Who Needs a VC? Not Me.

I’m focused on solving a problem I’m passionate about and delivering venture sized returns for my investors without a VC firm, but it wasn’t always that way. The photo below is from early 2014 when things were much different, especially my dependency on the idea of what VCs represent.

Looking back, I can genuinely say that I was always jealous when I read about these massive venture-backed rounds for competitors like Sosh ($10m+ raised from VCs), YPlan ($35m+ raised from VCs), Foursquare ($230m+ raised from VCs) and countless others, not to mention the “local” and “travel” startups backed by incubators like YCombinator (which rejected us), 500 Startups and Techstars.

I used to think I needed an institutional venture capital firm from Silicon Valley to make my vision for Localeur a reality. I wanted us to expand globally, partner with great brands like JetBlue and build one of the best travel startups in America, and I thought I needed a VC firm to do that.

Four years later, after raising the first $1 million from friends and angels, and following pivots by Foursquare and closures by Sosh and YPlan, I’ve realized that the VCs aren’t any more intelligent or strategic about how to best solve the problem I’m trying to solve than strategic angel investors are.

Nearly $3.5 million raised solely from angel investors, including public company CEOs, startup founders, executives from Facebook, entertainment industry, communications and technology leaders spanning over a dozen cities, and I can firmly say I didn’t need a VC at all.

You may not either.

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Joah Spearman
Joah Spearman

Joah Spearman is the co-founder and CEO of Localeur, a community of locals who share recommendations on their favorite local places.

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