The most recent query founders could be assured will come up when pitching VCs throughout fundraising is, “So how has COVID impacted your startup?” This deceptively easy query is surprisingly arduous to reply, however it can come up many times.
In case you are at the moment fundraising, you must have slides in your pitch deck devoted to answering this query. In a latest video, Urbantech Managing Director Andrew Ackerman gave his recommendation on what items of data these slides ought to comprise.
Startups are sometimes on the chopping fringe of rising tendencies, and one of many key challenges in closing gross sales is discovering clients who’re most open to embracing, somewhat than combating, these tendencies. In a post-COVID world, many potential clients don’t have any alternative however to hunt out new applied sciences to resolve the wants of distant workforces, to enhance efficiencies and reduce prices, and to ascertain new aggressive benefits.
In healthcare, for instance, well being programs have been cautious of telehealth options for privateness causes, integration points, billing points, and different operational causes. Conventional nose to nose medication was working effectively sufficient, in order that they put telehealth options on the again burner as one thing to “figure it out later.”
COVID turned that the other way up. Telehealth is now non-negotiable, and physicians are making it work. Shoppers have tailored to this new regular, and the marketplace for digital care instruments will doubtless develop at a way more speedy tempo.
What does this imply for a startup pitching a product on this sector? Founders can embody knowledge about greater adoption and utilization charges, improve TAM calculations, focus on the second-order results of elevated telehealth, and plenty of different extra particular ways in which this development can present a tailwind for the startup.
Long run tailwinds are ineffective until you may survive lengthy sufficient for them to kick in. Except you’re one of many uncommon startups that’s immediately combating COVID, it’s more likely to be a sluggish time for progress.
In the event you’re fundraising, you have to persuade VCs that you’re elevating capital and might purpose ought to be to get to at the least 12 months of runway. But when attainable, you elevate sufficient for 18 to 24 months of runway. Primarily based on earlier monetary crises, fundraising this 12 months (i.e. to start with of the disaster) might be a lot simpler than fundraising subsequent 12 months (i.e. when enterprise funding might probably expertise a slowdown as new capital slows).
For this slide, it is advisable to be intimately acquainted with your money burn in good, average, and dangerous eventualities, and you must have a plan for every of those conditions to current to traders. In our latest dialog with Bullpen Capital VC Paul Martino, he gave some advice on this matter:
This implies having a number of plans for various eventualities to current to traders. Nobody is aware of how the disaster will shake out, so founders must have a plan for good, average, and doubtlessly horrible financial eventualities. Martino talked about one in every of his portfolio firms who offered 6 plans for various eventualities.
Different factors to incorporate on this slide of your pitch deck:
- How has your startup utilized the PPP mortgage program?
- How do you propose to chop your burn fee? In a worst-case state of affairs, you’ll want to consider furloughs for present workers, scaling again hiring, lowering advertising funds or adjusting to greater ROI actions, or different strategies.
- How you propose to boost extra money if crucial? In case you are pitching new traders, you may focus on contingency plans to safe backup funding from present traders if the recession worsens.
“You don’t have to just batten down the hatches and wait for the storm to blow over. There are often opportunities buried in crises and you have to look for them,” states Andrew Ackerman.
For instance, Kognition makes use of picture recognition to be sure that the particular person swiping into the constructing is who she or he says they’re. They’ll hook up with any IP digital camera, even a thermal digital camera. However pre-COVID, nobody cared about thermal cameras. Put up-COVID, Kognition presents a restricted use model of their software program to display tenants and supply and repair folks for elevated temperatures totally free.
One other one in every of our actual property tech portfolio firms, eDraw, helps lenders course of development loans, all on-line and in a single place, changing in-person paper-based processes with on-line workflows which are 75% extra environment friendly. So eDraw is providing their software program to lenders totally free in the course of the pandemic realizing that, as soon as they’ve a style of what eDraw can do, they’ll by no means return to the hodgepodge of emails, faxes, and spreadsheets they at the moment use.
The takeaway for this slide: Take a look at your present capabilities to see if there may be some function that beforehand was pretty minor that may now be very related. Take a look at your dev pipeline to see which options you may need to prioritize in response to the disaster. Even in case you misjudge the state of affairs and the market doesn’t reply as anticipated, you’re nonetheless shifting in the appropriate path in the long run.
In case your potential clients are cash-constrained, provide the service to them totally free to get them hooked. Perhaps your clients are contemplating a number of choices, and this can be a wonderful means so that you can turn out to be the incumbent when the time comes to start out charging once more.