Startup founders are trying to automate the worst part of the job: fundraising

With the traditional investment scene dry, founders are looking for more effective ways to reach the right VCs. To that end, over the past few weeks, thousands of founders have applied for land capital through a common application, but instead of hoping to get into university, they’re hoping to get capital from top investors. The platform they were using was SeedChecks, which was launched about a month ago by venture capitalist and growth marketing entrepreneur Julian Shapiro. Founders are invited to apply using a 1-minute form that asks for a deck, note and region. The app then blasted convictions for 16 investors, including Sarah Guo, Mercury’s Imad Account and CapitalX’s Cindy Bee – all of whom have the ability to write unilaterally or privately.

Although the group only invests in startups worth less than $20 million (a quick scan of the offerings shows that most of them are worth between $5 million and $10 million), there aren’t many restrictions. Additionally, Seed Checks Group does not invest in any CPG or DTC products. The applications are reviewed every two weeks, and if the startup is interested, the founders get back to you within two weeks of entering the deck. So far, the tool is resonating: Seed Checks received 2,000 applications within 2 weeks of its launch on Twitter and Product Hunt.

SmartPass co-founder Peter Luba, who is building a digital hall pass for schools, was part of the first batch of apps. The founder is going through the fundraising process for the first time since deciding to turn SmartPass from a side gig into a full-time startup. Since applying for the seed cheques, he has started discussions with four investors in the group.

Luba learned about race checks from scrolling on TikTok. Until then, the process of emailing multiple investors at once was more informal. The closest thing to a typical app-style pitching process was through Superlinks in Silicon Valley, where he connected with 10 investors in one email thread (talk about FOMO).

“Fundraising is a full-time job, it’s time-consuming and I want to get back into building,” Luba said. “It’s not fun, but it’s not why we build a company.”

Some were not immediately excited by the idea of ​​automation. Nachonacho founder Sanjay Goel was initially skeptical of the idea of ​​any platform trying to scale up fundraising. When he saw the “very smart” investors involved, he changed his view. He’s interested if the effort helps him make this effort better — but as a three-time founder, Goel still believes fundraising is a “relationship-based activity.” The investing entrepreneur says platforms like SeedChecks can be one source of deal flow, but he doesn’t want it to be the only one.

Shapiro sees the platform as filling a gap in the regulated marketplace with the speeds it offers in programming, exchanging formal consent and fairness. Seed checks have historically not been applicable to startups because they don’t require the help or introduction of a wide range of investors. They only wanted stage presence. The platform isn’t just testing the traditional pitch application strategy. Afore Ventures launched a common application program in January; As of 8 weeks ago, it had received 1,600 startup applications, or about 200 applications per week. The investor pool has grown from 10 investors, to 30, to 52 individuals or organizations.

B, the sole general partner Capital X, has yet to make any investments from the initiative – but seed checks, she said. It is more effective than the inbox itself The flow of a new agreement with landing. She added, “The combined brand is much stronger than one.”

“People who don’t normally listen to me, a GP with a $250K check, now leads a group of VCs who can afford it. [a million dollar] Check it out,” she told TechCrunch. “It’s more efficient for founders. Why haven’t other small funds done this before?”

B’s Comments Track: Due to the size of the checks and the popularity of party rounds, co-investing is common among early-stage venture capitalists, but efficiency is an evergreen value among investors. Focusing on groups rather than individuals can help cut through all the noise, especially given how solo GPs are struggling in today’s LP risk landscape.

“I know a lot of investors who are basically investing in something that’s going to hit their inbox,” says Shapiro. He said No. More entrepreneurs.

When Shapiro sought out the 16 investors who were running race checks, he was able to convince them to join because he demonstrated better deal flow by combining their shared social audience. “By putting our face together, we were getting higher conversions from the founder, pitch floors and much better offers,” he said. Shapiro himself does not direct people to his website; He only sends them to race checks.

Another device that gets steam is the VC Sheet, developed by Ali Rohde Outset Capital and Shapiro. The two investors created a website that publishes lists of investors based on their level, location or startup vertical. Like Clear, Crunchbase is easy to search, Rohde explained. Changing taste buds can be difficult in the case of any tools that help investor access. In fact, TechCrunch once attempted to create a guide for active venture capitalists called The TechCrunch List. He died.

Rohde said that VC Sheet is different from TechCrunch List because it focuses on helping to provide Intel in the early-stage venture market; And instead of offering only proptech-focused investors, they choose lists like New York’s most active pre-seed investors.

“For founders, it doesn’t really make sense to get a comprehensive in-depth view of the early-stage funding ecosystem because they’re only going through it once. So like, figure out who you want, move on, get back to building,” she said. Over and over again, we’re on these calls, we’re talking to founders, and they’re asking us who they need to talk to – and so it makes sense for us to spend some time putting together that central repository – no, it makes sense for a founder to do that.

Both the VC Sheet and Seed Check are free for founders and investors to use. Both are not trying to be businesses or pay to access. Accessibility may play a role in its success.

Shapiro says VC Sheath is trying to solve a big structural problem around founders being able to find investor-startup fits, and seed checks to get more than a dozen top investors a priority and easy face.

“Seed checks aren’t trying to do some massive overhaul of the VC ecosystem, it’s not being offered as a panacea,” he said. “It’s another outlet for founders … It’s a reflection of where fundraising is going for greater efficiency and accessibility.

If you’re curious about the happenings in the venture world, you can reach Natasha Mascarenhas on Twitter @nmasc_ Or on +1 925 271 0912 signal. Identity queries will be honored.

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