This was written back when our product and company was called 'SteadyBudget'. We rebranded to Shape in October of 2016.
Lots of meetings, lots of emails, lots of pitch decks, lots of writing and re-writing of your company's story and lots of 'thanks but no thanks'. This is what raising seed funding for a startup looks like for most founders. We are no exception. Having gone through all this in 2015 during our journey, we are happy to announce our seed round funding with some great investors. This allows us to put the team in place and improve our platform for digital marketers.
The Early Stage Investment World is Like the Wild West
I reflected on our experience and the main lesson that stood out for me when raising a seed round of funding for a startup is there are no rules. The early stage investment world is very much the wild west. Pitching an established venture capital firm in a huge conference room can be just as effective as a casual cup of coffee with an angel investor. There is no 'standard' way to raise a seed round, just the way your company is able to make it happen. I encourage other founders to take strength from this.
The one 'standard' component however of any company trying to raise venture funding is a pitch deck. You have to have a pitch deck. The first question from most investors is, 'can I see your pitch deck?'
The Pitch Deck We Used to Raise Our Seed Round
Inspired by Buffer sharing their pitch deck we wanted to share ours to hopefully help anyone else out there raising money for their company. Another resource that helped us to design our deck was Dave McClure's post on 'How to Pitch a VC (or angel)'. McClure gives a great outline for some points to hit in your deck but remember a deck is very much a piece of art. Everyone will have an opinion on your deck. When getting feedback and advice on our deck one investor would say, 'this is your most important slide' and another investor talking about the same slide would say, 'you don't need this slide.'
It's important to take in all the feedback and make your own decisions about what to take out or add. No one has spent more time thinking about your company and your specific situation than you and your team. This puts you in a unique position to make decisions about how to craft your deck.
Here is the basic framework of the deck we used when pitching our company to investors for the last 8 months.
Our Investors and New Board Members
With funding comes investors. If you are able to get some offers to invest in your company deciding which investors to work with is a very important decision. We were very lucky to pitch and secure funding from two experienced investors that believe in what we are doing. We are happy to be working with Bruce Rhine and Drew Smith and announce their addition to our board.
Bruce Rhine - New SteadyBudget Board Member An active investor in the local startup community and an advisor to three venture funds, Bruce previously has held numerous corporate executive roles and has successfully raised over $100m for companies he has been involved with. Since 2007, Mr. Rhine has served as the Chairman of the Board of Nanometrics, a publicly traded company in the semiconductor market. Bruce is also on the board of Jama Software, a fellow Oregon start-up that builds collaboration software for large teams.
Drew Smith - New SteadyBudget Board Member Also an active investor and consultant to early stage companies. Drew has extensive experience in venture capital investing, mergers and strategic consulting. He was with Intel for 12 years, most of it with Intel Capital, where he led investments in over 20 companies, supported M&A efforts and oversaw corporate development strategy for several divisions. Drew also currently serves on the board of Jama Software.
We are putting the funding to use solving complex problems for digital marketers. We are really proud of the platform we have built so far, but have a lot of plans for the future. Expanding our development, product and customer service teams allows us to execute those plans faster. We can't wait to unveil SteadyBudget 2.0 later this year.
Raising money for your company and have questions? Or interested in more details about our experience...please reach out!
On Twitter @SteadyBudget
By Email firstname.lastname@example.org
written by Jon Davis, CEO