So it's been almost one and a half years since DAI first came together as an idea in the minds of a small group of like-minded individuals. In that time, we've seen some great companies with great founders and teams. Those are the ones we've invested in. We've seen some great companies with not so great teams, some great teams with a company that still needs to find its way and ... we've seen a handful of lemons too.
Now that we are year and a half in, and being comfortable in our groove and what makes this Investment Committee 'tick' we are ready to publish here a list of dos and dont's for those teams who make it through our initial screening rounds to one of the DAI pitch nights!
1. You only have 20 minutes to present. Make them count
2. There is a good chance you will be interrupted during your presentation. Be prepared for that:
a. Know your numbers cold.
b. Know your product and tech
c. Anticipate the difficult questions a sophisticated investor would ask
d. Be prepared to answer them
3. Assume that your audience has a very good understanding of the opportunity. Best not to spend too much time on describing or romanticising the addressable market. Deal with it, but keep it quick.
4. Your greatest focus should be on:
a. How you are going to monetise - make sure you have stress-tested your own monetisation strategy. Be prepared to talk about market validation. Be up front about the competitive landscape;
b. How you are going to drive customer traction and revenue. Tell us about your track record. Do not overstate / understate numbers. If you do, this will come out in Q&A and you will have damaged your credibility;
c. How are you going to scale. If your plan includes being able to scale without rapid increase in monthly cash burn, say so, the IC will like that. Be prepared to explain how;
d. How are you going to spend the money? We will want to see a plan that prioritises investment in developing, scaling and critical hiring - rather than salary increases;
e. Explain how you will be distinct from and superior to the competition. Explain why your tech is better than others. Do not be tempted to exaggerate about what distinguishes your company. The IC will see through it very quickly and it could damage your chances; and
f. Describe your vision of the journey, from where you are today through to subsequent financing rounds, where you see the valuation going and MOST IMPORTANTLY a credible view on likely exit scenarios
5. Show us that you are open minded, that you know how to LISTEN and if, today or later, you discover something about the strategy / business plan / technology doesn't work - that you are the type of personality who has the flexibility to PIVOT if necessary. Give examples of past successes and also examples of how you have learned from mistakes in the past.
6. This IC really believes in the strength of teams and founders. The combination of confidence in the product with humility and open-mindedness is fundamental. Your team dynamics are just as important.