This week I learned a phrase I’d never heard of: Type 2 Fun.
Anyone who’s ever raised money needs to know about Type 2 Fun.
Most fun, like having a great meal, seeing a comedy show, or playing catch, is just… fun. As you’re doing the activity, you enjoy it. That’s the point.
Some fun, though, actually feels horrible while you’re mid-activity. Painful. Exhausting. Even scary.
Afterwards, elated at having pushed beyond your previous limits and proud to have tapped into new levels of grit, the struggle becomes a fond but distant memory. Look at what you’ve achieved! Think of what you’ve learned! How FUN!
Marathons and deep woods backpacking are like this for me. So too, I’m realizing, is fundraising.
The challenge with Type 2 Fun is that when someone asks you how it’s going DURING the activity, the socially (and commercially, in the case of fundraising) acceptable answer is to tell them what they want to hear.
They don’t want to hear about the slog. The excruciating “slow maybes,” seemingly endless follow-up emails sent with no response. How another investor just turned you down.
They want to hear that it’s all fun and roses. A dash of struggle to make it more believable, but focus on the triumph. The success. They want the hero’s journey.
It usually goes like this:
Colleague: “I saw that you’re fundraising, how is it going?”
Me: “Yes, we are! Well, markets are tough, but we’re ahead of pace for where we were last time, and we’re feeling really confident!”
I’ve landed on this response because I believe it strikes the right balance between honesty (markets are tough; we are ahead of pace) and positivity (“really confident!”). Fundraising, like sales more broadly, is a momentum game, afterall.
But with Type 2 Fun, by definition, giving these answers feels inauthentic at best. At worst, it feels like salt on an open wound.
Fundraising, while raising, mostly sucks. There are highs, for sure. And we are, indeed, well ahead of pace based on last time. But no matter how well it’s going, fundraising is Type 2 Fun, and Type 2 Fun never feels like it’s going well.
Truth be told, I’d forgotten this because ever since we raised Fund I, I’ve been basking in the post-Type 2 Fun haze of positivity. Now that I’m back in it, I remember.
But I also remember why we’re fundraising. Why this matters. To me. To us. To our founders who live this struggle each day. And, if we succeed, to the planet.
So here’s to embracing Type 2 Fun and knowing that, by its very definition, better times are coming. We will raise this fund. And when we look back at the challenges we overcame, the sense of accomplishment we’ll feel from working together to create the impact we want to see in the world will be more than worth it.
This is the latest post in our “fundraising out loud” series. To learn more about investing in Fund II and our vision for a climate resilient food system, get in touch here. Early-stage agri-food tech startups looking for funding, reach out here.
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