We can’t take away the pain of fundraising for founders, so we’ve provided a list of recommended tools and tips to help you make the process a little easier. This is assuming you have already targeted the appropriate investors who focus on your sector and stage (pre-seed, seed, series A, etc). We’re also assuming you are currently in what Paul Graham would call “fundraising mode" because the process is so distracting.
Sequoia Capital continues to be the industry standard for writing a business plan. I consistently come back to this blog post to organize my thoughts. Also check out these great examples here and more inspiration from Airbnb’s pitch deck from 2009.
Do you know what your three most read slides in a pitch deck are? Now you can know. Docsend is a must have for fundraising and pitch deck analytics. It helps me keep my presentations up to date, organize different versions and helps me learn what’s resonating (and what isn’t). They also publish research you can access here. Hint: don’t forget about the title slide.
Always make it easy for people to help you and do the heavy lifting for them by writing an email that can be easily forwarded to the person you want to meet. This allows for double opt-in introductions. Beyond venture investors this is simply good business etiquette for anyone you interact with over email. Example email below:
Thanks again. It was great to chat this afternoon.
As I mentioned I would love an introduction to Vanessa at ABC Ventures. We’ve found her XYZ thesis on our market aligns well with our vision for Industry 4.0. We’re planning on raising a Series A this fall and saw they recently closed a Series A fund focused on our vertical.
Company overview deck here (link to deck)
Y Combinator publishes free SAFE (simple agreement for future equity) and Series A documents here. Remember there is no industry standard. There is only what you can negotiate and best practices. 95% of the time a SAFE document will get the job done. In the future as you have more leverage you might get some inspiration from this note from a tech CEO to potential investors.
Guy Kawasaki’s rule dictates you should use 10 slides, your pitch should last no more than 20 minutes and you should use nothing smaller than a 30 point font. A large font forces you to focus on the key point of each slide and avoid reading the slides. Investors can read faster than you can speak and there is nothing more boring than a person reading to you.
Finally remember that raising money is an obligation and it's not a requirement to build a successful business.