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Applying for funding can be daunting at times. If you are a first-time entrepreneur, you may have never needed to construct a pitch deck before and the phrase “diligence hub” might sound like something for your car.

That’s why we created this Toolkit. You can refer to the Toolkit for answers to common questions that may pop up throughout the application process and for tips to improve the quality of your application. The Toolkit is organized by application step, so once you finish one step, check out this page to find the tools you’ll need to complete the next step!


STEP 1 CONNECT

Email address, first & last name, company, description, team size, category, website url
Your Elevator Pitch

Investors have heard hundreds and even thousands of startup pitches. To stand out, fill a tangible need with an innovative solution and tell a good story. Even the best products or services will struggle to be successful if you don’t tell the story well. Here are the basics on what to include and inspiration for creating your pitch.

TechStars Tips for a great pitch:

Cold call/email VS warm intro

Fundraising is hard. Setting yourself apart from thousands of other applications and inquiries to a VC firm is one of the first hurdles you need to jump. As you may have guessed, cold calls/emails/online applications are the least effective way of attracting VCs’ attention. So what should you do instead?

Try to get a warm intro. Leverage your connections, attend local startup events and connect with investors through Linkedin. If you absolutely have to cold call/email a VC, remember to do your homework and be ready to explain to the VC why you think they are a good fit for you.

STEP 2 SHORT SURVEY

Address, investment to date, revenue for the past year, number of users
Cap Table Template

Get started using this simple Cap Table.

Here is a more comprehensive Cap Table Template that might be useful to you.

How Convertible Debts Effects Your Cap Table

A convertible debt is a loan from early stage investors (angels or VCs) that at some point later down the road may convert into equity ownership (stock) in the company. It is commonly seen in early rounds of fundraising and bridge rounds.

Understanding Convertible Debt and how it Affects your Cap Table

Creating a Financial Forecast

Click here for detailed guidance on how to create a financial forecast.


STEP 3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1 page executive summary
Executive Summary Tips

FORMAT:
· Keep it SHORT: a one-pager is the best option
· Be clear, to the point and jargon-free

CONTENT:
· Define the problem and your solution
· Identify your unique value proposition and market potential
· Use bullet point and tables to organize your story
· PROOFREAD

Executive Summary Templates

Still not quite sure how to get started? Take a look at these examples:

 


STEP 4 PITCH DECK

Updated pitch deck
Pitch Deck Template and Resources
Check out this template and a few tips from LaunchNY on preparing for your Pitch Deck.


STEP 5 DETAILED SURVEY

Delaware C Corp, US visa, preliminary diligence hub url
Intro to Diligence Hub/Data Room
Let’s be honest, due diligence is not fun. It’s time-consuming and tedious. Starting the good habit of keeping everything in one place and constantly updating all the documents is the key to making the due diligence process efficient and hassle-free.

A diligence hub is essentially a place where you put in all the documents that you want investors to see for a fundraising campaign. For now, simply create a cloud-based shared folder and upload your incorporation documents. We may request more documents in the future.

C Corp VS LLC

STEP 6 TEAM VIDEO

Team video url, LinkedIn profiles for each team member
Tips and Tutorial

Pull out your stage voice and pitch like a pro. Here is a blog post from Y Combinator teaching you how to make a quality VC application video.


STEP 7  CUSTOMER REFERENCES

Submit customer references
Why Do We Ask For Customer References?

If you’re new to the startup world, you might be new to the idea of customer references. In a nutshell, VCs might ask for these even at a seed stage because they want to know who, why and how customers are buying your product. Here’s an in-depth look from Quora on why VCs ask for customer references.

How To Prepare Customer References

Now that you know why, here’s how to prepare and execute strong customer references.


STEP 8 INTERVIEWS

Prepare for an interview
How To Prepare For Your Interview
There’s no way to guarantee what questions investors will ask you, but it always pays to be prepared. When you go to your interview, make sure to do your research and bring the necessary resources.

Here is a checklist for you before going into a VC meeting.

Remember to bring:

    • A Well Prepared Pitch
    • Your business model

Here are some common questions you might be asked:


STEP 9 DILIGENCE

Extended diligence hub
Master Your Diligence Hub/Data Room

Here is a list of essentials that you should consider putting in your diligence hub:

  • Competition
  • Contracts
  • Corporate
  • Financials
  • IP
  • Marketing
  • Product
  • Sales
  • Tax
  • Team

Click here for a Google Drive template to get you started. Read the Checklist folder first to get a sense of what is required and what is recommended so you won’t be overwhelmed.

Google Drive is the easiest way to set up your first diligence hub. If you’re concerned about data security, we also recommend OneHub or other data room providers.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

List of Great Resources
Startup Bookshelf
Glossaries
Check out some great glossaries if you run into jargons:

Term Sheet 101