Sol Orwell explains what every startup needs to know before taking funding

sol orwell

For many startups that are slowly finding success, it can be tempting to take the first funding offer that investors throw at you.

But Sol Orwell, an entrepreneur whose last venture, Examine.com, was entirely bootstrapped, said that he’s always said no to funding simply because it “didn’t jive with the kind of life” that he wanted to lead.

Orwell presented a few questions to founders that were thinking about taking funding, including whether they actually need the money considering that starting a company is cheaper than it was even ten years ago, and what their actual end goals were.

“If you take a step back and think about it, do you want to be a disruptor? Or do you want to build something that’s part of you — an extension of you?” Orwell asked. “The idea of working for ‘the man’, for me as an immigrant, was the worst idea possible. But if I’m taking investment money am I not just replacing ‘the man’ with somebody else?”

Ultimately, Orwell said that investment money can mean giving up freedom as founders taking funding are beholden to investors — for him, it’s important to be the final decider of how he grows his companies, without totally destroying his personal life.

“If I want to take an hour-long walk with my dog, I can do it. If I want to watch a movie matinee, I can do it,” he said. “At the end of the day, what I always tell myself is that I’m not here to dominate, but I’m still here to make a dent.”

Watch Orwell’s talk: