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Jeremy Luzinda, Investment Associate has written our latest blog post for companies looking to pitch for investment:
I’m excited to officially announce our new ‘Pitch-us’ form.
It’s been running for the last two months while we’ve been refining the internal processes to support it. I personally review each submission thoroughly and aim to send feedback within 14 days. We’re constantly thinking about how we can improve Founders’ experience with us and are looking for more ways to be accessible. Let us know if you have any suggestions!
Our investment team includes four Partners (Scott, Fred, Mark and Simon). One of the main reasons that I was attracted to Haatch is that all the Partners have either founded or have been in senior roles at fast-growing start-ups, which have led to very successful acquisitions.
Putting Founders first is ingrained in our culture as we’re aware of the acute risk Founders take as we’ve walked in their shoes.
To add to our efforts to support Founders, we’ve written this blog to give more insight into our selection process and more broadly support Founders framing their propositions.
What we’re looking for
We place overwhelming importance on Founders. As previous Founders, we recognise that a company today could be very different to how it looks years from now — take Stewart Butterfield and Slack who initially set out to build a online role-playing game which evolved into an app that revolutionised how we communicate at work. The best articulation of the virtues that we look for from Founders is by Mike Moritz from Sequoia:
Most of the questions asked during conversations with Founders are proxies for these underlying virtues aiming to capture where Founders sit along each spectrum. Some of these can be taught, however, irrefutable passion comes when there’s alignment of work and personal mission. We also look for founders that are aware of what they don’t know and are willing to position resource(s) around them for leverage.
More practically, I’ve outlined some advice on how Founders can present their pitches to Haatch and possibly other VCs. An overarching theme is conciseness without compromising on comprehensiveness. The balance is hard to maintain, though those that get it right, demonstrate clarity of thought and clear communication — which are virtues important to us.
Here’s our framework for how to pitch to start-up investors; the key is to optimise for clarity and concision:
- Outline the pain of your customer — We look for problems that are consequential and deep that if solved unlock huge amounts of value for organisations and people.
- Tip: make it easy to understand for generalists.
- How does your product solve this problem?
- There should be a direct problem-solution fit and valuable ROI.
- Who are your direct competitors?
- What differentiates you from other solutions?
- Why will it endure?
- There are different market types and some markets don’t require a clearly differentiated product, differentiation could be brand IP and in many cases the Founders themselves. Don’t exaggerate and be direct.
- Why is this an inflection point?
- This is particularly important in cases where Founders are building in crowded markets.
- We love when Founders have identified the market potential. The simplest way to do this: Market Size = (# of Customers) × (Revenue/Customer).
- How do you intend to make money?
- What have you achieved to date?
- Traction doesn’t always have to be revenue, some Founders that have impressed me have run smoke-screen tests with ads where applicable to capture early proof-points or have sign-ups.
- What makes you back-able?
- Why are you the right Founders for this company?
How much you’re raising
- Include how much you’re looking to raise and whether you’re SEIS/EIS eligible.
The best startup pitch decks
I’ve collected 3 pitch decks that encapsulate some or all of the points above really well.
Revolut: Seed Deck
Coinbase: Seed Deck from 2012. Love slide 8.
App Nexus: Seed Deck. Long but each slide is concise.
Why partner with us
There are a number of potential partners for Founders though I’d like to outline what differentiates Haatch:
- Partners who have a track record building, scaling and selling businesses
As an Investment Team, we’ve seen the lifecycle of companies from inception to exit and in the process, have built expansive networks we can leverage to support portfolio companies and offer mentorship. Additionally, our support is pragmatic and we’re empathetic given we’ve been in your shoes.
- Value added support
We have resources to support on B2B and B2C growth as well as an extensive network of 300+ underlying investors. Simon, who recently sold his digital marketing agency, is our go-to B2C growth expert. While Mark, who has held senior positions including heading Partnerships at Google for all Hardware across APAC will focus on B2B.
- Follow-on funding
We typically co-invest with Angels at Pre-seed from our SEIS fund but have the bandwidth to follow-on through our EIS fund and beyond. For example, we invested in Buymie’s Pre-seed, Seed and Series A.
We’re always on the lookout for Founders building exciting start-ups. We’re a sector agnostic fund investing in all models with a mandate to invest in digital and software led start-ups from our SEIS and EIS funds. If you’re a product-led Founder interested in having exited-Founders on board, I’d love to hear from you: https://haatch.com/pitch/