240 Days to Raise
The Raise Podcast
Ep 2: Lessons from Motley's pre-seed funding round & winding down
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Ep 2: Lessons from Motley's pre-seed funding round & winding down

Cecily’s Fundraising Journey

Cecily is a second time entrepreneur. Her first company was VC backed B2C Jewellery company Motley London. Motley was known for fine jewellery at insider prices. Built on a new operating model for the jewellery industry, they worked directly with the world’s best independent designers and ateliers to bring brilliant design to the market - without the markups

  • The problem: Jewellery is expensive and the mark-ups often out price every day women.

  • The solution: Motley created it’s own supply chain and made jewellery from silver (not gold) which substantially reduced the price. 

After making the decision to work on Motley full-time, Cecily and her co-founder Ilana, went on to raise an Angel round and then a VC round before going on to wind down the business shortly after the pandemic ended (we wound down in 2022,  like a lot of consumer businesses we did very very well in the Pandemic) when there had been a series of changes to Instagram’s algorithm that had a domino effect on their revenue generation and growth.

As Cecily embarks on the journey of building her second company, we talk about what she learned from her experience of working on Motley having raised £360k

In this episode, we cover:

  • [00:00] About Motley.

  • [01:11] Tell us a bit about you and why you started Motley.

  • [03:13] At what point did you decide to go for VC money?

  • [08:11] How did you decide on what investors to target?

  • [14:40] What was the biggest challenge that you and your co-founder faced while raising?

  • [18:25] How did you learn to manage your emotions and energy to pull yourselves up when things felt bad?

  • [25:07] How did you end up winding down the company?

  • [34:00] What are two to three things that Founders should take into consideration before they fundraise?

  • [44:30] If you could go back and do it again, what would you do differently?

Some takeaways:

For Founders raising 💰
  1. Fundraising is not linear and the amount of effort that you put in does not relate to what you get in the end. The hardest moments will be in the moments where it looks like it will not happen, but you often have to keep going and you’ll eventually close.

  2. People will commit and then pull out at any stage in the process. Try not to put all of your eggs in one basket with fundraising. Speak to investors and gain clarity over where you are in their process.

  3. The biggest threat to your business is that you get so tired that you don’t want to do it any more. That in mind, it’s important that you take time to look after yourself.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Overcast, and YouTube.

Where to find Cecily Motley:

LinkedIn

Where to find Jade Buffong:

LinkedIn | Newsletter

Lightning-round answers:

Were there any tools you relied on heavily for your fundraising? (e.g. a CRM, pitch deck creator etc)

  • At the time we had a ruthless excel sheet detailing outreach, first conversation, second, third, IC and term sheet. We’ve since upgraded to Hubspot as a cleaner way to keep contacts and deal flow clear. It's easy to get overwhelmed with excel.

What Founders should we be keeping an eye on?

  • Sarah Touzani from Waggle.ai People leave managers not jobs - Sarah's product, Waggle is a brilliant AI co-pilot for managers that makes sure that doesn't happen.

  • Will Taylor from Workflow - he's building a product for creatives that I WISH I had had at Motley - it's basically Monday but for creatives - it uses AI to autocorrect basic and simple copy, logo and brand colour mistakes and builds a brilliant feedback workflow.

What books do you recommend Founders read?

  • Before running Motley I had little experience with good management. I think :"The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Lencioni is a classic; quick, digestible and easily applicable. The other book I often think about is "The Messy Middle" by Scott Belsky. He was the founder of Behance which was bought by Adobe. He brilliantly articulates the challenge of the journey - at the beginning and the end there is lots of cheering for you. But it's the middle where the race is won - and it's messy, tiring and there is no guarantee of success.

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240 Days to Raise
The Raise Podcast
A podcast that sheds light on the fundraising efforts of pre-seed and seed stage Founders.
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Jade Buffong-Phillips
Cecily Motley