Create Your Series B Deck Right After Closing Your Series A

 

One of the things I wish I had done in both of my companies (Excite.com and JotSpot) was to take a piece of advice that I now give most entrepreneurs I meet. That advice is: “right after you sign your term sheet for your Series A, write the fantasy deck for your Series B (complete with whatever metrics, graphs and customer lists you would love to have).”

 

I say this because of the way I’ve both done fundraising and seen it done. Whether we like to admit it or not, the way it’s usually done tends to be very haphazard and bottom’s up. It starts with…

 

“We have about 4 months of cash left, it’s time to raise money”.

 

With that statement, companies go about trying to weave together a narrative from the various facts that are true at the time. You look at your metrics, your sales, your customer lists and you try and create something cohesive. The problem is that it’s a bottoms up story; it’s composed of whatever facts are lying around. You didn’t set out twelve months before to create a intentional story. Your pitch deck ends up feeling a bit underpowered, a bit awkward. You try and emphasize the facts that look good and gloss over the ones that aren’t so hot.

 

At the heart of the problem is that startups often get trapped being busy and making general “progress” instead of driving, intentionally, down a path toward a fundable story.

 

A better approach is to use all the feedback you’re getting during your current fundraising process to create the ideal story for your next round. In the process of raising money (be it seed, series A or B), you hear from potential investors what they’re excited about and what they’re worried about. At the end of the process, you’re in a perfect position to create the fundraising pitch that would be absolute music to any investor’s ears.

 

So, do it. Write your Series B deck immediately after signing the term sheet for your Series A.

 

THEN, use this as your plan for how you spend that round of money. Use that presentation as the goal posts for the next 18 months. Begin with that end in mind and that presentation becomes your operating plan. Even if you don’t hit all of it, you will have a story and a company that holds together so much better than if you just run as fast as you can and try to create a story from the random assortment of facts that are lying around when you’re coming close to running out of money.

 

16 Comments

  1. ivan ion ovidiu says:

    hello! I have a great ideea for a program for Android and for Google. I am sure that this is a great project but i don’t know with who I must to negociate. I don’t have the knowledge tot make this and this is the reason that I contact you. it is a project wich can bring hundreds of milions of $ if you use all of my details. I hope you will contact me soon as possible.

  2. Guy Dixon says:

    Hi Google Ventures, have you ever considered that there is no alternative to cables, wires, pipes etc being either up poles or buried underground? Can you imagine communities with no poles, neat undisturbed footpaths (no digging), communities that are water self sufficient and charging electric cars just a matter of pulling over to the kerb? I have invented a way to do this! It is patent pending (WIPO opinion already received and positive) and we are about to trial soon in Australia, I would love to get Google along on this pathway. It is the biggest idea of the 21st century and will reshape urban living, save the planet and increase productivity in developed and emerging economies. It is the biggest business opportunity in the world! Big call, massively researched, unbelievably simple. Definition of Genius : “The first person to realise the obvious”. Contact me and I will send you a briefing paper.

    Guy – Inventor of the NINA Access Pathway

  3. Hello Google Ventures!

    I am currently searching for seed investment and development team to help me finish my startup idea. I am a web designer, and I have created a logo already, currently working on the design mockups for the rest of pages. If this is the place to get GV get interested in idea, I would really appreciate it if you contact me and tell me what I need to do to apply for Google support.

    My idea is based on a promotional marketing tool that takes advertising to the communities using average drivers with good records. I have pitched the idea on the Startup Weekend few months ago and it got really good feedback from local businessmen, the only thing I am missing right now is working out the functionality and marketing (and money of course, for advertising).

    Thanks

  4. Good Afternoon Google Ventures,

    Not sure where to start, but I have an idea about taking your google streetview to the next level it deserves. Yes, initially when created it brought you alot of visitors, but as an idea, it was a one hit (visit) wonder and has probably dropped in viewership by 80% or more. My idea is to rejuvenate this idea and make it a site that will be visited daily by your users.

    Thanks..

    That being said, who do I speak to about this idea? Sorry, just don’t want to say my idea until I speak to someone in your organization. This is a seed money request or an investment request.

  5. rafael melendez says:

    Hello. I am trying to contact you about pitching an idea that I believe would create a trillion dollar market and would disrupt multiple industries and force local, state and Federal revenues to be allocated. Please, let me know how I can make this pitch possible to you. I believe it is you who should be a partner in this venture because of the immensity of the project. For it to work, it must be done in a very large way a la Google. Thank you and hope to hear from you, soon.

  6. You raised your money not on just what you are doing today, but also on your big vision. We look at our vision as the top of the mountain we want to get to with way points along the way with many paths which are good, bad and dead ends. By looking down, you can see the best path and how to make it happen while many people look from where they are now and look up not seeing the traps.

    With our company which we started over 4 years ago, our vision was to solve the problem of “asking” (our mountain peak) as to date all Internet activity has been about “telling”. It has been a hard road keeping to that vision, especially for so long and at times saying no to money from people as they want us to make a quick buck. 2 years ago, we realised that there was a different path we could use for what we are doing as it could be applied to TV and we have gone into that a space which as moved us faster up our mountain. Today this is called the “second screen” market which is trying at add this layer to TV shows, but from the wrong direction of still telling and distraction. We have applied our “ask” model to this and got 12% engagement on a major TV sport over 40 days of usage and made money for all interested parties.

    This shows the top down vision is important as you never know what will happen to make it work. The path we are on changed, but the knowledge we had gathered helped to make the new path work to the vision we still have. If we had stayed focused on what the investors wanted, we would still be trying to climb our mountain up the wrong path or gone down a dead end.

    We are now looking for the real funding to make it grow, but are still keeping the vision. To make this work, we have people who are focused on the product (the now) while myself and the other founder are focused on the business (the future) and the vision as that whats makes any business different.

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