Spearhead Capital: Looking for *ONE* Fast-Growing Start-Up to Take Mainstream

(Photo: Andrew Atkinson)


I am looking for one great company to put my name, brand, and entire network behind.

Usually, I do this through advising, and my start-ups include Uber, Evernote, Automattic (WordPress.com), and Shopify, among others. I’ve been with some of them from pre-seed money to $1-billion+ valuations.

Here’s my full bio and credentials, and below is a testimonial from one of my start-ups:

“Tim has played a huge part in putting Shopify on the map. He has been an advisor to Shopify since 2009, and he’s been invaluable in the growth of our business.

Back when no one knew about us, we were brainstorming with him. He challenged us to prove that building an online business was in fact as easy as we claimed. In order to accomplish that, and under Tim’s guidance and leadership, we created the Shopify Build-a-Business competition. Now, it’s one of the most important things that we do.

In the most recent Build-a-Business contest alone, more than 12,000 brand-new shops sold more than $55 million in products. It’s become the most popular ‘online retail’ competition in the world.

This helped Shopify ‘cross the chasm’ in terms of pushing Shopify’s brand to a mainstream audience.

It was risky, but Tim knew it would succeed – it was entirely consistent with his track record for PR and Marketing. Simply put, Tim is our secret weapon!”

– Harley Finkelstein, CPO

Shopify – The world’s most popular ecommerce platform for small businesses, currently powering more than 60,000 online stores that sell more than $1B in products annually. Shopify also powers stores for brands like Gatorade, Forbes, Budweiser, The Chive, and more.

Back to Spearhead Capital…

This time, I’m doing things differently: I’m raising an entire round of financing for one company… with unusual perks. I’ve been planning this for a long time, and it’s only possible now.

Here’s what it looks like…


You should want (or be willing) to raise $500,000-$1,000,000, and here are the benefits of doing it with me:

– I won’t take a board seat, so you retain all control.

– Massive national PR/exposure. This is going to get a LOT of attention, and I’m famous for maximizing impact (e.g. Forbes’ “The Tim Ferriss Effect” and AdAge awards for product launches).

– VCs usually want a minimum of 20% ownership. You can sell as little (or much) % as you want here.

– Once VCs see you succeed, you are in a massive position of strength and will probably receive unsolicited term sheets. This flips the tables. If you want optimal leverage for a larger round (say $5-10M total), raising a small amount with me makes sense.

– Minimal disclosure. You don’t have to pitch to investors and potential competitors.

What I’m looking for:

– Consumer-facing product/service (e.g. Evernote, StumbleUpon, Uber, etc.), or small-business focused product/service (e.g. Shopify), not enterprise software.

– 100K+ active users OR serial founder(s) with past exits OR 10K+ paying customers.

– 10%+ month-on-month activity growth.

– Clean cap table, minimal previous financing (or none), no bridge rounds.

– If you’re in “stealth” mode, you’d have to come out of stealth when I start fundraising, which would only last a few weeks.

– US-based companies, or companies willing to create US-based investable entities (which is easy). Shopify started in Canada, for instance.


Interested? I’m psyched. Please fill out this form. Deadline is July 25, 2013 at 5pm EST, and I’ll be in touch!

VERY big things ahead.


Please note: I’m only recruiting the start-up at this point in time. I’m not talking publicly about the mechanisms or process, so thanks for understanding if I can’t answer many questions in the comments.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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69 Replies to “Spearhead Capital: Looking for *ONE* Fast-Growing Start-Up to Take Mainstream”

  1. The fact that the requirements need “100K+ active users OR serial founder(s) with past exits OR 10K+ paying customers” probably rules out +90% of start up companies.

      1. I would love to take all comers, but it sadly wouldn’t be feasible to sort through them all. These criteria make the process manageable.

      2. I suppose you are more after companies who want to start to scale their business rapidly with “Timmy Effect”.

        It looks like a great opportunity to get a leg up.

      3. Tim, I have an idea for a product that would fall under the food/nutrition/infomercial category, but don’t know how to get started! How do I go about designing a prototype, and what other steps should I follow?

      1. No need to apologize, man. I’d be more worried if you weren’t excited about your start-up 🙂

      2. I moved to Helsinki to work with some great people in the tech sector. We started to build our first product, an ideation utility, and the team is just executing the concept well. Tim, you have in some ways really inspired how I operate within my startup. So, thanks for that. I hope to show you something really cool someday.

      3. Thank you, Vinesh. I am posting too much. Waiting to jump into my first meeting with some private investor. And find myself reading this blog instead. Okay, I will stop posting now.

    1. Not impossible. Just need right people to find the right idea, then find the right people that are capable, insightful and enthusiastic about doing right work, and meet right people/vendor and talk about just the right things. Even if you get just 10k+ users wouldn’t that be fun. Best of all, you could probably do all this for under $100 with $1,000,000 worth of commitment (you).

    2. Or perhaps finding another KPI of the proof of the concept.

      Allen, I’m not specialist, but more than ever now it’s time to do what others don’t do.

      And keep confidence 😉

    3. I agree with Mike. Well said.

      I know my side project has moved up the priority list thanks to this well timed kick in the ass.

  2. Tim, I’ve read the criteria but here’s what got me thinking… would you consider a start up that offers scarce goods (on a global level), currently taking only pre-orders and starting a campaign via Kickstarter in two weeks time?

    We do have proof of concept on a really small local scale and now we’re ready to test our concept on a global stage, similar approach to what FUBU did when it started out – becoming local heroes first and expand on that later – which is much more cost-effective (I wouldn’t say easier) then ever.

  3. Just seeing the criteria for acceptance taught me more than anything I’ve ever seen anywhere else. Perhaps because I’m currently in need of exactly what you are offering to assist with.

    I’ve got a prototype of a truly simple and paradigm shifting product ready to go to production build, marketing and sales. Looking for exactly what you are offering to fund – $820K. If you are looking for something that could make a massive splash with the proper marketing campaign behind it I’m your guy.

    I do not meet the rest of your criteria, however. I’m a serial successful entrepreneur on a, so far, small scale. I currently own a yoga studio and teach meditation for a living.

    Thanks for doing what you do. You teach much just by permitting us to watch you.

    1. A very successfully tested and paradigm shifting product ready to go into production and build. We’ve carefully spent about $100K and are ready to bring it to sale.

  4. Hey Tim,

    I’ve always thought you’d be a perfect person to spearhead what I’m doing.

    I have very ambitious plans that are in wellness-health market – and more specifically I want to help people learn about health and help them become healthy.

    I’m not at the 100K+ users yet though, however I’m 1 or 2 steps from exponential growth leading to reach 100M+ active users.

    I’m also organizing a crowdfunding campaign for the fall of this year – which at minimum it will generate a large amount of exposure.

    I’m wanting to and have a plan to build a billion dollar company – money not being important to me, though is a sign of successfully reaching goals / life aspirations.

    I am essentially planning to develop and launch the equivalent of 4+ startups at the same time. My background of experience will allow me to guide my vision, though some areas I will need help with.

    Wish I could have a short conversation with you to give you a private summary of who I am, what I’m working on, the brands I’m building, etc..

    Lastly, I’d genuinely love to be working with you.

    Should I fill out the form? Could I ask for a moment of your time to talk privately?

    Here’s to trying to connect with you..

    Warmest regards,


  5. How bout helping the guys over at campaign.soylent.me/! They are growing fast and have a pretty innovative idea.


    My startup but we are literally just starting up. Filming our kickstarter video this saturday. ZOMBABIEZ!!!

    1. I agree with Dan!!! Soylent is the thing I would be investing in right now if I had the capital! I’m sure Tim has heard of them by now, but I wonder what his opinion is of the idea?

    2. Hi Dan,

      If you haven’t already been selected by Kickstarter, you may want to look at Indiegogo.com. I am getting ready to launch a campaign on there by the end of the month. Watch for us as we Jump Start Just One!

      Best Regards,

      Jo Ann

      1. Thanks Nathan. I really do believe they are onto something pretty big and wish them a lot of success – but I wont try it for another few months. You know until they smooth out the kinks.

        Jo Ann, I looked into Indiegogo and still think Im going to stick with kickstarter. Although they do have some better terms, they dont have the reach kickstarter does. Wish you the best on your project


    1. Agreed. This is a fantastic and generous opportunity, Tim. I only wish I had a startup to submit an application. Looking forward to the outcome!

  6. Tim, as you know, once in awhile an opportunity of epic proportions presents itself. We have created that opportunity and we would be humbled if you considered working with us to explode our business. We have applied, and we shall wait to hear from you. Thank you.

  7. Tim you’re killing me! My heart dropped seeing this post, and then as if the universe were taunting me it followed me to Hacker News too!

    You’re one of my personal heroes and I’ve been diligently working on a startup for the last year and a half, only to launch two days ago… and then I see this! Haha what luck … why couldn’t you have waited a month to release this so I could be meeting your criteria?!? Oh well, such is life, lol, best of luck with your new endeavors.

    1. Thanks for the comments, all!

      Reece, not to worry. I’ll be working with start-ups for a long time to come 🙂

      Kia kaha,


  8. Hi Tim

    Would you be able to drop by for one of the pitch nights that we are having in a building near the Glenn Park Bart Station?

    We are a bunch of students who are serious about founding tech startups, and have come from various different countries to live together in a hacker house in that building for this summer break.

  9. Thanks for the template of a perfect Pitch.

    It also made me realize that 80% of marketing yourself is CREATING CREDENTIALS. The remaining 20% being getting into the mind of your prospect.

    Unfortunately, reality TV-stars are getting into the mind of nearly everyone with no credentials whatsoever.

  10. The more I follow your blog and the more I read about the things you’ve done and are doing the more I am blown away and inspired! Keep at it, your impacting more than your know!

  11. dear Tim,

    I´ll write you very very SHORT and I´ll explain you why I KNOW we are meant to meet in the future.

    All my life I´ve had a really supreme self esteem and a driven heart in doing everything I do… I just needed to figure out what was my purpose in life…

    Thanks to your 4HWW I skipped 9 to 5 to become a Hollywood actor…right now I´m producing as a lead in my my first feature, I´m casted in my second as supporting and moving to L.A. in september… Thanks also to 4HWW but more over a kick ass PR, marketing and communications agency here in Sweden called Studio Total (you should read what they did over the Belarus border with their tiny airplane fooling the dictator´s missile barrier…) that are radically controversial as you will read… their method let me produce this film in RECORD times of film history…which I´ll proof when I sell it in Hollywood this fall and … why not… write a book about how I did it… (therefore our inevitable meeting about time optimization and writing

    PLUS..today, last day of pre production and first night before shooting, I started the 4HBody schedule, well the SCD and I´ve never been so excited about going to the groceries, planning my meals and making dinner to myself!!!

    Kind Regards

    Dave Leon

  12. Are you looking for software only or can it by a physical product. I see product as more challenging to scale.

  13. 2 questions Tim.

    1. Why are you doing this?

    2. Are you doing this now because you feel it might be the end of the 15 minutes of fame?

    Not criticising, just curious.

  14. This is awesome Tim! Very impressed you’re doing this.

    I just got incubator round funding for a new wearable electronics company — I think you’ll like it. Related to something we’ve spoken about.

    Expect an application from me in a few days. Nice.


  15. Bummer, we meet all the criteria and just received our term sheet from our lawyer this week for our series A, but our primary customer is enterprise.

    Would love to work with you Tim as you bring more into the fold later on, perhaps we could be the first enterprise company/app in your portfolio!

  16. Great opportunity – I hope you do this every 6 months!

    Bothsider is just launching, so we don’t meet your user criteria (but we will soon).

  17. Ben her zaman ben ne yap?yorum öncülük için mükemmel bir insan olaca??n? dü?ündüm.

  18. Hi Tim. I’m a serial entrepreneur that’s had three partnerships become unsatisfying… not that they cost me money, I just lost the joy for my startups after they became NOT all mine. For this reason I’ve spoken out against partnerships on my blog.

    THEN, I started watching Shark Tank. Saw that you were an advisor for the Coffee Joulies guys. Read other stuff about you as well, and got your three books 🙂 I’ve since concluded that partnerships MAY be fruitful, but on one condition: you partner “UP”.

    I don’t have any great scalable ideas on the burner right now, but if I did this contest would be the one to enter. DO you plan on doing others in the future?

    Keep Stepping,


  19. Hey Tim,

    What’s the process post-form submittal? Do you have a selection process (ex. interviews, etc?).

    BTW, love the idea and focus on this – hope to chat further.

    (PS – we met in Oshawa and I gave you a short demo of our online guides – inspired by your 4H books)

  20. Just submitted for a cash flow positive business that is democratizing business sustainability while improving the economy. Thanks for this opportunity!

  21. Awesome idea, this is more compelling than any VC pitch I’ve seen, especially for bootstrappers. I met you at a Summit event and greatly enjoyed your insights. Thanks for showing SV how it’s done.

  22. I truly admire the fact that you continue being motivated, Tim and are constantly working on new stuff. What’s your secret to never rest on laurels?

  23. Hi Tim,

    This is kind of off topic from the blog post but I didn’t know where else I could put this.

    I am in a rut on how I can move forward with my business and am wondering if you guys could advise me on what to do.

    I read your book ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ and found it really inspiring. I have been following the steps in the book on how to create and sell a product. So far what I have done is this:

    I contacted a company that does private labeling and asked them to make an Antioxidant Day Cream with Red Tea and they can, but I haven’t invested any money into that. My target audience is young women interested in purchasing luxury skin care products around 18-27 years old who want healthy hydrated skin.

    I launched a contest on 99designs to get custom packaging for my product and I recieved a really good design.

    I bought the $14/month store package on Shopify and put my product with a description and the price ($53.35) that you can look at here: http://velencia.myshopify.com/collections/all

    Here’s where I started runnning into some problems:

    I started a Google Adwords campaign and set my budget at $15/day and my CPC at $0.20. So far I have recieved 82 clicks Tuesday, 88 clicks Wednesday, 35 clicks Thursday, and 0 clicks Today. Most of the people that have clicked on my ad have been somewhere from Asia but not many have been in the U.S. I have tweaked my keywords and my targeted countries and changed my ads but I still haven’t gotten any orders for my products.

    I am wondering if any of you guys have suggestions on how to get more traffic to my online store and how to get people to the store that will actually purchase.

    Thanks in advance,


  24. Tim,

    This is a great idea. Don’t currently meet your requirements, but would certainly love to see you do this again soon. Even a few times a year if possible.

  25. Excited, no I am stoked about this possible opportunity! I have never tried this before, but I am ready! The information I am providing has been tried and tested on myself as well as a few others. So, “pick me, pick me!”

    Thank you for the opportunity Tim

  26. Hi Tim,

    I read the 4-Hour Workweek when it first came out (which feels like almost a decade ago now), and really changed how I think. That, and it connected me to Get Friday. I still use them, believe it or not!

    Was psyched to see this post above in my Inbox. Our startup Motion Traxx, is a digital media company in the fitness space. We describe ourselves as a ‘Pandora for fitness.’

    We’ve had the type of type of traction you described (bootstrapped), and have actually begun raising our first outside round of capital this year. Will be applying to Spearhead for sure. Thanks for this initiative.

  27. Hey Tim!

    Last year’s Shopify Build a Biz competition provided the extra motivation we needed to turn our idea into a real business. We’re currently sitting just below your minimum requirements but on track to hit them in the next month or two! Remembering your contact-a-celebrity example from the 4HWW, I went ahead and submitted our company info anyways.

    Thanks for all the good information and direction you have provided us up until this point. Even if we don’t get the opportunity to work together, we would love to send you some of our products for you to taste!

  28. Though I don’t have a consumer-facing product/service as of yet (all B2B for now), I’m glad that your criteria has been published.

    Though, I have to agree with Vinesh that the bar is set a little high.

  29. We are not quite there yet….but give us another 12-18 months and we will be ready to show the world a different way of running a clothing company. Thanks for yet another motivational-kick 🙂

  30. Tim,

    Timing is everything…and in this case it works against me! lol I just launched a fitness video service for those 50+ 3 weeks ago! 🙂

    Please keep doing the great things you’re doing to aid “us” start-ups. I hope you’ll provide another opportunity for us in the future.


  31. Applied and while we don’t meet every piece of criteria, you won’t find a more unique founder or company, I can guarantee that. We’d love to hustle our way to huge success with you by our side. Best of luck to everyone and thanks for the chance Tim.

  32. Hi Tim,

    I tried to apply for the partnership yesterday but you wouldn’t accept an Aussie phone number. The criteria is US-based companies, or companies willing to create US-based investable entities, so I comply.

    Can I still apply? Steph

  33. Snap. Working on my big thing, with my nose to grindstone… “no time blogs” I say. Miss TF deadline by 12 hours. FML.

  34. Dude!

    Your short and sweet form on this project was badass. I forgot to save the questions for reference.

    Would you mind posting them here?



  35. Dear Donna,

    Hope you’re fine and had great holidays.

    Could you please just let me know if you have received the package with the red rucksack containing gifts for Tim and an Eau de Parfum Chanel for you.

    Among the gifts for Tim, there were handmade Japanese paper, and other things I had tried to choose according to his tastes.

    That would be nice to confirm if you have received this package.

    (I’m not sure you’re receiving my emails)



  36. I’m curious to find out what blog system you happen to be utilizing?

    I’m having some minor security issues with my latest site and I’d like to find something more safeguarded.

    Do you have any suggestions?