Season 10 - The second round of fundraising

Episode 8 - November 2022-January 2023 - Everything is ready. We’re going back to the front!

Adrien Aumont — After this moment of introspection, the idea of going back to the front for a new roadshow is exciting. Very exciting. Some investors already know us, but in this environment, everything moves quickly. A failed round of financing sometimes means the end of an entrepreneurial adventure. But not for us, not for Midnight Trains. We have invested too much of ourselves and believe too deeply in our model to back down now. We’ve always said it. We’re guided by two key values: seriousness and optimism.

Plus, we’re not the only ones who back it. The investment bank has no doubt in its ability to raise funds to carry out this project. As soon as it started looking at our file, the analysis was very clear. It’s a lot less risky than some of the other projects they’ve gone through with. And with staggering amounts of money. Some were more than what we need. Honestly, it makes us feel good to hear that. They’re fundraising specialists and bring a fresh perspective to the project. They don’t have the weight of previous failures on their shoulders. They’re confident. Which helps us believe that we’re not aliens, and are just the only ones who believe in Midnight Trains and its innovative approach. As a reminder, the bank will not be paid if it can’t complete the financing... So it has no interest in taking on a project it doesn’t believe in.

Romain Payet — Even though the launch of this new roadshow is exciting, it doesn't happen in a day. It’s not sending emails to a list of VCs (venture capital funds) as we might have previously. First of all, it’s the investment bank that’s in charge. Thanks to the in-depth expertise of its teams and its network of talented associates, it presents our file to the different infrastructure funds we’ve selected together. Those with whom it’s close, and has already carried out financing. But also those it has collaborated with less often. To do this, it makes contacts with as many different forms as funds. Finally, it sends emails containing the new presentation file to prospects it’s never collaborated with and/or doesn’t have a direct link to. These three categories have one thing in common. The investment bank – which knows their needs and masters major market trends – considers that they may be interested in Midnight Trains. That this file is relevant at this precise moment. Their expertise lies in this clever balance.

In total, it takes almost three weeks. Answers take time. So much so that when we leave to join our families for the Christmas holidays, we only have the start of the answers. We know from the investment bank that the first signs of interest are coming in. At this stage, we’ve only targeted the core audience: infrastructure funds, growth funds and so-called corporate funds (we’ll come back to this soon in an episode) that are best suited to financing Midnight Trains. However, they only received a teaser, barely a few slides presenting the project. And anonymous ones at that. Something like this: New entrant in the railway sector is looking for funds to finance the launch of its first line. I'm summarising a little, of course, but the idea is there. If funds want more, they must sign a confidentiality agreement. If they do so, they have access to confidential information about the project. Concrete numbers. On which they immediately put a team. Because, unlike VCs, they study the subject in depth before submitting a letter of interest. They neither reject nor accept it easily. They dig deep. They look for what might work and what might go wrong. They’re looking for what could work and fit their investment thesis. They study the possibilities. Which of course, takes time.

Nicolas Bargelès — In Christmas 2022, we left our families in complete uncertainty. With high hopes, but only snippets of answers. Psychologically, it’s a difficult moment for the whole team. We’ve repeated it enough - we really do believe in this project. Still, it's hard to leave, and to see that the entire business world is turning off the lights to go and eat while we’ve just sent our file to all these potential investors. We’re waiting for a decisive answer for the sequel to Midnight Trains. Our liquidity is dwindling and we know that this is the last roadshow. However January has a surprise in store for us.

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