Thursday, December 3, 2015

Get Backed: Tips on Funding Your Startup

Welcome to the second post in our series on the new book for entrepreneurs, Get Backed, which includes new ideas on how to raise capital and build genuine relationships with investors.  Everyone from first-time entrepreneurs to seasoned veterans will find useful, practical advice from other founders in this book authored by Techstars Austin mentor, Evan Loomis, and entrepreneur Evan Baehr.

This book + workbook offers in-the-trenches, real-world advice with heaps of helpful data, charts, photos, slides and actual examples of the most important things that every founder needs to know.

 

Get Backed

Chapter Six excerpt: Actual Pitch Decks

You're about to see what only venture capitalists and investors typically get to see: excerpts from the actual pitch decks and fundraising strategies of fifteen successfully funded startups. For this chapter, we profile ventures from across multiple sectors, stages, and cities. Combined, these ventures have raised well over $100 million.

We debated whether to include this chapter at all; people find it nerve-racking to show their investor decks. But in the spirit of giving back, the founders featured here have chosen to offer you something that they normally never show anyone. We are deeply grateful for their commitment to advancing entrepreneurship.

As these profiles illustrate, when it comes to fundraising, there is no one-size-fits-all template, but there are patterns and principles to identify. Aside from the founders' own comments and advice, we let their decks speak for themselves.

Drum roll please . . . Here are the strategies and materials of fifteen ventures that crushed it at raising money.

DocSend • DocSend tells you what happens to your documents after you send them.

Founding team: Russ Heddleston, Dave Koslow, Tony Cassanego
Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding round: Series seed

Market category: Software

Armed with computer science degrees from Stanford and experience working at companies like Facebook and Dropbox, Russ Heddleston, Tony Cassanego, and Dave Koslow founded DocSend, a service that tracks everything that happens to a document after you share it. The service became a hit among people sharing pitch decks themselves. DocSend's deck is heavy on copy and uses neutral colors to avoid drawing attention away from the words.

Advice

"Focus on your strengths. Be sure to tell investors why you're different and be sure to bring something unique to the table. This could be a hundred interviews with poten- tial customers, it could be 10,000 signups, or it could be your background of ten years building machine learning software."

Redo

"The design on this deck is atrocious. Our newer deck looks a ton better. We also have a lot more detail on our target user."

Slide Investors Focused on Most

"The team slide was viewed the longest on average, folowed by the competition slide."

Common Mistakes Founders Make

"It's all about quality, not quantity. Create a list of thirty investors who you actually want to meet with. Set up at least twenty meetings in a two-week period. Do this at least a few weeks out. If you can't get any of those twenty to invest, you need to change something before you try again."


Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Review Press. Excerpted from Get Backed: Craft Your Story, Build the Perfect Pitch Deck, and Launch the Venture of your Dreams. Copyright 2015 Evan Baehr and Evan Loomis. All rights reserved.



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