It drives me mad when I hear startups use the fact that one of their competitors received €X Million in funding as market validation. Customers are a measure of success, so is revenue, so is profit. Funding is not.
Investors put money in high growth companies because they expect a high return but they also accept a high degree of risk. A typical Series A VC is hoping that 10% of their investment will be a huge success and a further 20-30% will return their money. The remainder are going to fail. So on an investment basis they expect that only 1 in 10 companies will achieve their ambitions.
If you use funding as a measure of success you will be wrong 90% of the time. Being wrong 90% of the time isn’t good.
No one should set up their company for the purposes of attracting funding. You take on funding as a means to achieve a much larger ambition. Funding is a vanity metric. It is a metric that people use to make themselves feel important, to boast about and to intimidate others. But funding is nothing to be proud of, it is what you do with the funding that matters.