Fundraising and The Messy Middle

This is Week 07 of 09 of Astra’s Y Combinator Startup School Journal.

This week’s SUS program included a range of lectures from Startup Technology to A Conversation on Hard Tech to Fundraising Fundamentals.

This lecture with Geoff Ralston (YC Partner) was particularly valuable. He shares some great rules of thumb (eg. how much to raise) as well as frames up the process of fundraising in such a way that makes it seem less daunting (i.e. you will get lots of no’s but that’s really just a difference between your and the investor’s vision of the future).

What is it about your product, your opportunity that's gonna tell a story about the future, that a venture capitalist would care about?


This week we attended the Tuesday lectures, headed back to the office for a quick meeting before driving up to the city for book launch event (thanks Founder Collective and Homebrew for hosting!). Although not officially related to Startup School, Scott Belsky‘s The Messy Middle is a great complement to the content from YC. TL;DR: Optimize the peaks and Endure the valleys!

  • Attended lectures on Tuesday and rewatched Fundraising Fundamentals to unpack further
  • Office Hours on Thursdays
  • Spent some time on outreach via SUS forum and Reddit, in addition to Personal Finance bloggers



A couple of our users reported stale balances in the app and we realized we needed to handle the associated Plaid tokens when in an error state. We did a big push to get that developed so users would be able to reauthenticate those accounts. 😅

  • Developed reconnect account flow per account
  • Added an app rating modal to help surface Astra in the App Store
  • Released v1.0.11



Our growth efforts this week were all long term bets. With fixes above and some optimization tweaks to the App Store listing, we are hoping next week’s organic signups get a boost. With the little remaining time, we:

  • Outreach on r/Fintech and r/Startups on Reddit
  • Outreach to Personal Finance bloggers

Per our refined dashboard, this week’s user stats:

  • 237 Total Users (+13)
  • 221 Signed Up Users (+11)
  • 102 Onboarded Users (+12)
  • 57 Verified Users (+4 or 8%)

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