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By: Haley Daiber and Andy Johns

This is Part One of the When Are You Pitch-Ready? Series, a new series meant to demystify the institutional fundraising process and shed light on what investors look for when companies pitch them. We’ll cover pitch-ready guidelines across Consumer Social, Consumer Marketplaces (i.e. Wonderschool), Consumer Subscription Businesses (i.e. BallerTV), Enterprise Infrastructure (Traditional), Enterprise Infrastructure (OSS-driven), and Enterprise Applications. First up in this post, we’ll dive into what investors might look for in a Consumer Social app using Senior Associate, Haley Daiber’s own past startup Forget-Me-Not as an example.

For founders raising their next round, one of the hardest things about the “black box” of venture capital is understanding what investors are looking for. When I started my consumer networking app Forget-Me-Not in 2016, I was so confused about what I needed to accomplish before I was ready to pitch institutional investors. I knew I had to bootstrap my way to some traction, but had no idea what “traction” really meant. I knew I wasn’t there yet, but wondered how I would get there when I didn’t even know where the goal posts were. You always hear stories of people successfully pitching an idea on the back of a napkin, but in what circumstances did that really apply? Even more confusing, every investor’s website lists the same generic, vague qualities that they seek in investments they make — “incredible team” + “innovative solution to a hard problem” + “market opportunity.” Many investors claim that “no idea is too early,” but startups are often turned down when they don’t have enough proof points. …

Forget-Me-Not is the “living dead” startup that I started with my mom back in 2015. Since then, it’s been this incredibly rewarding, frustrating, and funny experience — and recently, it’s actually come up a lot in conversations I have with entrepreneurs, so thought I would share the story.

The Problem

While I was still at Ernst & Young, I was frequently involved in bringing new interns into the firm. At each recruiting event, I would get bunch of business cards while simultaneously almost always forgetting to bring mine. Talking with my co-workers, we were baffled by how — in our deeply digital world — we were still using paper business cards. After some initial research, we found several teams working on this problem explicitly: some apps allowed you to “bump” phones to exchange digital business cards or take pictures of them to store. …

Republished here from the original post on LinkedIn on August 27th, 2018

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I’ve been interested in venture capital since my early days as an intern at Ernst & Young, where I first learned what venture was all about while working with startup and investor clients. On the flip side, I’ve been an aspiring entrepreneur as long as I can remember. My mom, my hero and a self-taught software engineer, is also an idea machine. …


Haley Daiber

Playing a part in trying to #shakeupvc by keeping to my weird ATX roots with Unusual Ventures.

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