The 5 Stages of Grief, I Mean Fundraising


The 5 Stages of Grief, I Mean Fundraising

December 8, 2021 | Inspiration

Thank you to Suzanne Sinatra, Founder and CEO of Private Packs for sharing her first-hand experience with fundraising. For other entrepreneurs struggling with raising capital, please know you are not alone.  

By January 2021, my company Private Packs achieved what takes most startups years to accomplish.

We recently opened a direct-to-consumer store with our patented hero product – Hot & Cold Vulva Personal Pads.

Private Packs received a distribution deal from a mass retailer. In addition, I had a financial commitment from a well-known Silicon Valley venture firm.

In my mind, we were set for a successful pre-seed fundraising round. The game plan was simple: reach out to 144 warm leads and close the round before Labor Day.

Insider’s Tip: Check out our Blog Post on “Choose the Best Fundraising Option for Your New Business” for more information on different techniques. 

I prepared a to-do list and began crossing off the items one by one.

  • Establish an Investor Database. Check.
  • Draft a Term Sheet. Check.
  • Practice and Refine My Pitch. Check.
  • Run a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign. Check.
  • Create a Dedicated Fundraising Calendar. Check.
  • Channel a Positive Mindset. Check.

The only thing left – answer questions and deposit checks.

For all my efforts, I raised a total of $0. However, one thing was missing from my checklist. Prepare for disappointment.

Why would I? You don’t play to lose. I had done everything correctly. The only outcome in my mind was to win.

Private Packs’ failure to fundraise led me to the five stages of entrepreneur grief.

  • DENIAL: We accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. That should count for something. Instead, my outreaches went unanswered. How could I not even get a reply?
  • ISOLATION: I felt like a failure. How could I tell my family, friends, and colleagues – my business that I poured my heart and soul into was worthless. Instead of telling anyone, I avoided interaction in general.
  • ANGER: There are companies with less impressive credentials that get funding. It is not fair for those startups to get funding over Private Packs.
  • BARGAINING: Let me reach out again. Maybe the potential investors missed something, or I can add my latest news. That will do the trick.
  • DEPRESSION: I’m a failure and wasted time on a worthless company. Now, what do I do? I immersed myself in wallowing, and eventually, I transitioned to the last stage.
  • ACCEPTANCE: I tried and will keep going. I know Private Packs will become a household name and want investors who believe in this brand as much as I do.

I emerged from my hibernation and shared my disappointing news on LinkedIn. While contacts praised my vulnerability and encouraged me to keep going, I still felt I had let everyone down.

However, one comment resonated with me – “failure is the greatest teacher.” While this blog post may not have a happy ending, I know I’ve always learned more from failure than success.

I can and will do this. I didn’t come this far as to give up now.

Suzanne Sinatra is the CEO and Founder of Private Packs. A former event planner turned accidental entrepreneur. Private Packs was born out of a traumatic Brazilian waxing incident that prompted her to design a product that is currently an unmet need in the marketplace. Private Packs are wearable, reusable, contoured therapy packs that deliver targeted relief to intimate body parts. Sinatra is an advocate for women’s health and a member of the Women in SexTech, a community of entrepreneurs united by a desire to meet the needs of others and remove the stigma from innovations within the sexual technology industry. Before Private Packs, she consulted for many top echelon companies such as Deutsche Bank, The Wall Street Journal, LG Electronics, and New York City’s mayor. Before that, Sinatra was a Junior Analyst at Credit Suisse and is a veteran of the Royal Canadian Armed Forces. Contact Sinatra on LinkedIn



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