend. Could you talk to us a little bit about that process?
Early on, we made a concerted effort to focus our marketing energy on tech Twitter. We realized that we troll tech Twitter all day, just like all of our potential customers, so we had a unique opportunity to leverage the fact that we were the customer that was going to resonate the most with our content.
For 99% of businesses, solely focusing on Twitter is a terrible idea, but if you really understand a subculture, like we did with tech Twitter, it's a lot easier to generate awareness in that subculture.
In hindsight, I probably sounded crazy to investors, telling them that our GTM strategy was going viral with drops on tech Twitter. But we knew that everything we’ve put out on the marketing side would go viral because we were the audience for it, which is the most important factor. So it’s been a pretty effective part of our strategy, not only from an awareness standpoint, but from a fundraising and hiring perspective as well.
Where do you see Party Round evolving as a platform, and what excites you most about the entrepreneurial ecosystem?
Capital and culture are colliding at a pretty alarming rate and at Party Round, one of our firm beliefs is that fundraising and investing are just social activities. They are ways to engage with your peers and your community.
One of the things that we're really excited about is the fact that people are now making investments for a variety of social reasons, from wanting to support a founder, to wanting the status associated with investing in a particular company.
We see investor NFTs on Party Round as a digitally-native stock certificate. It’ll serve as an asset that verifies and celebrates your investment, that you can take with you across the internet. So you may invest in a company on Party Round, but if you're going somewhere else on the internet through your wallet, you can take your investment track record with you.
What was your “aha” moment when you realized something was working at Party Round?
For me, it was back in May of 2021. As founders, we were actually Party Round’s first customer and raised our pre-seed on the platform. When we were raising that round, we'd have a great conversation with an investor, and within minutes, they were on Party Round and able to invest. We could then get right back to building, which is such a huge step in terms of the fundraising process for founders, because historically it’s been so time-consuming.
What are some of the challenges that you face at the current stage for Party Round?
Our biggest challenge is really creating a sea change in how founders raise capital, ignoring the traditional, manual, archaic way of fundraising or even semi-new ways such as crowdfunding - and automating their fundraise with Party Round.
What defines success for Party Round over the next few months?
We’ve been in Private Beta, gradually inviting founders off the waitlist, while focusing on key updates, like enabling founders to raise entirely in USDC. Our hope is that over the next few months, any founder can use Party Round without a wait, and we will define success once we’ve made it faster, easier and cheaper for all founders to raise capital.
What advice do you have for any aspiring entrepreneurs?
The best way to change the world is by building a startup and the greatest time to do so is now. The internet has enabled anyone around the world to learn how to start and operate a company, design and build software, and find customers & investors.
So create a brand or product for which you are the customer and I can’t wait to see you automate your fundraise on Party Round.
You heard the man. Get to building. And don’t forget to subscribe to ya boyyyyyyy