The events that unfolded in 2020 upended the fundraising process. Both founders and VCs have found that the traditional process has changed. Not only can you no longer rely on networking events or conferences to help you score an intro to a VC, once you get that intro you likely won’t meet your potential investor in person at any point during the process.
Regardless, the fundraising market is still very active (see our weekly Pitch Deck Interest Metrics). We also know in a world without face-to-face meetings the pitch deck has become even more vital. That’s why we decided to build the DocSend Fundraising Network (DFN). The DFN is a new way to help founders raise capital, and a new deal-flow source for VCs. The DFN connects top quality founders to a high-quality list of VCs who can lead a deal.
How the DocSend Fundraising Network works
The network works by running every pitch deck we receive through our Pitch Deck Analyzer. The analyzer is based on years of aggregated activity from interactions with over 100,000 pitch decks and millions of fundraising data points. We’ve used these insights to identify successful indicators of a startup that can lead to introductory meetings and eventually to term sheets.
We boiled all that data down into 11 criteria that we identified through our research as being vital to a successful pitch deck. Those who have top quality pitch decks are admitted into the DFN.
But the Pitch Deck Analyzer also serves another purpose. It removes bias from the screening of pitch decks. Our criteria does not include any information on geography or the makeup of the team. A good idea and a well formed pitch can speak for themselves.
“Historically, there has been a clear geographic and demographic inequity in the venture capital and startup world. Combining this challenge with the new way of conducting business virtually, it’s time for a new approach to startup fundraising,” said Russ Heddleston, CEO of DocSend. “The DocSend Fundraising Network is designed to expand the opportunities for founders with a less-established network and create new paths of discovery for VCs. The DFN connects founders and VCs that otherwise might have never met and focuses on the fundamentals – promising companies and committed investors.”
Who can join the network?
The DFN is currently available for Pre-Seed,Seed, and Series A fundraising rounds.
Founders can join the DFN by submitting their company’s pitch deck to the Pitch Deck Analyzer (or email us here).
If a deck meets the standards and filters determined by the Pitch Deck Analyzer, the deck will be featured in our VC newsletter, where committed investors can request to connect with you. If there is interest on the VC’s side, you will be connected via email.
“This new service is something we are very passionate about here at DocSend. We have truly put our research to work and built a unique, data-driven approach to screen for quality pitch decks without bias,” said Alex Poulos, VP of Marketing at DocSend. “Our goal is to surface meaningful new deal flows for VCs while helping founders who have quality ideas, but might be under-represented or without easy means to get in front of the right investors through current channels.”
What are people saying about the fundraising network?
We’ve already analyzed over 2,000 decks and introduced hundreds of qualifying founders to VCs. Both the founders and the VCs are finding value in this new way of connecting.
VC interest in the DFN
“Social distancing has created a world where I no longer have the option to meet a founder at an event or conference. By default that narrows the visibility into quality deals,” said Ullas Naik, Founder and General Partner of Streamlined Ventures. “This is actually an opportunity to break out of our typical patterns and broaden the field of options. And today, that’s not only a good idea, I think it is an imperative. The DocSend Fundraising Network connects me with founders from all over the world, creating a more diverse set of companies and quality investment opportunities.”
Founder’s success with the DFN
“Having an existing relationship or referral to a VC always helps when you’re trying to raise capital. The DocSend Fundraising Network is an entirely new way to break through and get noticed, and for the right reasons: my team, my business model, my product,” said Tim Desmond, Founder of Peer Collective.
DocSend currently has over 70 VC funds in the DocSend Fundraising Network, including Cowboy Ventures, Uncork Capital, LHV and 500 Startups. We also have a waiting list of VCs that want to join (you can email us here if you’re a VC who wants to join the network).