Many years back I was explaining my take on funding and decided to call it the Batman and Robin model.
If it is your company and you are the CEO, you’re the Batman. Everybody wants to talk to Batman. He’s the main show. Batman does the heavy lifting but with the support of others.
If Batman stumbles or do not show up the show is over. Robin will not do. And people are not expecting Robin to do what Batman is supposed to do.
Fundraising is an exhausting task. It can easily be a full-time role. But nobody has time to do that full-time in startups. You just do it in addition to all the other things happening at the same time.
For this reason, there is a temptation to outsource the process to someone else. Plenty of people can offer you help and say that they will open their Rolodex for you. They will introduce you to the right people, and for the right price.
It’s easy to hear the siren song and fall for the illusion that Batman can just show up once in a while and the job gets done.
Robin is a team member for Batman. He has his role and place in the process. He might be instrumental to pull everything together, and even enable the whole endeavour.
Yet, it all falls apart when Batman is not leading the show. It’s not just about showing up but running the show with all the nitty-gritty details, the plans, the whole nine yards.
The reason is very simple. You’re selling your team and yourself as a trusted partner. The funding process is about convincing investors that you’re capable of pulling it all off. That you’re fully committed and that you can perform, and that you can handle the situations thrown at you.
If Batman puts Robin on the driver’s seat it will not work out in the long term. You may even get investors but are they the right type of partners?
How can you commit to a long-term relationship with your investors if you are not showing enough interest to be the Batman in the trust-building process?
I’m Robin, and you are the Batman!