DiveThru founder details 'painful decisions' to raise $800K in pre-seed funding

Mental wellness company DiveThru has raised $800,000 in a pre-seed round, founder Sophie Gray announced in a LinkedIn post.

While Gray was thrilled to share the news about the raise, which officially closed in August, she said she faced numerous challenges and setbacks along the way. She decided to share her experience in hopes that it would help other entrepreneurs going through the process while explaining the reality of what goes into raising a funding round.

"It took me eight months to close this round, hours of cold emailing and asking for introductions, so many 'nos' I lost count, and many painful decisions to ensure we kept the lights on," Gray wrote.

"I cried in my shower a number of times, lost hours of sleep, and would lay on the floor in my office completely unsure of what to do next."

Some of the difficult decisions included freezing spending and laying off team members because it wasn't possible to renew the grants that were used to pay for those positions.

"As the founder ... it's your responsibility to sacrifice for the greater good of the company," Gray told Taproot. Even with the cuts, the company still has 20 full-time employees.

Gray said DiveThru plans to use the funds to develop product-market fit, as it builds on its mental wellness offerings including podcasts, articles, newsletters, and online programs. As part of that strategy, the company just launched a subscription service and will be aiming to show investors that users are coming back to the products, finding them valuable, and will opt to pay for premium resources.

Sophie Gray's LinkedIn Post

Founder Sophie Gray announced DiveThru's successful pre-seed round last week, but it officially closed in August. (Sophie Gray/LinkedIn)

Gray has also started reaching out to more potential seed-stage investors as she looks ahead to launching DiveThru's next fundraising round during the first quarter of 2022. She said the aim is to raise close to $3 million.

As for the challenges she and other founders encounter when looking for investment, Gray would like to see more transparency throughout the process. She credits fellow entrepreneurs Ryan Tucker of G2V Optics and Jeff Lawrence of Granify with introducing her to potential investors and providing advice, which helped her through the process.

"We need people that have had positive experiences to support those that are struggling and make those introductions," Gray said.

In her post, she also offered some words of advice to her peers.

"Your belief in yourself through the ups and downs is what will get you through and get you to the 'yes' that will help you get to the next stage," Gray wrote.

"Be gentle with yourself. Be proud of yourself for persevering. And remember that crying in the shower is therapeutic."