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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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Motional
Image courtesy of Motional

Motional, a self-driving taxi startup backed by Hyundai, will partner with Uber to bring its robotic taxis to cities throughout the United States within the next decade as part of its push to get people more comfortable with the concept of taking a ride in a driverless electric vehicle.

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