What we learnt speaking with 100 founders launching businesses in lock down

Two months ago we put our heads together to see how we could support our community during Covid19. We created Wunderline – a professional support line for free, impartial advice. We didn’t pretend to know all the answers, but we knew we could speak for days about remote work, managing creatives, brand development, web design and fundraising.

And speak for days we did. We have been blown away by the response our little Wunderline has received. In two months we’ve spent over 50hrs on the phone and talked to ~100 startup founders.

We’ve reviewed multiple websites, pitch decks, fundraising and go to market strategies from businesses around the world. After doing so we felt it important to share some common traps first time founders fall into as well as tips for avoiding them.

Fundraising strategies during Covid19

VCs are open to investing during lockdown. Whilst parts of your business are dormant it is a great opportunity to rethink your strategy and prioritize fundraising. Always look for opportunities, even in the hardest of times.

  1. If work streams are dormant due to Covid19, use it as an opportunity to refine your pitch to highlight how your business will thrive in this new reality.
  2. Make sure your pitch reflects your ability to adjust to and build upon the challenge (e.g. you were selling your product to retailers? Think of going D2C)
  3. The VC market hasn’t shown signs anything has changed dramatically in the decision making process – there is obviously a greater interest in healthcare solutions and tougher decisions to make on brick and mortar – but this shouldn’t stop you from testing the waters.
  4. Prepare your deck for virtual pitching. When pitching online all investors see is your deck. Slide design is always important, but even more so when you can’t rely on body language to boost your chances.
  5. Even if you’re not currently pitching, consider tweaking your business model to take into account current developments and test it with VC’s. You never know, economic shifts may be beneficial to your business.

Here are a few more great pieces of advice for fundraising during down time from Business Insider.

5 common pitch deck mistakes

What became apparent after reviewing 75 pitches is regardless of industry many first-time decks contain some of the following (easy to avoid) mistakes:

  1. Not clearly explaining the product in the first 4 slides. As tempting as it is to set the scene, make sure your idea is the first thing investors see.
  2. No information on market size or projected market share. Even for early stage start-ups it’s important to demonstrate how much of a market your business needs to prosper.
  3. Not showing a breakdown of how you’ll use the funds, or having a breakdown that doesn’t match your roadmap. Investors want reassurance you’ve considered how you’ll spend their money.
  4. If a product or MVP exists, not showing traction or any customer feedback. A lack of data can be interpreted as an unwillingness to show it.
  5. Claiming to rely on “marketing channels” for customer acquisition without a marketing strategy outlined. Do not worry about fine details, but marketing = customers is too vague.

Website and digital presence

For many businesses their website is their only consumer destination. Here are a few errors to avoid when building your digital footprint:

  1. Landing pages without email capture. An inability to capture visitor data is at odds with a landing page’s primary objective.
  2. E-commerce homepages without products. Minimize the path to purchase, especially when starting out.
  3. Launching campaigns without the basics in place e.g. using different business names on social channels and websites, an inability to make purchases on product display pages, broken page links.
  4. Poor social maintenance: think quality over quantity, one regularly updated page beats four dormant channels.
  5. Uncertainty around function leads to poor optimization: be clear on the purpose your website serves and ensure user experiences are tailored to the needs of individual visitors.

Wunderline may be over but our commitment to helping founders is not! Due to the overwhelming response we’ve decided to allocate two hours every week to continuing to help founders for free. Whether you need pitch deck advice, brand insights, web reviews or go-to-market help. Our team is waiting to take your calls.

Head to Calendly, pick a Wunderline slot and tell us what you’d like to chat about!

Get in touch

Inspired? We’d love to connect and explore ways to collaborate.