Published in Blog

An Investor Pitch Deck That Helped to Close $1.2M Seed Capital for Chatbot Security Startup MetaCert (UNEDITED)

If you don’t want to open the deck on slideshare you can go to my dropbox folder that contains the unedited keynote and PDF documents. I’ve included both detailed, and presentation — style decks. There’s no PowerPoint version, sorry.

In summary, this second seed round included:

Some of the great individuals who invested include Terry Jones, Founding Chair of Kayak and Founder of Travelocity. I haven’t asked anyone else for their permission to publish their names, so I won’t. But I’m very thankful to all of them for trusting me and the team with their hard-earned money — which could otherwise have been spent on their families :)

There’s no mention of the term “chatbots” in the deck. But you can safely assume that MetaCert was amongst the very first to raise funding for a chatbot startup. When we started building for HipChat, ‘chatbot’ wasn’t a term that was used to describe third-party software/applications built on top of messenger services.

HipChat didn’t actually introduce the term bot until they realized Slack was making third-party software sound and look cool.

Back then our software was called “integrations”. It’s kinda like the old days of browser extensions. I mean, add-ons. Sorry, I mean, plugins. You get the picture. We can get technical about the subtle differences of each, but for the best part, most people know you’re referring to third-party software that adds a utility to the platform. With regards to MetaCert for Slack, it’s an app with a chatbot. And by the way, it’s listed in “Brilliant Bots” :-)

I’ve raised a few times, so before writing early-stage seed pitch decks, I always ask friends and colleagues if I can see theirs. Nobody has ever said no. But they always remove important, sensitive parts that I need most — like the revenue model. And like everyone else, I also search online for “successful startup pitch decks” — but they’re usually later stage decks from established companies, who don’t really care what people think anymore because they’re so successful.

I was inspired to share the deck when I wanted to give something back to the Chatbot community on Facebook after I witnessed a lot of people asking for advice. The group has over 20,000 members, of whom, many are first-time startup founders. As a side note, I was lucky enough to be voted in by the community as one of the seven moderators of the group — but I gave up my position to allow the community to vote in a female to help balance the books.

The thought of uploading the MetaCert deck was daunting. Very daunting. With each iteration I felt the previous version sucked. If I was to update it today the one I’m sharing with you now must suck. And that’s embarrassing.

So instead of putting it out there, I offered to share the deck by email, to anyone who requested it. So far, the deck has been requested over 400 times — mostly by budding first-time entrepreneurs. But also requested by some very experience corporate employees in senior roles at big companies. It’s now getting too time consuming and I’m a little more confident after getting so many thank you replies. Hence why it’s now online.

Separately, I’ve given two presentations on “What a successful pitch looks like” to entrepreneurship classes at UC Berkley for the past two years, thanks to Naeem Zafar, who is an amazing teacher! I’d love to take his class as a mature student. I actually walk away from each class learning just as much as the students, if not more. Their observations and questions during our Q&A leave me with insane learnings and reminders of what I could and should do better.

About MetaCert

I see a world where you’re not afraid of opening the wrong link.

The problem

Messenger Platforms such as Slack, HipChat, Cisco Spark and more recently Microsoft for Teams, do not protect their customers from malicious web links. Skype, Facebook Messenger, Kik, WhatsApp, Line, WeChat et al., are no different. They also allow the spread of malicious links to be sent across their services.

So, when people use a mobile app to share and open web links, companies are completely exposed to malware and phishing attacks that lead to the theft of personal information and sensitive corporate data. Their network-based security is not being utilized when employees are mobile. Not everyone cares about security, or the lack of it. But many do. And should. BTW if you think there’s no need for security when links are being shared internally in say, HipChat, think again…

Half of IT Pros Say Insider Threats Are a Bigger Concern Than Hackers

The solution

MetaCert is used by public and private companies that use Messenger Platforms to help prevent data loss, by protecting their employees from malicious and inappropriate web links such as ‘Malware & Phishing’ and ‘Pornography’. It takes 30 seconds to install a MetaCert chatbot/integration. And it runs silently in the background. The only time you hear from the bot is when a bad link is shared. And then you get an alert in the channel/room.

As an added benefit, our customers also have access to a user monitoring and analytics dashboard like the one in the screenshot.

MetaCert was the first company in the world to build security chatbots and integration for messenger platforms. There is now a security bot on Slack called dBot but they rely on security companies like MetaCert for their data. So it makes obvious sense to work with MetaCert instead of dBot ;)

I won’t bore you with the original business model that MetaCert started off with, because that’s not important for the purpose of this post — but if you’d like to know, just ask and I’ll tell you. We originally also raised $1.2M a few years ago.

As for me, I was part of the team that launched AIM in 1997 when I was the first Technical Accounts Manager and International Beta Coordinator hired by AOL outside the US. I’m founder of MetaCert and I own a full patent for the security checking of URIs inside an App WebView. This patent application was pending at the time the round closed so this wasn’t a deciding factor for investors. But it was important to demonstrate how we think about defending our technology and business model.

I’m also founder of bCRM — a CRM with awesome Marketing Automation for chatbot owners. We built bCRM to help MetaCert better engage with customers and then realized that it was something that all other chatbot owners need — so we opened it up thanks to a launch by the Mayor of Chatbot Town, Chris Messina on Product Hunt.. This is a separate post that I’ll publish in the coming weeks.

If you’re interested in chatbots and all the associated technologies that enable and surround them, you should join Open Chatbot.

If you don’t spot any grammatical errors or typos you’ll know I’ve hired a ghost writer. Do let me know if you find anything though.

Please tap or click “♥︎” to help to promote this piece to others.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Paul Walsh

Paul Walsh


MetaCert CEO. Passionate about Cybersecurity, Blockchain, Crypto, Snowboarding & Red Wine. Part of the AOL team that launched AIM. Co-founded 2 W3C Standards.