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Fundraising during a pandemic

July 27, 2020 By: Evelyn Allen

This post is also available in: Français (French)

This year, Evercloak has been going through massive change. In February, Evercloak was announced as a winner of NRCan’s Breakthrough Energy Solutions program, supporting a $1.2-million project to accelerate our technology development. In May, wegraduated from the Creative Destruction Lab’s energy stream in Calgary. And by June, we closed a round of seed funding. It’s been a wild ride.

On top of all that — like everyone else around the world — we had to figure out how to operate during a pandemic.

In this post, I’d like to share my personal experience on how we fundraised during these uncertain times.

Leveraging connections

We launched our seed round just as COVID-19 hit, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. Normally, a round of fundraising can take six or eight months. We ended up raising $750,000 in just six weeks.

One of the things that really set Evercloak up for success was participating in the Calgary stream ofthe Creative Destruction Lab. A lot of the mentors and associates in that program have a background in chemical engineering, so theyunderstandthe material science side of our company— and the opportunities.

Building those relationships over a period of eight months was incredibly valuable.Throughthe Creative Destruction Lab, I also connected with a strong group of women leaders and investors, and I’m really happy that we could bring some of them on board to our investment team.

Zoom, zoom, zoom

Over half of our investors I have not met face-to-face. Normally, I would have made trips to Toronto, Calgary, and the U.S. to connectin-person. Not during COVID-19. We ended up doing everything by Zoom, which was incredibly efficient. I could schedule five or six investor meetings in one day.

Of course, you want to present yourself in the best light — literally as well as figuratively. I learned all about setting up the right lighting, engaging with people virtually, making sure my hands were in frame and other tricks.

For three or four weeks, Iwas on constant calls with lawyers and investors. That’s hard anytime, but especially when your children can’t go to school, thanks to the pandemic.

Feeling the momentum

Today, I’m hugely excited about Evercloak’s future. With our seed funding wrapped up, we’re well positioned to advance our technology and build value in our company.

Our labs have been closed for the last couple of months because of COVID-19. Now that things are starting to open up again, I’m looking forward to doing the real hands-on work to keep improving our technology and build out our field demonstration units.

At the same time, we’re also assembling our dream team. We just brought on two full-time R&D staff and a newchief technology officer. We’re looking for a product engineer, and down the road we’ll be hiring someone to focus on business development and operations.

Being an entrepreneur — especially during a pandemic — means constantly juggling and putting out fires and being very strategic about what I focus on. But today, it feels like Evercloak is in a great place.

We have real momentum, and I have so much faith that we’ll create big impact.

Evelyn Allen