RF13 | 9 Tips For a Successful Fundraising Strategy with Cally Russell of Mallzee

Cally Russell - Mallzee - Refashion Podcast

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Cally Russell is a young entrepreuner leading the pack at Mallzee. Cally and his team just raised a $844,000 round of investment with plans for international expansion and doubling their team of 14 in the next 12 months. He holds a passion for changing the way we interact online and how design and data should be key in this.

Described as the Tinder for shopping and the personal shopper in your pocket, Mallzee’s mission is to remove the friction in buying clothes. Mallzee searches over two million items from 200 stores to find you clothes personally selected for you while allowing you to share your choices with friends and get opinions before you buy.

9 Tips for a Successful Fundraising Strategy

  1. Identify the right target investors. Know the relevancy and interests of who you’re pitching to.
  2. Build relationships with investors over time. People buy from people they like, trust, respect and believe. There are no quick wins
  3. You better come across passionate and all in
  4. Storytell and have a narrative. Take the complexity out of your business and industry to help investors better understand the context.
  5. Fundraising is a contact sport. Travel and talk to people. Don’t limit yourself to one city.
  6. Fundraising takes time so continuously take VC meetings. Always be fundraising
  7. Investors back companies where they see traction. If you continue to deliver against what you said, you’ll find great supporters.
  8. Have a strong PR and marketing strategy so you can send email updates with collateral to potential VCs. PR also helps to generate inbound funding opportunities
  9. Pay it forward. Be part of the community and ecosystem


With fundraising, it’s all about the personal connection and meeting people. You will get a huge amount of nos before you get a yes. Know some of those nos will be yes’s in the future.


Podcast Deep Dive

  • Personalization (4:05)
  • How to develop technology your customers will use (6:13)
  • Learn to validate your concept like Mallzee (7:19)
  • Early PR & marketing strategies you should use to compliment your fundraising strategy (8:15)
  • The essentials to your fundraising strategy (10:40)
  • How to find the right investors and to raise money when you’re not in a major VC market (12:02)
  • What to expect at a fashion tech event like Decoded Fashion London (13:24)
  • How long it really takes to get third parties on board (17:31)
  • The future of personalization (21:07)
  • The future of personalization is removing friction in the buying and discovery process on mobile


    Interesting Goodies

  • Cally launched Mallzee in December 2013 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Yahoo! named Mallzee as one of the 6 Apps Changing Shopping Forever
  • They’re releasing a new iOS version this August and just released a beta iPad version

    Quotes from Cally

    “Personalization is the future of shopping.”

    “Technology is only useful only if customers embrace it.”

    “This is not a game to be shy in, in the slightest.”

    “Even if you’re going after the same market, talk to you competitor. Go for a coffee. One day you might buy them or they might buy you.”

    “If you’ve launched a product, that’s not the hook. Products get launched all the time. It’s what is the meat in the story. What is the hook? What is it that they can sink their teeth into?”

    “It’s not about press, it’s not about investment, it’s about general people. If you continue to deliver against what you said, you’ll find great supporters.”

    You can download Mallzee here at the app store.

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