As we discussed in our opening episode of Season 2, raising money for your startup works differently between the coasts than it does in Silicon Valley, New York, or Boston. Non-coastal founders need to build strong relationships and prove their business model if they hope to secure funding, and they also need to understand what makes their particular community tick. Because as it turns out, not all heartland tech ecosystems are created equal.

This is a fact that our two guests for today’s show know all too well. David Hall is a partner at the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, a role that has taken him around the country to meet some of the most innovative startups in America’s burgeoning tech hubs. And Mike Preuss (who has previously joined us on the podcast) is the founder of stakeholder-reporting software Visible, which helps more than 2,000 companies on six continents track and share key business metrics with investors and other business partners. Together, the two possess an intimate understanding of the ways that unique regional factors influence how entrepreneurs and investors operate.

In this episode, David and Mike help us go beyond one-size-fits-all fundraising advice to explain how the characteristics of your tech community should influence the way you interact with investors and raise capital. They point out some of the most pertinent similarities and differences between regional tech hubs, break down what a healthy founder-investor relationship looks like, and ultimately illustrate how founders can use their community’s unique identity to their advantage when raising money.

In this episode with David Hall and Mike Preuss, you’ll learn:

  • Key similarities and differences between non-coastal tech hubs (9:17).

  • An experienced investor’s high-level work and life advice for entrepreneurs (15:46).

  • The benefits that thorough stakeholder reporting can provide for every startup (22:51).

  • How to build a talented team and loyal customer base between the coasts (33:38).

  • Proven strategies for nurturing healthy founder-investor relationships(37:33).

  • How founders and investors should approach fundraising in non-coastal cities(49:16).

​Please enjoy this conversation with David Hall and Mike Preuss!

If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. You can also follow us on Soundcloud or Stitcher. We have an incredible lineup of interviews we’ll be releasing every Tuesday here on the Powderkeg Podcast.

David Hall and Mike Preuss quotes from this episode of Powderkeg:

“One of the biggest things that surprised me when I moved out to San Francisco is how willing people are to help, and I’m starting to see that across all these different ecosystems.” — @MikePreuss on @PowderkegCo

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“Non-coastal companies typically grow slower, but into just as ripe types of market opportunities, so I wouldn’t let that dissuade investors from looking at opportunities in rising cities.” — @dhall3 on @PowderkegCo

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“Sharing what’s going wrong is how you can get the most help from your investors, because they’ve seen it before. But it’s also hard for a company, because you’re admitting that something’s not going right, and that’s scary.” — @MikePreuss on @PowderkegCo

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“It’s important for founders to create deep network density as a community, because that helps put more companies on the radar of top-tier investors.” — @dhall3 on @PowderkegCo

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Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Companies and organizations:

Rise of the Rest



Akamai Technologies

Morgan Stanley

Revolution Money




ExactTarget (now Salesforce Marketing Cloud)

Teach For America

SEEVA Technologies



Orr Fellowship




Venture capital firms and seed funds:

Rise of the Rest Seed Fund

Real Ventures


Morehouse College

Harvard Business School

Carnegie Mellon University

Indiana University Bloomington


The Washington Post


Powderkeg: Igniting Startups #55 with Ari Newman and Mike Preuss

Powderkeg: Igniting Startups #56 with Don Aquilano, Shwetha Pai and Brian Powers

Software and apps:







Google Sheets


David Hall (@dhall3)

Mike Preuss (@MikePreuss)

Steve Case (@SteveCase)

Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos)

Howard Schultz (@HowardSchultz)

Naval Ravikant (@naval)

Sheila Johnson (Wikipedia)

Dale Carnegie (Wikipedia)

Did you enjoy this conversation? Thank David & Mike on Twitter!

If you enjoyed this session and have few seconds to spare, let them know via Twitter by clicking on the links below:

Click here to say hi and thank David on Twitter!

Click here to say hi and thank Mike on Twitter!


What stood out most to you about what David & Mike share in this podcast?

For me, it’s how founders and investors should approach fundraising in non-coastal cities.

You? Leave a comment below.


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