ClearTips Virtually SAT Down with the venture capitalist and managing director of Cleo Capital Sarah Kunstow Last week at our latest Early Stage event. Kunst joined us to chat about preparing to raise capital in today’s frenzied fundraising environment, digging into the gritty mechanics for the audience.
Cleo Capital invests $500,000 to $1 million in early-stage startups, with portfolio companies including mmhmm, Cameo and StyleSeat.
Next, some favorite excerpts from the chat begin with Kunst’s notes on how to build a killer pitch deck. Questions from the audience helped guide the conversation, so I’ve tried to select the topics you all came from. We’ll also explore advice about incorporation, how to find co-founders and when startups are too big to join an accelerator. (Lightly edited quote for clarity.)
Before we get to the key points of the conversation, here’s a list of links that Kunst discussed, which I promised to include in this post:
how to build a great pitch deck
Here’s the thing about the deck: Don’t be ugly. Don’t be ugly Don’t be ugly
The good news is that making a non-ugly deck is free and easy. It’s not 1999. You don’t need to use clip art. You can go to Canva. You can visit many websites that give you very basic, very cheap – if not free – very simple decks. Just use one. It doesn’t need to change the world. But it can’t be ugly. No Comic Sans font, unless you’re a deeply ironic meme-driven company. And yet, the chances of that joke coming off are slim. So, don’t just have an ugly deck.
What should be in your deck? Again, this will be a link we’ll have later, but I really love for early-stage companies to use Guy Kawasaki’s 10-slide pitch-deck format. Don’t send me anything that’s a video. Don’t send me something that’s a pager. Don’t send me anything that’s a 100-pager. [I want] 10 slides. Don’t ask me to download anything. Attach as PDF, use DocSend.
Make it really, really, really simple and really easy to read and digest about who you are, what’s the problem [you are tackling]What is the solution, why are you the right team to do it, what is your traction, how much are you growing, [and] Maybe a product slide. That’s all. That’s all I want to know. I will take the meeting or not. And I say that on behalf of every other VC and angel in the world.
This advice is clear and should help you avoid some common pitfalls. Everything he told her not to do, I promise he sent her. Don’t be the next thing that gets put away. Do what he said.
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How to Find Co-Founders
Look through everyone you know. it’s something like [as] When we go to fundraising friends and family. Really go back and say, who knows me? No, who are my best friends, or who was at my wedding. View more comprehensively. And think of that intern you always sat next to the engineer – what have they been up to now? Your college roommate’s boyfriend or girlfriend who was a great compsy major. What are they doing now? Tweet about it, get on social media, get on LinkedIn. I’m obsessed with LinkedIn. If you keep your network up to date, you can literally go on the hunt Who do you know who is a computer scientist? first-degree, second-degree connections [are great]. Then just reach out to people and say, Hey, we’d love to chat with you.