The Seed Deck

There are a ton of references about how to present a seed-stage company out there. Still, many entrepreneurs are struggling with it, wasting too much time to put a story together, and delivering a non-engaging outcome.

Here you will find a template to help you get started. It is built with a singular focus in mind: to trigger further interest in your company and get you the first meeting with an investor who skimmed through the slides.

Section #1 Problem

After the slide title, start with the problem. Take a step back and walk your reader through the reasons why the default way people/companies perform such an essential task today is outdated and bound to change.

Most often than not, it comes down to time and money being wasted, with the results being worse than expected, and the frustration these entail.

Note that you’d better focus on describing the problem rather than its market size. It should feel large enough intuitively, and your reader may do the math.

What you need to answer in this section (one to three slides): Is this an interesting problem? Is it big enough?

#2 Solution

Continue with your product vision. Describe the foundations of what would drive the next generation of solutions to the problem at hand. Following up on the previous section, these should be straightforward.

Focus on first principles rather than detailed specs. A technology product delivering on these should be able to drive significant efficiencies natively.

What you need to answer in this section (one slide): Would this be a groundbreaking proposition? Is it possible at all? (Here a healthy dose of wonder is fine.)

#3 Product

Now, drive the point home by demonstrating you have built a product that delivers on these first principles, and it works already. Here you can be a bit more technical, also shedding light on your secret technical source.

If you have done things right, your readers should click on the link and get to try the product themselves.

If you don’t have a working product or a prototype in place, it might be a good idea to prioritize doing that ahead of trying to raise a round.

What you need to answer in this section (one slide): Is this actually groundbreaking? Does it really work?

#4 Traction

Third-party validation should follow. No matter whether you or the reader is an industry expert, you need to provide various points of evidence that other parties see value in what you build.

Usage metrics, revenue, customer logos, and quotes –in this ascending order– are the strongest signals a seed company may provide. These are your best slides – an investor should be sold to take the meeting right here!

If you don’t have any of the above validation points, you can still talk to potential users and get their feedback.

What you need to answer in this section (one to three slides): Is there legitimate third-party validation that the product delivers against expectations?

#5 Team

You have let your work speak for yourselves already. This is a slide placed favorably to introduce the founding team who has put this together.

What you need to answer in this section (one slide): Is the team relevant (i.e., do they know what they are talking about)? Can they deliver? Are they committed enough?

#6 Plan

It is recommended that you have created a more detailed plan, for example, as per the Seed Spreadsheet. You can then provide access to the source file and summarise its key points here.

Your investment ask is a product of the above plan; you may skip mentioning a specific amount in the slide and discuss further during your meeting.

What you need to answer in this section (one to two slides): Is there a well-thought-out plan for the next year or two? Are the targets ambitious yet realistic? Is this meaningful for a venture investment?

#7 Closing

Iterate on your mission and provide your contact details – these are enough for an interested party to respond…

You may access the Seed Deck template in Google Slides format here. Feel free to File > Make a copy or File > Download in your preferred format and use the slides as you see fit. Freepiker was used for themes and Unsplash for placeholder photos.

You should treat the above with what they are: a mere suggestion. A presentation is a form of expression of its creator; you should unleash your creativity, rather than restrain it. Also, as with everything that relates to your company, you are the ultimate judge on what is relevant versus not.

Still, we hope the seed deck to help you structure your startup’s story to capture attention, and we hope you put it to good use!

Causaly Raises $5M Series A by Pentech, EBRD & Marathon

“If I were starting a company today, it would use AI to teach computers how to read,” said Bill Gates in an interview last June. Machine reading –teaching computers to read, understand and interpret knowledge, at scale– is the next frontier in natural language processing, and Causaly is delivering against it.

Imagine having a friend who has read all the available literature in health and life sciences, highlighted every cause-and-effect relationship within it, and put everything together in a single map. What would you ask your dear omniscient friend? That’s Causaly, and here is an example of how it works:

We first invested in Causaly a year ago. Since then, cofounders Yiannis Kiachopoulos and Artur Saudabayev built a rock star team, delivering a groundbreaking product that has already captured the attention of some of the largest organizations in pharma, biotech and healthcare around the world. Reception of Causaly in the industry has varied from amazement to disbelief, and examples like this one of a pediatrician finding evidence on a rare disease’s effect keep coming in.

Today, we are excited to share that Causaly has raised a $5m Series A round, led by Pentech Ventures, with the participation of EBRD and Marathon. We look forward to working closely together with Marc Moens and Zaya Kadyrova. This investment is a testament to the progress being made, as well as a glimpse into the opportunity that lies ahead.

Opening up access to medical knowledge in ways that have not been possible before is as fascinating a technology company can get. Causaly’s team in London and Athens is growing, and has embarked on a mission to move healthcare and life sciences forward. We feel privileged to be part of this journey, and we certainly recommend that you keep an eye on what’s coming next from Causaly!

London Greeks in Tech – Let’s Rock! Vol. 2

A vibrant Greek tech and startup scene has taken shape in London – this is an event to celebrate everything about it!

The recipe is simple: Engineers, founders, marketers, business developers, investors, designers –the list goes on, you know who you are– under the same roof, having drinks and networking with each other!

Those *many* of you who made it last year know what to expect – those of you who didn’t, just ask around, and make sure you won’t miss this!

The event is taking place on Friday, November 15 – here’s the full London #GRiT schedule:

Doors open at 6.00pm

– 7.00pm: The best and brightest Greek startups in London will get on stage to share their story and vision in 5′ each (stay tuned to find out who – you are going to love it!)

– 9.00pm till late: Non-stop networking between Greek tech peers – the first beer is on us!

Address: 80 Eastway, London E9 5JH (5′ walk from Hackney Wick Overground)

Please RSVP here so we have a sense of how many to expect.

About the space: The Old Baths is a 1934 Art Deco building turned into a creative hub, hosting community events, photography studios, a café, plus Gaia Pulses, an award-winning Greek food brand of plant-based, ready-made meals.

If you are a Greek, living in London and working in tech, do not think twice – spread the word and come join us!

See you all on Friday, November 15!

A Plain Cap Table Template

There is a ton of cap table templates out there, as well as various sophisticated solutions for cap table management. Still, chances are you have wasted an unreasonable amount of time putting together some financing scenarios for your company, or, even worse, you ended up with errors along the way.

Here is a Plain Cap Table Template to help you get the job done right and fast. All it does is the following: it takes a few inputs and shows you how your cap table will look like after your next fundraising round.

More specifically, you need to enter the number of shares each founder and investor (if any) currently holds, as well as the total figure of allocated and unallocated options (the number of options you have already granted or promised to employees, versus those that you have not).

With regards to the new round, fill up amounts to be contributed by each investor, percentage of unallocated option pool to remain available after the round, as well as the fully-diluted pre-money valuation. And that’s about it.

The spreadsheet will calculate your cap table after the round, so you can play around with the numbers and see what works for you best. To keep things simple, we have made a number of assumptions; for example, the company has no outstanding convertible loans, and the new round will also be an equity one.

The template does not constitute legal advice by any means. It’s not rocket science either (rather a 2×2 linear system…). Still, it may come handy when time is due – feel free to hit File > Make a copy, and put it at work. Plus, best of luck with your round!