Raising Capital In Mudville

Raising Capital In Mudville

If Casey was looking for venture capital rather than a belt-high fastball...and met the same untimely end.

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"Casey At The Bat"

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:

The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,

And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,

A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

 

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest

Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;

They thought, "If only Casey could but get a whack at that—

We'd put up even money now, with Casey at the bat."

 

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,

And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;

So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,

For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

 

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,

And Blake, the much despisèd, tore the cover off the ball;

And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,

There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

 

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;

It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;

It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,

For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

 

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;

There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile lit Casey's face.

And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,

No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

 

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;

Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;

Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,

Defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

 

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,

And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.

Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped—

"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one!" the umpire said.

 

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,

Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;

"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;

And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

 

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;

He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;

He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;

But Casey still ignored it and the umpire said, "Strike two!"

 

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"

But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.

They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,

And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

  

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate,

He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;

And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,

And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

 

Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;

And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,

But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.

Written By: Ernest L. Thayer, circa 1888

"Raising Capital In Mudville"

The outlook seemed disastrous as they chased their series A

The MVP was clunky while it promised “plug and play.”

The vision was impressive, expectations to proclaim

The product felt like vaporware - derivative and lame.


Some early employees had walked in deep despair, the rest 

Clung to the inspiration that the founders had expressed,

They thought “a single customer with whom we could transact

Would justify our vision and some capital, attract.”


But coffers still were dwindling and the market stayed opaque,

The founders flailed and hustled, but they couldn’t catch a break,

So devs sat adding features, while accounts would just subtract,

With little cause for hope that any funding they’d attract.


But R&D’s progression and some coding wherewithal,

Suggested that the outfit could their terminus forestall

With angel funds, IP, and hope, each brave, ambitious nerd, 

With flagging valuations, still proceeded undeterred, 


The pitches were prepared with care, their fiscal thirst to quell,

The conference rooms awaited as the salesmen prepped to sell;

The elevators rose and fell, the seats were VC-packed,

The gathering of wealthy crowds, their funding to attract.

 

With style, AI, HDMI, projections would retrace,

The origin, the journey, and the ready marketplace,

The fateful moments came as founders hoped their deck was stacked,

A unicorn-in-waiting if some funding they’d attract


The founders spoke with confidence, their future to assert,

The VC firm chose harsher terms, some pressure to exert.

The founders spoke of scaling, current status to outstrip,

The VCs spoke of ICPs and flaws in leadership.


The founders quoted Turing while the VCs chose Voltaire,

A product trumps perfection knows each self-made billionaire.

And so with mathematics and abstraction founders pled,

“But who will buy the product?  More than words you must embed.”


“It’s novel and it’s brilliant,” desperate founders did implore,

But revenue’s a better way to try and build rapport.

“There’s other POCs to build - we’re grossly undermanned!”

“They’re all a POS without some customers in hand.” 

 

“There’s software here to license, can’t you throw this dog a bone?”

“You want an acquihire?  Or your freedom and a loan?” 

The founders still pursued, in turn the funders still withdrew,

No equity, just enmity, so easy to construe.

 

In years to come, the tales are told of business fit and flawed,

Commercialized, democratized, disruptive, fair or fraud.

Of LLCs and B2Bs where capital is gained,

Where dogfood is consumed and bootstrapped building blocks are chained.

 

The PE firms with cash to burn will churn at different rates,

And contracts starve new hires with their stingy boilerplates.

The sellouts, burnouts, spinouts have their MVPs to show,

The nascent aspirations of their brilliant CTO.

 

Oh somewhere in the valley, there are passions to ignite,

The incubators hum, and their investors’ yields delight.

And exits are spactacular and IPOs breakout…

…but there is no joy in Cali, for the runway had run out.

Written By: Evan Coopersmith & AE Studio


"Casey At The Bat"

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:

The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,

And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,

A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

 

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest

Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;

They thought, "If only Casey could but get a whack at that—

We'd put up even money now, with Casey at the bat."

 

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,

And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;

So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,

For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

 

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,

And Blake, the much despisèd, tore the cover off the ball;

And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,

There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

 

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;

It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;

It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,

For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

 

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;

There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile lit Casey's face.

And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,

No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

 

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;

Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;

Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,

Defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

 

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,

And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.

Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped—

"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one!" the umpire said.

 

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,

Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;

"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;

And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

 

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;

He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;

He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;

But Casey still ignored it and the umpire said, "Strike two!"

 

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"

But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.

They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,

And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

  

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate,

He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;

And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,

And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

 

Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;

And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,

But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.

Written By: Ernest L. Thayer, circa 1888

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