Back in Augustour own Ron Miller reported on the $6 million seed round from Spinach, a company that is building out its meeting tool designed specifically for engineers using agile methodology to conduct online stand-up meetings.
It struck me then: there is no shortage of meeting tools and I was curious what made the company so special. Today our itch is scratched: Spinach shared his pitch deck with toptecheasy.com for a closer look.
We’re looking for more unique pitch decks to break down, so if you’d like to submit your own pitch decks here’s how to do it.
Slides into this deck
If your team isn’t the best it can be, throw the team slide somewhere in the back of the deck and let your traction do the talking.
Spinach elevated its round with a tight 10-slide deck that lacks important information (we’ll get to that in the “Three Things That Can Be Improved” section), but the information included is extremely well laid out and organized. The team says it submitted the deck exactly as it was used in its pitches to investors.
- Cover slide
- Team slide
- Problem slide
- Mission slide
- Product slide
- Traction slide
- Customers slide
- Investors are slipping
- Sliding plan for 18 months
- Thank you slide
Three things to love
I love the brevity of the 10-slide deck; I think they could have raised money with just two or three slides, so let’s start with the strongest:
Traction, traction, traction
If you had to raise money with just one story on a single slide, I have no doubt what that slide would discuss: traction. It doesn’t matter if your team is mediocre, your product is meh, and your competitive landscape is a who’s who of well-known brands. If you can demonstrate that you have found a product-market fit, you will find someone willing to support your business. The traction slider beats everything else, and this one is so aggressive up and to the right that I’m a little surprised the team put it in the second half of the deck.
The growth is impressive, but not exponential. As of early March 2022, things leveled off a bit, and as an investor I would like to explore why that might be.
The other potential pitfall here is that the company charts active users on a weekly basis. That’s an important chart, of course, but the company doesn’t tell the story of its business model. In other words, from the deck alone, it’s not clear whether active user numbers are directly linked to revenue (checkout the company’s pricing pagehowever, it seems that it does, which makes me wonder why it’s not just charting revenue here).
Still, traction is traction, and if revenue growth is in the same general ballpark as daily and weekly active users, I’m not surprised the company has cashed in.
What you as a startup can learn from this slide is to really lean on your metrics. If you have them, show them off.
Great mission and solution
It’s not hard to imagine that Zoom could make changes to its platform that would jeopardize Spinach’s business model.
Spinach’s mission slide is actually the “solution” slide as well, and it very clearly states the reason for the company’s existence: to help “help remote teams meet faster and more effectively.”
I’d nitpick here a bit, as the product is (for now) aimed at integrated design and development teams running the scrum process – there are many other teams that work remotely for whom this product might be a less perfect fit – but I like the clarity of this.
As an investor, I’d be curious to see what the company plans: will it broaden its focus to serve all meetings remotely, or will it further narrow its goals to be an even better tool for scrum teams? What I wouldn’t have given to have such a tool when I became a certified scrum master in 2007.
This slide shows that it’s OK to simplify. Yes, it might be a little vague, but that may be necessary to make the story flow more easily and to help potential investors understand the direction you’re going.
Interesting take on the product slide
For his product slide, Spinach chose to embed a video. There are pros and cons to doing it that way. In this case, the two-minute video is essentially the company’s sales pitch (the last title card on the video reads, “Ready to crush your stand-up? Join the beta on Spinach.io”) rather than anything that is more suited to investors. Obviously the team got away with it because they were successful in raising money, but it’s worth spending some time here. Your investors often care little about your actual product, and the first rule of storytelling is to keep your audience in mind.
If you’re going to raise $6 million, you need to spend the extra few hours making a video that directly addresses the investors. It’s a small but important thing.
Finally, a red flag has been built into the core of the business. It’s essentially an extension for Zoom, which is an inherent risk. Now, Zoom is unlikely to build Spinach’s features into its core platform, but it’s not hard to imagine Zoom making changes to its platform that would jeopardize Spinach’s business model. Not a big risk specific to Spinach, but my general advice is: build a business, not a position.
In the rest of this teardown, we take a look at three things Spinach could have improved or done differently, along with the full pitch deck.
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