Brad Dwyer is a nerd you need to know. His expressions through software are thoughtful, award-winning, and world changing. Whether it’s building into computer vision, multimodality, augment reality, machine learning, AI, game development, Y Combinator, or raising $20M to support the growing team at Roboflow, this technologist leads the way and our episode of #YDNTP brews insight you won’t hear anywhere else! Along with helpful insight, here’s that link to crazy computer vision projects that Brad mentions during our time in the Pour Over Publishing studio. Stay optimistic and let’s keep building!
We’ve spent all month exploring early moves to evolve business ideas into reality. Using your time dedicated to no-code wireframing, actively listening to others, telling customer stories with a colorful business model canvas, and escorting execution with business plans, let’s translate emerging insight into snapshots of your business. The one pager, pitch deck, and investor memo are different types of attention traps entrepreneurs can use to connect with those who care.
The one pager is a punchy asset built to describe the most important elements of your business. Concise is nice, as the goal is to create immediate intrigue from everyone who receives it. Speaking of everyone, a one pager should be ready for anyone. This means you must find a balance between enough details to show substance and realistic potential, without giving away the secret sauce.
While you know a lot about your business, the goal is simple. Create enough curiosity to keep the conversation flowing. For more on how to sequentially guide people through the layers of understanding, scrub to minute 10:45 in this talk I shared at a 2022 raising capital seminar.
As you consider what content to include and how to format so much goodness into such a tight document, here is the FliteBrite one pager from 2015 and there are many other sharp templates online. Once you have a one pager ready to share, let’s connect! I’d love to look it over and can provide feedback if you’d like, but can also feed momentum by sharing your new one pager with strategic investors.
The pitch deck is like a slide deck used in a verbal pitch, but with more information to help recipients (often investors) learn about your venture. Within 10-15 slides, present the story of your business with eye-catching visuals, data-driven details, and links to more supportive content. A concise pitch deck showcases your storytelling skills while entertaining an audience who is about to learn more about the market, problem, your solution, traction, moat-digging differentiators, the team, vision, and how to contact you.
Knowing this attention trap is most often needed by founders raising financial capital, even if it’s in a closing appendix, it’s good to include more data-driven details in a pitch deck. Like handy back slides during the Q&A portion of a pitch, clear financial projections, existing market research, how money will be spent, and customer discovery results are all good ways to prove you understand your business plan and how the numbers work.
That said, don’t numb readers. Avoid small font and word salads. Incorporate imagery that supports a captivating story. Translate your mission while making it clear how this venture will deliver serious returns. Like the one pager, pitch decks are not crafted to secure an investment. They are designed to fuel curiosity and more conversation.
Commanding a dynamic investor memo keeps people informed with the ongoing progress of your company. Along with sections you include in a pitch deck, investor memos create space to highlight the evolving details of your fundraising campaign, key performance metrics (KPIs), data visualizations, recent milestones, multimedia, current needs of the team, and future goals for the company. Platforms like Carta, Build Memo, Visible, Paperstreet, and Notion make it easy to manage accurate, updated, and communicated investor memos. The quick-to-digest, but also real-time information is why investor memos are popular among well-articulated founders raising venture capital.
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. -Albert Einstein
As we finish sipping on these three different types of attention traps, let’s commemorate how alternate versions of each document may help you share the most impactful details with the right audience. For example, a pitch deck for local angel investors may be different than a pitch deck for a global venture capital firm. Connecting everything can also add efficiency, but maintaining a well-organized data room is not for the faint of heart. As any company evolves, so will the need to update documents that tell its story.
Breakout valuations are achieved when a business is valued based on how it makes people feel and its future potential, not just what it’s done in the past.
The nine components of a breakout valuation are confidence, vision, curiosity, people, communications, cash management, financial forecasting, capital strategy, and business design. Whether or not you sell your company, business owners who optimize in these areas, position themselves to capture a breakout valuation.
This caffeinated contribution is a special adaptation from Breakout Valuation, which is the #1 New Release in Venture Capital and was written by my good friend, Patrick E. Donohue. Patrick is an entrepreneur, mentor, advisor, investor, valuation expert, and community builder who offers unique insights into the dynamics of money and business.
While you’re running a company, breakout valuations make everything easier. It attracts talented employees and quality customers. This expands your market position, makes financial capital less expensive, and invites vendors to extend better terms based on your surging trajectory.
Knowing what your ownership of the business is worth helps you make important financial decisions and becomes increasingly important as a business matures. If a business grows to the point where it becomes valuable to acquire, academic and finance professionals attempt to make valuation objective, but the complexity of each transaction makes valuation subjective in the end. Along with all the objective data, valuation is highly influenced by the environment, relationship, and personal views of the participants in a transaction. Knowing how investors and lenders use objective valuation tactics is crucial, but understanding the potential value of the business, articulating it to potential partners, and having them buy into the vision will arm you with an advantage to get what you want—a breakout valuation.
Breakout valuations are not aspirational. They emerge from what you are doing right now. It’s all about being clear with your mission and vision. It’s knowing your numbers and how everything comes together through a shared mindset, communication, and workflow. The pursuit toward a breakout valuation compounds, requiring attention today, and every day moving forward. This aggregates understanding and builds confidence. When the day comes to part with some or all of your business, the confidence from a breakout valuation will maximize the payout or deliver assurance in walking away from the deal.
What are we doing today to support our goals for tomorrow?