Meet Alex Rainey, co-founder of Pluto.insure which recently closed funding on SeedLegals.
Hey Alex 👋 what made you start Pluto?
Pluto really started as a result of 2 things. Firstly, insurance as a space has so much opportunity for design, tech, compassion and emotion to make a difference - this is hugely motivating for the founding team. Secondly, and probably most importantly is that we all love to travel (ironically, we travel less now since we started our own company, but hey!). We've all had our fair share of things going wrong while away and know how terrible to experience can be. Holidays should be nothing but positive, but things do go wrong. Our mission is really to take the bad bits out of travel, and this is our starting point.
What funding have you received so far?
We raised just under £150k last summer and are in the process of closing our funding round now (on SeedLegals!) for up to £750k. We have secured and closed up to £150k of that through the SeedFAST tool, super important for us, as it allows us to continue growing at pace and not have to rush closing our round.
How was your experience with SeedLegals?
Fantastic. There are few companies that I talk to anyone I meet about, and SeedLegals is one of them (even with people not starting a business). On top of being cost effective, the simplicity and ease of use is brilliant. Founders agreements, IP agreements, digital Cap table, SeedFASTs, I could go on!
How did you find your investors, and were they angels or VCs?
Our investors to date and in this round more so, are a real mix. We have angels and high-net-worths, some syndicates but also a few early stage VCs. We found most of them through our immediate network but quickly realised your network can explode when you leverage the investors you're already speaking to. They like to introduce you to others, bring other people or institutions on board when it makes sense.
Any advice for finding the right investors?
If you have a good network already, this is your best starting point, but this may not always be possible, so I'll focus on another area that we've used. Speak to other startups in your niche or market, for us, that's InsurTech. The majority of other founders will treat you like family and love to help each other, don't be afraid to ask for introductions, a list of investors they created, the feedback they had from those investors and so on. This means that you'll get intros to investors that another founder is vouching for and you don't end up sitting across the table from a complete...you know what.
3 pieces of fundraising advice?
1) Keep at it. Even when you think you're getting nowhere, it's a test of perseverance and persistence. The hit rate for investors saying yes, even for the most famous companies today, was low when they started.
2) We always make sure to understand every 'no' we get, analyse that and decide whether there is a recurring theme or if it was just a personal concern. If you changed your business with the advice of every investor you meet, you'll end up trying to do everything which results in doing nothing.
3) Then when you get the 'yes', make sure to do your own due diligence on them, not only will it show them your thinking about investment intelligently, but you may have your investor for longer than you've had most relationships, so consider that!
What's next on the horizon for Pluto?
We're going deep on travel! Without sharing everything we have planned, we're doubling down on our vision to remove the bad bits about travel, that means helping people prevent things going wrong, and being there when things do go wrong. In practice in the short term, that means understanding more about where and when people are going away, and providing useful information and helpful services when there's an issue.