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The essentials of a business plan Eric Engineer Sevin Rosen Funds

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1 the essentials of a business plan Eric Engineer Sevin Rosen Funds

2 what are investors looking for? Founders w/ unique vision and passion Startup / industry experience Ability to recruit others: employees, angels, advisors Special Team How big? $20M, $100M, $1B? Depends on size of investor Big today or tomorrow? Market timing matters! IPO potential and/or large number of potential acquirers Large Opportunity Unique value proposition and market positioning Advantage that improves over time [virtuous-cycle] Clear Advantage Evidence of product/market fit Data points supporting business model assumptions Market Traction

3 your fundraising toolbox Executive Summary 1-2 page doc Slide Deck 10 slides + detailed appendix Product Demo Live or video Financial Model Simple spreadsheet w/ clear assumptions


5 get it down to less than 15 slides Slide 0 Title + intros + back story Slide 1 10,000 foot view Slide 2 problem definition Slide 3 how you uniquely solve the problem Slide 4 product demo / case study Slide 5 market analysis + sizing Slide 6 competition + sustainable advantage Slide 7 market traction + GTM plan Slide 8 team bios Slide 9 unit economics + financial projections Slide 10 company status + funding needs/uses Slide 11 exit potential Slide 12 summary + next steps Appendix lots of back-up slides

6 0: title + intros + back story Build credibility and rapport in the first five minutes by providing context and finding common ground: – Do homework on the investor (past investments, common contacts, past employers, familiarity with space) – Start with a reminder on how you met or why/how you were introduced – Provide quick bios of your founding team; focus on experiences that are relevant to your startup – The founding story is often a good segue into the slide presentation

7 1: the 10,000 foot view Tweet pitch: summary of your summary Problem you solve and for whom Market positioning / advantage / opportunity Top 1-2 accomplishments to date Initial strategy as part of a long-term vision How much you are raising

8 2: the problem definition What problem do you solve? And for whom? How do you know its a real problem? How are customers handling problem today? Do you speak your customers language? Is there adoption friction? – Aware of the problem? – Urgency? Feeling pain? Medicine or Vitamin? – Willingness to pay? Existing or new budget?

9 3: how you uniquely solve the problem How does your offering solve the problem? Offering = product + go-to-market strategy Whats your secret sauce? How much better/unique/different? What evidence do you have?

10 4: product demo / case study Demo is NOT a features and functions walk through Illustrate the customer problem and your unique solution to that problem o Build your demo around a case study o Provide context before starting o Focus on 1-2 core use cases that create value and differentiate your product PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE Consider a video if you are not good at demos

11 5: market analysis + sizing Big picture description of market dynamics o Why now? Why a startup? o Graphics are useful Define and segment your market o Identify low-hanging fruit o Short-term vs. long-term Market size estimates o SAM vs. TAM o Bottoms-up vs. tops-down o Consider changes over time o sanity check

12 6: competition + sustainable advantage No competition = no market doing nothing / good enough substitutes What is the basis of competition? How does your advantage grow over time? o Economies of scale o Network effects o Data scale o Brand o Distribution o Virtuous cycles Patents are nice to have but not enough

13 7: market traction + GTM plan Evidence of product/market fit o B2B: adopters, customers, partners, press/analyst o B2C: users, virality, engagement, monetization Go-to-market plan o Product Definition + Positioning o Marketing + Distribution + Sales Plan o Business Model + Pricing

14 8: team bios Why are you the best team to capture this big opportunity? Focus on relevant experiences Dont exaggerate or be too verbose Be open and honest about your gaps and weaknesses; have a plan to address them Avoid title inflation; think of the future Recruit advisors to build credibility

15 9: unit economics + financial projections Demonstrate unit economics of business model – Pricing, acquisition costs, churn, lifetime value – Data points supporting your assumptions 3-5 year financial forecast – bookings, revenues, gross margin, key operating expenses, cash needs Overlay with key stages, milestones, metrics – # customers, product releases, new channels, cash-flow break even, financing rounds, etc Nobody will believe your numbers! – Mechanics and key assumptions are what matters – Clearly identify key assumptions and why you feel confident in them – What drive revenues, margin, and expenses? – Is it consistent w/ market sizing and GTM plan – If youre taking a SWAG be up-front about it and explain how you will learn more over time

16 10: company status + funding needs/uses Think of financing as a series of experiments where you learn more at each stage reduces risk + increases value of your company Each stage should have clear value-creating milestones How are you going to use the funding in this stage? In future stages? How much money do you need to get to cash- flow breakeven? Do you have enough buffer if things dont go according to plan?

17 11: exit potential Where is sustainable value being created? Customer base / traffic / engagement Partner / distribution network Data / content / real estate Unique technology / capability Revenues / EBITDA Who are the likely acquirers and why? Are there analogs from the past?

18 12: summary + next steps Similar to 10,000 foot view slide but more focus on momentum, potential, & fundraising schedule Do not leave meeting without defining some clear next steps : – Setting up next meeting (i.e. visit to your offices to meet other team members, meeting with other members of the firm, more in-depth product demo, meet after key milestone completed, etc) – Sending due diligence materials – If too early, then define what investor would need to see to consider investing in the future – Understand the VC firms process and make sure youre talking to the right person in the firm Add investor to status update emails to friends of the company (no more than one per quarter)

19 Appendix Dont be afraid to include several more slides with lots of detail Group and label Appendix slides based on topic areas (product, market, financials, etc) Use these slides to answer questions that come up during/after the presentation Create a second version without appendix (or with subset of appendix) for emailing and printing


21 Q&A

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