Florent Crivello is the founder and CEO of Teamflow, a startup to create a virtual headquarters to help distributed teams collaborate and communicate from a singular platform. Recently, Florent and his team launched Teamflow out of beta and announced a $3.9M seed round. In this Q&A with Florent Crivello, we dig into how he and his team were able to raise a $3.9M seed fundraising round in four weeks, how he optimized his pitch deck based on DocSend’s analytics, and what he would change if he could do it all over again.
Tell us about how your team at Teamflow came together and what vision you’re working to achieve with your product/company.
We’re a team of 6 building Teamflow, a virtual office helping remote workers feel like a team again. Our vision is to finally make geography irrelevant and make remote work better than in-person.
Two of us met at Uber, where I worked for 5 years. I interviewed nearly 300 people to find the 4 others (detailed my process here).
What was your fundraising process? (investor outreach, meeting strategies, finding a lead investor, closing term sheets, how long your raise took, etc)
Our raise took 4 weeks from “decided we’d raise” to “term sheet signed.”
Week 1 was all about collecting intros and scheduling meetings and making sure we’d have the meetings with the investors we felt most excited about last. I got the intros through my personal network — this was the time when all these hours on Twitter finally paid out!
Week 2 and 3 were meetings. I think I met with ~120 VCs in these 2 weeks — the most meetings I had was 16 in one day.
Week 3 was meetings with my favorite firms + partner meetings. We received several term sheets on the Sunday of that week, signed one on Monday, and spent week 4 ironing out the details.
What do you wish you had known before you started fundraising?
I think the “16 pitches a day” approach was a net positive, since fundraising is all about FOMO and building a thick market for your equity — you want to be able to say “the round filled up to 80% in the last two days!”
That said, if I had to do it again, I’d probably pack meetings 10% less tightly. This was insanely exhausting, in a counter-productive way. It’s impossible to pitch well when it’s your 15th pitch of the day. I’d also add 15-30min between pitches to collect my thoughts, iterate on the deck, register next steps, and take bio breaks.
What challenges did you face (and overcome) while raising your seed round?
This is probably not the kind of insight you’re expecting, but our platform went down 8 or 9 times during the 60 minutes partner meeting with a Tier-1 VC. I was rebooting the server at the same time as I was talking.
But really it was more fun than stressful — VCs are used to seeing products that are rough around the edges, and it was actually a good sign since the servers were crumbling under load. We still received a term sheet from them.
Otherwise, I think we didn’t have the best answers to questions regarding our go-to-market strategy. Some of it is inevitable, but I sure wish I’d known what I do now about the market, 6 months later.
How did your pitch deck impact your fundraising? What kinds of changes did you make based on feedback from investors you pitched?
I kept simplifying, simplifying, simplifying. It’s funny how everyone hears of the typical template (problem → solution → market size → team…), deviates from it, and then after a few pitches, the deck just converges upon the template. This was certainly our case.
I think I underestimated how little time people spend reading the pitch deck — this was definitely one awesome part about Docsend, seeing that people spent no more than 15 seconds per slide. So by the end of the raise, no slide had more than 20 words on it.
How did you present your product and traction in your pitch deck?
We’re pretty lucky in that our product is a meeting tool, so the pitch was the demo. We’d simply send a link in the calendar invite, and the rest followed naturally.
Do you have any other advice or insights for founders that you’d like to add?
There are two categories of advice about fundraising.
The first one is the one you always hear about — including the one I just gave above. The “tricks” or “hacks.” Design your deck this way, build FOMO, etc…
Those are important, but obviously, the most important thing by far is just knowing your business, product, industry, and customers in and out. If you’ve obsessed about something day and night, read everything there was to read, and are genuinely passionate about the problem space, it will show through and make it 10x easier to raise.