My first email to my investors

(Originally published on my newsletter — here are previous ones)

Here is what I just sent to my investors

I wrote this very confidential (!) email to my investors and thought oh well, I decided to build this business in a transparent way and share my progress in this newsletter.

I thought that this might be of interest to you so here is my first investors email.

You are welcome to give me feedback too, as always

thanks,
Loic

Dear investors in Leade.rs and friends,

Thank you again for supporting my new venture: Leade.rs, a two-sided marketplace for speakers and events.

Short summary:

-we have raised $3.3M from 50+ prominent business angels in a couple of rolling closes, giving us 2 years of minimum runway assuming no revenue
-we have built an awesome team of 10 people, mostly SF-based — 5 of them are engineering/design, 3 are focused on content and event organization
-we have successfully launched our first product, a web-based interface “call for speakers” for events — Wisdom 2.0 is our first partner (3,000 participants / 200 speakers). See the result here
-we are a few weeks away from launching our core mobile application to find, crowdsource and invite speakers
-we have organized 5 sold-out Leade.rs events (4 in San Francisco, 1 in Paris) on topics such as Chatbots, VR and health. Each event allows us to “eat our own dog food”, and further develop our platform. We also receive hundreds of speaker suggestions on a wide variety of topics.

One thing you can help us on:

We are organizing Leade.rs Paris on April 11–12, 2017. It would help if you were able to join us in person and we would love to have you.

Please tell me if you could join us in Paris on April 11–12 by replying to this email.

If you are interested and not subscribed yet, I send an email newsletter every week with progress and thoughts about Leade.rs. About 12,000 people subscribed since I launched it last year. Click here to subscribe if you haven’t.

Detailed version:

1 — Funding and runway.

We raised $3.3M from 50+ prominent business angels. Every angel invested between $25k and $200k. We will not make any press announcement about the funding.

We have a minimum runway of 2 years assuming no revenue.

2 — Team

We are really excited by the team we have assembled so far, 10 people mostly based in SF

-CTO/backend engineer
-front-end/web engineer
-iPhone dev
-Android dev
-UI/design 
-VP content/curation
-VP of events
-video producer
-admin/assistant
-me as unpaid CEO 😉

next hire: a business dev. person to start preparing revenue generation.

We have two advisory board members

-data visualization expert and scientist Dave Troy see his great TED Talk on Socialmaps and cities
-finance and strategy my previous COO Bastien Vidal

We’re currently leasing some co-working space at WeWork MidMarket in San Francisco.

2 — Product

We had only two engineers and no designer until recently. We should launch and iterate much faster now that we have a mobile and design team of 5.

It helps events ask their community which speakers they would like to hear from — a “kickstarter for speakers” of sorts. The event organizer sends an email/tweet/facebook with the call for speaker link and people can suggest who should speak, then vote on the most popular ones.

Most event organizers don’t know how to leverage speaker suggestions, so far we have had great feedback about the usefulness of the tool when we present it.

We have used it for 3 of our own events, and received about 500 speaker suggestions — it worked really well.

Our first partner started using it this week: the Wisdom 2.0 conference (3,000 attendees) received > 200 speakers suggestions in a few days, 2,500 signups on our platform and 700 users recommended speakers.

The call for speakers is key for us to build our speakers database across all topics and industries, and we hope to see it used by a large number of event organizers overtime.

- We expect a first release of the core application (web+ios) early 2017: the speakers catalog that also allows to create collections. The next feature batch will be related to booking and management of speakers.

- We are building video profiles of top speakers, and would love to build one for you! These can be used as sizzle reels. Let us know if you are interested, we’ll coordinate a convenient time to work on it.

3 — events

We produce events to:

-provide a quality content and learning experience to participants
-establish the brand Leade.rs as a content quality brand and promote it
-build the software to find speakers and understand the needs by doing it ourselves before offering it to other event organizers
-promote our upcoming products featured at the events
-generate some revenue, we ran all the events at break-even thanks to ticket sales.

We have successfully organized 5 sold-out events:
- Leade.rs Paris April 2016 (500 participants)
- Leadership San Francisco June 2016 (130 participants)
- VR San Francisco July 2016 (350 participants)
- Chatbots San Francisco September 2016 (350 participants)
- Health San Francisco October 2016 (150 participants)

Upcoming events (let us know if you would like a free invite)
- San Francisco Meditation and Mindfulness December 6th
- Paris April 11–12 Best of Leade.rs event (500 people expected)

4 — business

Event organizers we talked to are all interested to use the Leade.rs platform to book their speakers — we’ve received great feedback so far.

We are anticipating the business model to be a mix of 1/ subscription model for the core software and 2/ commission on paid speaking gigs we facilitate. We want some initial volume on the platform before we start charging though.

Feedback welcome, as always!

Please let me know if anyone else in your team should get this update email.

Thank you,

Loic

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