The Esports Startup Episode 3: The Beginning of Series A!
Episode 3 of The Esports Startup is live! Check it out on Apple Podcasts, or if you don’t have an iPhone you can head over to Anchor.fm to see which of your favorite podcast platforms it’s available on!
1:30 — Why we decided to start raising our Series A
11:14 — Strategizing the best way to raise Series A
16:48 — Celebrity Investments
19:05 — Timing for starting series A, early meetings, and the story of the deck
21:13 — Understanding the market and personas/archetypes
29:43 — Slide by slide through the Deck
51:40 — The deck building process, challenges and solutions
Why we Decided to Start Raising Our Series A
So you’ve made it to the point as a startup that you are considering raising your Series A, congrats! Raising a Series A is exciting, but also more demanding than raising your Seed Round will have been. It requires the 100% support of your current investors (it’s their job to help intro/sell you to Series A investors), you need to set your valuation, build your pitch deck and figure out your overall strategy for the raise.
Strategizing the Best Way to Raise Series A
Once you make the final decision to start pursuing your Series A (likely in a company board meeting) you may be tempted to go, “FULL STEAM AHEAD!” modify your Seed Round pitch deck a bit, and start talking to investors. Don’t rush things (unless you need to for financial reasons obviously). Investors like taking their time to evaluate investment options and they will sniff out a founder’s desperation or impatience to raise a round of funding very quickly. Listen to Episode 3 of The Esports Startup to learn what steps we took to plan out our Series A.
We referenced Front’s deck in the podcast as being a great reference for making your own deck, check it out below!
What are celebrity investments? When should you accept investment from a celebrity? Would we ever accept a celebrity investment? The short answer is.. maybe (unless it was from Imaqtpie, then 100% yes). Listen to Episode 3 to hear our thought process behind whether or not we would personally take on a celebrity investor!
Series A Timing, Early Meetings, and Telling a Story Through Your Deck
We covered this briefly in a previous episode, but there are certain times of the year that are better to raise funding than others. A good rule of thumb is to avoid raising funding over the summer or over the winter holidays (Thanksgiving through New Year).
Your Series A pitch deck should tell a story. Investors see pitches from companies every single day, so you want to do everything you can to make them have some sort of (positive) emotional response to your pitch, as it will be more memorable. Is there a particularly awesome use case for your product that you can talk about? Maybe there was a particularly tough challenge that you made it through as a company and came out stronger on the other side? Tell a story with your pitch deck, don’t just put facts on paper!
Understanding the Market and Personas/Archetypes
One important thing that you should already have created, but definitely need for your Series A, are your user personas/archetypes. Creating a user persona may sound a bit overwhelming, but in reality it’s pretty straightforward. Essentially, a user persona is just a fictional description of your ideal customer containing some specific information about them and their habits. Check out this article to learn more about User Personas and listen to Episode 3 of The Esports Startup to hear how we created ours!
Slide by slide through the Deck
Here we take you slide-by-slide through our Pitch Deck, go in-depth on what info we include in the slides, and talk about what you should consider including in your own deck. Current Series A Deck Slide Order:
- Title Slide
- Product Overview
- Traction Intro
- Tech Example
- Tech Architecture
- Network Effect
- Protection Moat
- Go to Market
- KPI Projections
- Revenue Projections
- Investment Ask
- End Slide
One point that we covered in this section is how some of your slides (particularly your problem/solution slides) should flow really nicely one into the other. Below you’ll find images of our “Problem” and “Solution” slides and be able to see the evolution they went through over the iterations of our Series A Pitch Deck! Note that there is some sensitive bullet point text beneath each of the persona icons that we had to remove.
The earliest version of our Series A “Problem” slide. This was put together by Matt, Jonny and myself (Jordan) before our designer touched it.
Our second attempt at the Series A “Problem” slide. This was our first try at visually representing data being fragmented in esports in a simple way, and the first time our designer touched this particular slide.
We were pretty happy with the 3rd iteration of our “Problem” slide. Any changes made from here were text edits or tweaks to the design to make it flow better with the “Solution” slide.
The current version of our “Problem” slide. We moved the horizontal “summary” bar to the top (on all slides) and tweaked the design slightly to flow better into the “Solution” slide.
Take a look at our current solution slide, pictured below. Even with the text beneath the personas removed, you can see how the graphics on the slides were mindfully designed to flow from one to the other. You don’t necessarily need to do this for all of your slides, but definitely consider it for high-impact, back-to-back slides that compliment each other (like Problem and Solution)!
The Deck Building Process, Challenges and Solutions
To close out Episode 3 of The Esports Startup, we go over the processes we utilized to build our Series A deck. Your Pitch Deck will never be 100% ready after the first version, so having a smooth process set up between the people driving the decisions of what will be in the deck (CEO/business) and the people designing the deck (Designer/creative) is very important.