Navigating the Pre-Series A Marathon

April 9, 2024
4 min read
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Investor interactions can be a treasure trove of knowledge for refining your pitch.

  • How should founders prioritize during fundraising?
  • What traits are valuable for founders in these seasons?

Recently, we had the pleasure of sitting down with the Founder and CEO of, Shannon Hall, to learn about the ins and outs of raising early-stage capital. We delved into her story, and how her unique experiences taught her many lessons that can be passed on to anyone looking to follow in her footsteps. If any of the above questions piqued your curiosity, keep reading or watch her video below!

"Increased industry functionality is now being complemented with ecological sustainability along the lifespan of products–from production to usage to disposal. The pursuit of environmentally-friendly products and processes is transforming the way we produce and consume."

Kira Noodleman - Partner, Bee Partners

Read more about this industry's anticipated challenges in our Synthetic Biology Insight Paper or more about the mission and vision of on their website.


Shannon, one of our early-stage CEOs, advises emerging founders to transition from day-to-day tasks to securing investor funding, emphasizing resilience and strategic vision. Fundraising is a marathon, demanding endurance and agility. Every investor interaction is a chance to learn and improve pitches and personal relationships and self-care are crucial amid the hustle.

Shannon's knack lies in connecting curiosity with groundbreaking projects. Her company,, revolutionizes product development using fungal proteins, empowering sustainable alternatives like synthetic mozzarella cheese. Shannon's journey underscores resilience, adaptability, and continuous learning as essential traits for entrepreneurial success.

Shannon Hall: Startup Funding Wisdom

From Self-Reflection to Product Innovation

When moving from idea through the early fundraising stages, entrepreneurs often look retrospectively at the difficulties they've overcome. Shannon, now an experienced CEO when it comes to raising early-stage capital, offers sage advice to emerging founders: step one is to "fire yourself." This doesn't mean stepping down, rather it entails transitioning from day-to-day tasks to focusing on securing investor funding. It's about embracing the transformation from a doer to a strategic visionary.

Endurance in Fundraising

The journey isn't a sprint but a marathon, requiring continuous effort. Fundraising is demanding; it's an endurance test that only relentlessness can conquer. To survive this marathon, a founder must be ready for prolonged periods of intense work and unwavering dedication. Shannon emphasizes readiness and nimbleness. In an ever-changing landscape, a founder must be prepared for any situation, even when it comes to simple tools like a laptop and constant internet access at hand.

Agility is the name of the game in the dynamic start-up environment.

Embracing the Learning Curve

It is important to remember that every interaction with an investor becomes an opportunity to learn about one's business, preparedness, and communicating effectively. Reflecting on each meeting allows for continuous improvement of pitches and presentations. Fundraising success for Shannon came down to meticulous preparation. This involved refining her message, absorbing feedback, and continuously iterating her approach based on what resonated with investors. Beyond that, she recognizes the support from investors as a key aspect in fine-tuning the fundraising process.

Shannon's advice to first-time founders is resolute–"go get it." Starting a company is a thrilling chance to bring a vision to life. However, she cautions about the toll it takes on personal resources and stresses the importance of maintaining personal relationships and self-care amidst the hustle.

Her biography underscores her alignment around innovation and collaboration, with her happiness stemming from a profound curiosity combined with a team of sharp minds working on groundbreaking challenges. The fulfillment coming from setting aspirational goals and achieving them collectively has been a hallmark of her career and has aided her ability to overcome various challenges.

Did you know that Shannon's superpower ISN'T just fundraising; it's also connecting a team's insatiable curiosity with groundbreaking projects? She believes in setting aspirational goals and rallying troops to achieve them!

Revolutionizing Product Development Through Biology and Science

Discussing her current company, Shannon outlines how their work is vital in the product development chain, particularly illustrating how their delivery of fungal proteins enables the creation of synthetic biology products such as a sustainable and convincing alternative to mozzarella cheese.

Shannon concludes by highlighting their ability to accelerate processes and reduce costs, proving the power of biology and science as the heroes behind disruptive innovation. Through these insights from Shannon, entrepreneurs can glean a wealth of knowledge to prepare for their own pre-Series A quest. Resilience, adaptability, continuous learning, and balance are not just concepts; they are indispensable characteristics that carve the path toward entrepreneurial success.

3 Key Takeaways:

  • Hone A Marathon Mentality: Discovering the importance of resilience and the long-term grind of gathering capital will help level set expectations all around.
  • Be a Scout: Staying prepared, nimble, and ever-ready to adapt to the (inevitable) fast changes of the startup galaxy allows you to be ready to take advantage of any opportunity.
  • Fire Yourself First: Learning why stepping back from day-to-day tasks and focusing on raising funds can be your first big win.

Shannon and her Co-Founder, Ouwei, came through our third fund, and since the investment, the team has continued to grow its service and personnel. Click here to learn more about the Company and Team, or here if you are a Founder innovating in any of our three vectors.

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