In this day and age, pitch deck examples aren’t particularly difficult to come by—usually, all it takes to find examples of successful pitch decks is a search through Google, LinkedIn, or SlideShare. What is difficult, however, is determining what made these specific pitch deck examples successful.
Whether you are a new startup, a young business that is ready to scale, or a seasoned company looking to make a major expansion, raising the venture capital funds you need is not for the faint of heart. Read More…
Whether your startup is at the seed, Series A, or Series C stage, fundraising with a pitch deck is a task no entrepreneur should take lightly.
Things I wish someone had told me years ago
Entrepreneurs who have raised money will say things like, “well, it wasn’t really all that hard, you know.” The truth is, for most entrepreneurs it’s a time consuming, humbling, and frustrating process that they only go through because they have to. This is especially true with early stage investment, where a lot of the bet is being made on intangibles like the team and idea.
Having been through the process, I’ve come out a little wiser. Here are a few “hacks” I wish I would have known before we started to raise money.
Disclaimer: This post was originally penned in 2017, and was refreshed in May 2019.
Here’s a hint: it’s not a long vacation
A lot of entrepreneurs use DocSend for their fundraising (here’s the case study), and when I chat with them about how it’s going they all have the same mentality: “just as soon as I close this funding everything will be awesome!”
This shouldn’t be surprising; fundraising isn’t easy and we entrepreneurs keep ourselves motivated by mentally promising that everything will go back to normal afterwards. This is, in fact, not often true. Here’s a quick anecdote from a CEO who just raised an A round, which is generally pretty representative:
“We just had our first investor meeting this week after closing the financing. We spent so much time actually fundraising that this was our worst month this year for performance. I literally saw the investor’s face fall. I just promised the world, and our stats are already falling behind the promise. Also, I need to double my team in 6 months.”
Keeping the performance up isn’t the only additional concern: now that you have more cash on hand, you have pressure to spend it. Hire more people, find a new office, redesign your product, get a COO, and the list goes on.
When you’ve recognized that you’ve got a poor fit on your team, the next step is gracefully managing their exit. This is stressful for every party involved. It’s important to be empathetic and communicate your reasons clearly.
Managing terminations well is important for two reasons that may not be readily apparent
- The person leaving the company will likely stay in your industry. The probability of running into their sphere of influence again is high. It’s best to leave things as positive as possible, because you will probably run into them again one way or another.
- Your team will observe (and talk about) how you handle terminations. Their assessment of your management skills and overall fairness with teammates will decide the level of trust they place in you as their leader.
Every employee termination is an opportunity to increase your effectiveness as a leader. It’s also an opportunity to lose the respect and trust of your direct reports. Read More…
At DocSend we value diversity and inclusivity among our team members. Over 50% of our team is made up of minority groups that are underrepresented in the technology sector (8 out of 14). It’s a number that we’re proud of, not just because promoting diversity is the right thing to do from a social and corporate responsibility perspective — being diverse makes us stronger as a company. If we were all coming from the same backgrounds and life experiences, we’d all propose similar ideas and approach problems in the same fashion. Diversity makes us stronger by making us different. It’s part of what makes us unique and one reason why we will continue to value diversity as we grow. Read More…
Venture for America is a fellowship program aimed at helping recent college grads jumpstart their careers as entrepreneurs. A few weeks ago they interviewed our CEO, Russ Heddleston, on their podcast “Smart People Should Build Things.” Listen in to learn more about Russ’ background, how he built and sold a company to Facebook, what he learned there, and how DocSend came to be.