Startups TC+ roundup: pitch coaching of 5 VCs, funding options...

TC+ roundup: pitch coaching of 5 VCs, funding options for black founders, 3 fintech flubs


Based on my talks last week at Early Stage, VCs are very open to new founders who can show more than just enthusiasm.

But dealmaking is peculiar: a few investors might be happy with a coffee deal, but startup teams still need a solid pitch deck or memo they can leave behind.

Similarly, one VC may encourage newly minted CEOs to eat ramen and ride the bus, while another may suggest a salary in the low six figures, depending on geography, income and other factors.

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I’ve asked five early-stage investors to offer candid advice for startups, and I’m going to save you some time — many, if not most, of you probably aren’t ready to pitch an investor just yet.

If you haven’t already spoken to dozens of clients or created a contact spreadsheet for at least 25 investors who have backed companies like yours, it’s too early.

And if you just added “AI” to your pitch deck to make it more appealing, I have 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 are a budding investor who would like to be featured in future columns, please email [email protected] with “How to pitch me” in the subject line.

These are the participants this month:

Thank you for reading,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager,
@your protagonist

10 years of fintech failure: 3 more ideas that didn’t live up to the initial hype

"Failure" Office Metaphor a trash can with a yellow arrow pointing at it surrounded by crumpled paper balls.

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

Do you remember P2P loans and on-demand insurance? If not, there’s a good reason for that: despite much hype, these are just two of the many fintech innovations that have buzzed over the past decade.

For his latest TC+ column, fintech advisor Grant Easterbook explored three more ideas “that initially seemed promising, but largely failed to change financial services.”

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

The capacity madness of precision fermentation: have we lost the plot?

Cheeseburger with googly eyes

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

Food produced through precision fermentation is in frozen aisles of supermarkets and fast food restaurants, but when will bioprocessing output surpass traditional farming methods?

“Leading scientists and technologists from industry and academia tend to tell me – often in hushed tones, and sometimes only unofficially – that the economics of food-grade precision fermentation are nowhere near competitive with standard dairy or eggs,” says Blake Byrne. , a Cambridge University graduate who is building a biomanufacturing startup in stealth mode.

Instead of “scaling up old systems,” the precision fermentation industry should invest in applications that deliver “radical rather than incremental process intensification,” he writes in TC+.

At 0.69% in the first quarter, the dip in funding for black founders ‘no longer elicits an emotional response’

Full length of a young woman pulling large green helium balloons with ropes against a white background

Full length of a young woman pulling large green helium balloons with ropes against a white background

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

Recently, however, the entrepreneurs in this cohort saw a significant drop: In the first quarter of 2023, black founders raised an estimated 0.69%, or just $312 million, of the roughly $45 billion Crunchbase raised in total for the quarter , reports Dominic Madori-Davis. .

In the same period last year, they raised $1.26 billion.

With such an uneven playing field, it is legitimate to expect a different course from some players. That’s why some black founders are exploring alternatives such as government grants, “CVC funds and emerging companies in the Middle East.”

Aventurijn helps founders to find their way at an early stage

Image Credits: ivanastar/Getty Images

Odysseus wandered around for 10 years looking for his way home, which is also about how long a founder can expect to work building a successful startup.

Like an epic poem, the journey is beset by pitfalls and self-made misadventures. It is not for everyone, which is why Aventurine Capital Group ‘jumps into action early to support people who are not born entrepreneurs’, writes Haje Jan Kamps.

“These people are university professors, and asking them to pick up carrots and come where we are, where there is a studio, is not going to work,” said Joe Maruschak, general manager.

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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