The DocSend Fundraising Network (DFN) connects founders to committed VCs who can lead their rounds. Based on our acceptance criteria (more on that below), we accept roughly 15 percent of founders who apply to the DFN. We also carefully vet every investor in the network to ensure they can write a lead check for a round.
If you’re looking to raise your Pre-seed, Seed, or Series A round, the DocSend Fundraising Network offers a way to get your pitch deck in front of a large and vetted VC audience. Based on our initial learnings from founders who’ve gotten positive traction via the DFN, here’s our top advice on how to help your DFN application.
1. Be ready to meet with an investor in the next two weeks
We know the timing of your fundraise is important, so make sure you’re applying to the DFN at the right time. We recommend that your business and deck are in a place that is ‘investor ready.’ This means that you’ve already tested your pitch and received feedback from investors or other founders in your network. We’re currently only allowing one submission per company to the DFN. So, if you think your deck needs work or you’re waiting on a new customer to close to help your traction numbers, we advise that you hold off as you won’t be able to resubmit your deck
Once you’re accepted into the DFN, your deck will be highlighted in our VC newsletter. Our goal is to get your deck in front of our high-quality investor network, who can directly request to meet with you. You can book your investor meetings for anytime that works with your schedule. Our CEO Russ Heddleston has previously recommended booking all your meetings within a two week window. This not only gives you the best opportunity to pique the interest of multiple VCs, it also means you can spend more time getting back to building your company.
2. Adhere to pitch deck best practices based on our fundraising research
To get admitted to the DocSend Fundraising Network your deck goes through our Pitch Deck Analyzer. The analyzer is based on our years of analysis of thousands of decks and millions of interactions across our platform. We’ve taken that data and narrowed our scoring down to 11 criteria that we’ve found have a material impact on whether a pitch deck can lead to a meeting and a term sheet down the line. Submitting a top quality pitch deck is step one to getting into the DFN. Here is a pitch deck template based on what we’ve seen in the thousands of early-stage pitch decks we review.
Avoid these 4 common mistakes we see applicants make in their pitch decks (and here’s how to fix them).
- They don’t properly introduce their Team. Your Team slide should show an investor why this is the right team to build your product. Highlight relevant experience, add pictures and job titles, and always link to your LinkedIn profiles so investors can investigate further if they want to.
- They don’t present a viable Business Model. Your Business Model slides should show your unit economics, who your target audience is (e.g. B2B or D2C, enterprise or SMB), and how you plan to reach that audience.
- They show too much or not enough of their Product. Our research shows that investors prefer to invest in teams that already have a product built (even pre-seed investors). Devote at least 3-5 slides to showing mock ups, wireframes, screenshots, or even a Figma or video demo of your product and what it does.
- They don’t properly highlight their Traction. Even if you haven’t made money you still need to add at least two slides showing momentum. That can be customer feedback, letters of intent, daily active users.
If you need more information on building a great pitch deck you can go here or download our research here.
3. Consider what you include in your email to apply to the DFN
We need to know what round you’re raising and how much money you’re looking to raise. We will typically find that information in your pitch deck, but if your deck doesn’t include it, please put it in your email submission as that can reduce the time between submission and acceptance.
Your deck needs to be hosted as a DocSend link so we can analyze it. Currently, the DFN is set up for companies raising Pre-seed, Seed, or Series A. We have a submission policy of one deck per founder with no resubmissions, so please submit your final deck and not a draft or teaser.
After you submit, we will review your deck within 72 hours. If you’re accepted into the DFN, your deck will be featured in our VC newsletter. Please note that if you’re not ready for VCs to see your deck you should hold off on applying to the DFN.
If you’re not accepted into the DocSend Fundraising Network, you will still receive detailed feedback on your deck with actionable suggestions for how to improve it.
Good luck and we look forward to processing your deck!