PitchXO is transforming the process of pitching to clients and investors. Whenever you are sending PDF files through email, you might not know who opened them, when and to whom they sent it on. In other words, as soon as you send an attachment you lose control of your materials and can do very little about it. That’s not cool.
In order to solve this problem, pitchXO platform allows you to upload your PDF to a secure landing page, with your company name in the link (e.g. investor.yourstartup.com); then you can send this link, and your slide deck will be available in this space, accessible via log in with LinkedIn, Facebook or AngelList. Therefore you will know who looked at your presentation, when and even how long they spent on each slide. Besides PitchXO integrates with CRM tools like Salesforce or Streak CRM.
This new tool can be extremely powerful not only for start-ups seeking investment, but also for people in sales and marketing, who now can track and analyse how leads view their slide decks without having to ask.
Question. You work with Morten Lund, angel investor in Skype. What has his support meant for the project?
Answer. The idea for the product was born out of frustrations experienced by Morten. He was sending out a lot of PDF pitches for his various companies through email. It was impossible to keep track of all the different approached people and their interest level.
This was the initial idea we tried to solve, and the reason we created the product. So we quickly put together a prototype, where a PDF presentation was put online behind a Facebook and LinkedIn login. He could then invite his network to come and view it. Shortly after over 800 people signed up to see that specific presentation.
From this we evolved the product based on his feedback, and connected it to a CRM system keeping everything super organized.
This worked great, and so we figured that if we could get this to work for Morten then we had created something valuable. That’s why we started to think about how we could help others with this specific problem. This was when we started to work on the SaaS version of pitchXO.
Q. PitchXO helps other start-ups to raise money, but how are you funding yours?
A. It is somewhat ironic that one of our aims is to help other start-ups to raise money, while we are happy being bootstrapped. Our background however is in well funded start-ups, so we know the painpoints of the fundraising process, and that even a small simplification can help founders massively in shortening the whole process.
We were also fortunate to have some great early customers. They believed in what we were doing and were happy to support us through our manual-service phase. Our work processes are always to make something work and then think about automating it later.
During the early days, there was a lot of manual work on our side. This had to be reflected in the price which was naturally higher. Now we have managed to increase the automation towards a ‘do-it-yourself’ solution, and to decrease our manual labour, which we then re-invest into additional support for each of our clients. This is reflected in the price that has decreased considerably as well.
Q. What has been the most successful funding round that PitchXO has helped to happen?
A. One of our first customers had great success in raising a $2 million round. This spurred us on to get the product out there to a global audience. Overall we have now helped companies raise combined over 80 million USD.
But you also have to remember that we see our product having many uses. Helping start-ups raise money whilst being a core part of the business is not just the only thing that we are focusing on. We added other features such as ability to show KPI and company updates. This took us into the realms of creating investor portals for companies as well.
With all that being said, we have seen some great results with funding. Without naming any names we have helped numerous customers with their funding rounds. These range from raises in the tens of thousands of dollars up to the millions.
Q. Is social login (Facebook, Linkedin and AngelList) an obstacle for investors and potential clients?
A. There are a few important points to this… We believe that having 99 different passwords is very impractical for anybody. However we see social login as the only option currently to identify a person online –while sharing emails and passwords becomes very common nowadays, sharing the social account is not-, and in fact providers like LinkedIn and AngelList were created for exactly this purpose, to identify a person in a business environment
We also believe that if you share internal company information, a form of identification should not be an obstacle. It is an indicator for the seriousness of the other party – why would I want to show internal company metrics to a person who doesn’t want to identify itself?
Our customers work with small investors and angels to some of the more high profile investors. We don’t see the use of social login being a barrier if the individual wants to see your material.
Of course, a lot of this is about how best to approach investors. Using an investor page as a cold-call technique might not be the best solution; while getting introductions and building relationships can have great advantages for your round.
Q. Reading some discussions in other blogs, a few comments suggest that your pricing could be a bit too high… What’s your opinion on this?
A. We always re-adjusted our pricing based on our infrastructure and automation decisions. Our initial pricing was in the clearly higher enterprise range.
Since our launch we were able to cut down on costs significantly, and also were able to bring the price-point down.
The other side of the story is also the value proposition; having investor pages customers were able to heighten their valuation and close their rounds more quickly, while keeping existing investors updated and happy.
We believe that this point is not to be underestimated in the big picture as well. However of course having used a percentage of the deal-size model, would have been clearly the more lucrative model in the long run.
Having said that, we feel we are now at a price point which is both fair and great value for money, especially in comparison to similar services in the space.
Q. What’s the ‘pitch academy’?
A. The pitch academy was created as an online resource. It is a series of articles which stem from our experiences. We have seen a lot of pitch decks, know a lot of people who have successfully raised and have a strong network in that space. These are all ingredients that went into creating the pitch academy.
The aim of the articles is to help start-ups look at the way they are approaching funding/pitching/gaining investment. It gives some tips which they may like to implement or not. One of the most common things we hear from customers and potential customers is ‘how do we make a decent pitch deck’?
There is a ton of information online to help with this and we also have our own points of view. The pitch academy is a free online resource so it is worth browsing through. If you see something useful then read it or sign up for the course and get an article delivered every week to your inbox.
Q. What’s your favourite book and why?
A. There are many, however Upton Sinclair’s ‘Oil!’ is a great classic showing the rise and fall of self-made entrepreneurs during another California rush of our times; and the clear impacts of economical games on our own perception of today’s world.