A fundraiser wanted equity even if she didn't raise any money for me

I wanted to use a convertible note to raise the first $400K for my company. It meant I wouldn’t have to have the expense of a formal valuation and it gave me degrees of freedom. Most of the people I’d be talking to are friends and family, so I wasn’t overly concerned and didn’t want to give away equity at this stage.

At a party, I was introduced to a powerful woman who raises equity for companies in Africa. She was so self-confident and unshakable in her conviction that one only used equity to fund startups. I listened to her and asked questions. I came away thinking I was wrong to use a convertible note.

I told others I trusted what this woman said and they said that a convertible note still made sense and that I should talk to other people, including people who had used this woman to raise funds.

I tracked one person down who was very satisfied with her work. But she had raised $25m for a series A. She said I should talk to other people who did not have such a good experience and where the fundraising efforts failed. When I spoke to them I learned this women took equity even if she failed to raise funds. I also learned she tended to undervalue the company to make the raise easier.

I went to her and said I would use her services but that she only got equity if she was successful. She refused my terms.