We’re sharing the deck we used to raise our Seed round 🎉
Last year we raised our Seed round after going through YC W21.
This was the first time I raised money.
When I looked on the internet I found blogs that listed the things to always includes in a pitch deck. A slide on the market, the product, the TAM, your insights, your traction, etc.
These blogs basically shared the same approach. Yet it wasn't clear to me why some startups raised great rounds, while some others failed.
In particular Seed round decks seemed pretty opaque.
To understand how to make a good deck, I had to ask founders who had raised before.
I learned that great pitch decks tell a unique story.
Our Seed went well. Our deck helped us close our round in 10 days after receiving 5 term sheets.
So in the spirit of transparency I’ve decided to publish it, and share a few learnings on the process.
Hopefully, it’ll help you raise your own round!
The story behind our fundraise
Last year we did YC and decided to raise our Seed round, before we had any revenue as we were getting good momentum. We had some good traction numbers and decent retention metrics.
As you’ll see our deck is basic, yet it worked well. That’s because the best investor pitches don't feel like a pitch at all. They're more like an engaging two way conversation. As a founder you want to drive the conversation, steering it to the points you want to touch on. Keeping the focus on the part of the story you think matters the most.
I know some companies raise seed rounds without a deck and just a Notion memo. I found ours to be helpful, both to keep the conversations with investors on track and as follow up material for the meetings.
- Practice with some trusted people before going on a roadshow. This will help you get rid of the most obvious mistakes. Don’t involve 10 people. The feedback you'll receive at this point will be conflicting. Stick with 2 or 3 people that you trust and that have a good track record.
- Start your deck with your two sentence description. This is a short description of what your company does. It’s key to be reminded and set the context right away. When fundraising your biggest enemy is confusion. If investors don't understand, they'll never invest. This two sentence description is not your customer pitch. Use words that investors that don't have experience in your industry would understand.
- Your deck needs a backbone. Your vertebrae are the 3-5 points that you most want investors to remember about your company. For us it was Team, Unique insight, Problem, Product and Traction (see slides). These are the key talking points that you'll want to make sure you cover in every conversation.
You'll take your vertebrae and turn them into an "intro blurb", which is a paragraph or so of text. When you're asking for an intro to an investor, they'll look at your intro blurb to decide whether they want to take a meeting with you or not.
- Iterate on your deck. Improve it between two meetings by addressing the objections you get upfront.
- Make your slides are simple and obvious. Every word counts. Focus on 1 idea per slide. Keep it to 6-8 slides total. Go through your deck and only read the headlines – does it tell a compelling story? Have an appendix with the rest.
- Don’t design your slides with a professional designer (unless you're a design company). It's a red flag for many investors that you’re not spending too much time on the wrong things. Optimize for clarity of your ideas, not fancy slides.