Novel Way to Fund a Startup

by francine Hardaway on August 25, 2009

I met Drue Kataoka through her blog, Valley Zen. Only later did I find that she, a recent Stanford grad, is from a distinguished Japanese family and is an accomplished artist in a traditional Japanese medium. And that’s the end of my expertise about things Japanese. But I got a message from Drue yesterday saying she was getting married on August 29th, and directing me to the First Ever Startup Registry.

Drue and her fiancee are starting a company called Aboomba. It is, of course, in stealth mode, which is why she thought I should know about it:-) They have decided that they don’t need silver and crystal and all that stuff I’ve had in boxes and shlepped from home to home without unpacking since the days of Mad Men. Instead, they have asked their friends to give them gifts like food for their engineers ($273), lunch for a VC $291), a desk upgrade for a developer ($49.90), an hour of a Silicon Valley lawyer’s time ($385) and so forth. In this way, they have backed into a budget:-)

Maybe I should have just tweeted a link to it, but I thought the letter from the bride and groom was worth re-printing:

The big date of August 29 is quickly approaching. However, we realized we didn’t need blenders, silverware or champagne glasses. So we had two options: (1) create a wedding registry with objects that we don’t really need, but are expected for the retail-industry-imposed Wedding Registry Ritual or (2) surprise everybody and do a different kind of registry—one that is non-conventional, humorous, genetically Silicon Valley—and actually useful.

We decided that the future belongs to the bold—so below is our non-conventional Start-up Wedding Registry. As you know, besides starting our life together, we are excited to be starting a new Internet company called Aboomba. Instead of buying us silverware and kitchenware, we invite you to participate in nurturing this new internet organism. The list below is as much humorous as serious—you could indeed be feeding engineers and accountants; providing coffee, pizza and online hosting.

Many of you are entrepreneurs, venture capitalists or start-up lawyers you have already been through the exciting experience of starting a company and seeing it grow. We promise that Aboomba’s journey will be filled with creativity, excitement and drive. You will see your contributions to this non-conventional wedding registry result in building an amazing company!

But the wedding is not about the presents—it is about the guests who have played a special role in our lives. That’s why, the last and most important item in our registry is Your Attendance—the gift that we will cherish most.

Is this not the cleverest way to fund a company using the traditional 3Fs? What friend, family member, or fool can resist contributing under these circumstances? Like all early stage investors, you’d be buying a pig in a poke, but at least you would be kicking off the marriage in a useful way. Did you really like giving traditional brides a single china dinner plate or a blender?

And a word of advice to entrepreneurs: next time you think you need to raise money, perhaps you should just get married.

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