Want a Pre-seed Check? You Better Have a Product Ready

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

Want a Pre-seed Check? You Better Have a Product Ready

It was not long ago that having a brilliant idea or even a "pre-idea" was sufficient enough to get someone to write you a pre-seed check. Those were the days. Now, according to an analysis released Tuesday of 174 pre-seed companies, founders have to be much more prepared when they're pitching investors.


"The pre-seed round is now more formalized, and investor expectations of pre-seed startups are changing," said Russ Heddleston, co-founder and CEO of DocSend, which released the analysis, in a prepared statement. "Institutional investors are moving downstream and establishing pre-seed funds, and they're bringing their sophisticated and rigorous investment approach with them."

Here are key findings from the report:

  • The average amount raised in the U.S. during a pre-seed round is $500,188
  • 92% of companies with successful pitch decks in the pre-seed round had either an alpha, beta, or shipping product. This is in contrast with the unsuccessful pitch decks analyzed, where only 68% of companies presented the same type of product readiness
  • The average pre-seed pitch deck length is 20 pages.
  • Investors spend an average of 3 minutes, 21 seconds reviewing a deck
  • Investors spend nearly 50% more time on the product slides in successful pitch decks and over 18% longer on the business model in unsuccessful pitch decks
  • Contacting more investors and holding more meetings doesn't yield better results for fundraising in the pre-seed round. The average fundraising round for pre-seed startups lasts 20.5 weeks with an average of 63 investors contacted, which garners 32 investor meetings for successful startups
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Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

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Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash

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Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Raises
Image by Joshua Letona
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