TC+ Summary: Pitch Coaching from 5 VCs, Black Founder Funding Options, 3 FinTech Flaps


Based on my talks at TechCrunch Early Stage last week, VCs are very open to first-time founders who can show more than enthusiasm.

But trade is idiosyncratic: Few investors may be content to make deals over coffee, but early-stage teams still need a solid pitch floor or note to leave behind.

Similarly, one VC might encourage newly minted CEOs to eat ramen and ride the bus, while another might suggest paying low six-figure salaries, depending on geography, revenue, and other factors.

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I asked five early-stage investors to share their candid advice for first-time investors, and I’m going to save you some time—many, if not all, of them probably aren’t ready to become an investor yet.

If you haven’t already talked to a lot of customers or created a contact sheet for at least 25 potential investors backing companies like yours, it’s too soon.

And if you’ve added “AI” to your pitch deck to make it more appealing, I have some more bad news: FOMO is passé, and due diligence is the new black.

Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to respond! If you’re an early stage investor interested in being featured in future columns, email with “How To Pitch Me” in the subject line.

Here are the participants this month:

  • Rudina Seseri, Founder and Managing Partner, Glasswing Ventures
  • Patrick Salyer, Partner, Mayfield Fund
  • Josh Costinos, Venture Partner, Signal Fire
  • Alexa Von Tobel, Managing Partner, Inspiration Capital
  • Oren Yunger, Partner, GGV Capital

Thank you for reading

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+
@your main actor

10 years of fintech failure: 3 more ideas that failed to live up to the initial hype

Image Credits: Tomell (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Remember P2P lending and on-demand insurance? If not, there’s a good reason: Despite the hype, they’re just two of the fintech innovations of the past decade.

For his latest TC+ column, fintech consultant Grant Easterbook examines three more ideas that “seemed promising at first, but largely failed to transform the financial services industry.”

According to Easterbrook, these misfires offer important lessons for today’s founders and investors: “Fintech entrepreneurs need to remember the basic principle that the average consumer doesn’t like to think about money and often wants someone else to take care of it.”

Actual Fermenting Capacity Madness: Have We Lost the Plot?

Cheeseburger with googly eyes

Image Credits: Andrea Komi (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Foods produced by precision fermentation are in the frozen aisles of supermarkets and fast food restaurants, but when will bioprocessing products outperform traditional farming methods?

“Prominent scientists and technologists from industry and academia tell me — often vocally, and sometimes off the record — that the economics of food-grade precision fermentation cannot compete with commodities or eggs,” says Blake Byrne. , a Cambridge University graduate who is building a stealth mode biomanufacturing startup.

Instead of “legacy systems,” the precision brewing industry should invest in applications that produce “radical rather than additive processes,” he wrote on TC+.

0.69% in Q1, Funding for Black Founders ‘No Longer Creates an Emotional Response’

Full length of young woman pulling large green helium balloons with string against white background.

Full length of young woman pulling large green helium balloons with string against white background.

Black founders generally receive about 1% of funding, including seed, corporate venture, private equity, and venture capital.

Recently, however, entrepreneurs in this group have seen a significant decline: in Q1 2023, “Black founders raised just 0.69%, or $312 million, of the estimated, 45 billion Crouchbase raised in the quarter,” Dominic Madori Davis reports. .

They collected $1.26 billion during the same period last year.

In such a rugged playing field, it’s legitimate to expect some players to take a different course, which is why some black founders are looking to options like government aid, “CVC funds and emerging companies in the Middle East.”

Aventurine helps early stage founders find their feet

Image Credits: Evanastar/Getty Images

Odysseus wandered for 10 years to find his way home, which is how long a founder waits to build a successful startup.

Like a great poem, the journey is beset with pitfalls and self-inflicted failures. It’s not for everyone, which is why Aventurine Capital Group “starts early to support people who aren’t natural entrepreneurs,” writes Haje Jan Kamps.

“These people are professors at universities, and asking them to uproot and come to us, where we have a studio, doesn’t work,” says managing director Joe Maruschak.


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