Why Startups Shouldn’t Raise Funds Just Because They Can

How Lemlist (Zendesk program alum, part of STATION F's Future40 in 2019) turned down a $30 million investment offer and chose to bootstrap.

Fundraising has become a rite of passage for any startup that claims to be ambitious. It is perceived to be a must by many founders, especially those who are building SaaS products that need to grow fast and want to acquire a large market share.

However, fundraising is not always the only way for such a company to succeed.

In this episode, we catch up with Guillaume Moubeche, co-founder and CEO of Lemlist, who bootstrapped his company with $1000 to reach $5M ARR in less than 3 years. Guillaume recently turned down a $30 million offer from a private equity fund that included a $15 million cash-out for the three co-founders of Lemlist. That meant saying “no” to receiving $5 million straight into each of their bank accounts. What was the thinking behind this decision? Tune in now to learn more.

Listen to the full episode on Apple PodcastSpotifyDeezer & Google Podcast.




00:22 — Introduction with Roxanne Varza
01:13 — Guillaume on why he publicly turned down €30 million
02:22 — Investment offers that Lemlist received from VC and PE funds
03:34 — The background and growth story of Lemlist
04:15 — Guillaume’s approach to company building: focusing on customers rather than fundraising
05:40 — Why he recently went after fundraising
09:18 — When fundraising is relevant for a company
10:26 — The advantage of having constraints on building product
11:31 — The number of offers that Lemlist got
12:23 — Growth strategies: how Lemlist turned $1000 into $5M ARR in three years
15:27 — Things that went wrong and learnings
18:47 — On selling vs. not selling
23:05 — What can we expect to see from Lemlist in the coming months


Should you or should you not raise funds?

There are pros and cons to fundraising and, depending on what type of company you are trying to build, the balance of both will vary. If you’re interested in learning more about whether or not you should raise funds, sign up here to join our upcoming Money Talks session featuring Guillaume and Carole Juge-Llewellyn, founder & CEO of Joone! The event will take place on April 28th at 6:30PM CET.

Produced by

Cindy Yang
[email protected]

Hosted by

Roxanne Varza