On this episode of How to Raise A Round, we sat down with Miri Buckland and Ellie Buckingham, co-founders of The Landing, a community platform for visual inspiration, curation, and design. Ellie and Miri leveraged their fundraising campaign to test product-market fit, and ultimately used this customer feedback loop to raise a $2.5M seed round.
Miri and Ellie’s story
In 2017, Ellie and Miri took a road trip from Stanford to LA. Along the way, the pair discussed business school and how they were furnishing their apartments. They quickly realized they were both looking to create in the home furnishing space, and by the time they arrived, they had conceptualized the end-to-end furnishing and design process that would become The Landing.
After graduating from Stanford, Ellie and Miri raised an angel round and began beta testing in San Francisco. After a summer of moving furniture around themselves, the pair realized their model was unsustainable, leaving no space to scale.
In early 2020, Ellie and Miri put together a pitch deck and began meeting with investors. After several no’s, they decided to make the most of meetings they had by digging into investor feedback. Ellie and Miri began sending their slide deck out to investors ahead of the meeting, so that the time spent together was focused entirely on addressing investors’ concerns. Then, COVID hit.
Ellie and Miri used COVID to take a step back from their funding process. After securing an extension from their angel investors, they set out to redesign their platform based on the feedback collected. Miri and Ellie rebuilt the home furnishing service into a social design platform—and were once again ready to raise.
The investors that initially rejected the Landing became a critical part of Ellie and Miri’s seed round. The pair took investors who had offered helpful feedback and added them to their monthly email update list. When they were ready, Ellie and Miri could return with their new and improved product—showing their problem-solving chops.
After securing a check from Unshackled Ventures, the co-founders began to focus on finding the right fund to lead their seed round, eventually settling on Cowboy Ventures after a long vetting process. By doing reference checks and detailed research into potential investors, Ellie and Miri could be sure they were set up for support and success, ultimately raising $2.5M.
In our discussion with Ellie and Miri, we learn:
Using your seed round as a learning process can be the key to success if you stay humble and open to constructive feedback.
You can turn a no into a yes with consistent communication and thoughtful problem solving.
Making sure your investors are a good fit for your company is an important part of the process—especially at the seed stage when you need support!