As we leave behind the of July 9th, we are delighted to get a better grasp of what our teams have and can accomplish. This ’s focus in workshops was B2C Hacking and tools and tactics to optimize pitch decks. We were also excited to extend our network not only in the Valley, but even in Berkeley. It’s great to see how our teams’ growths know no limitations, be it geographically, internally or socially.


Starting out with a review session on finding mentors and investors by Jeff Abbott, we delved right into a presentation on “Fundraising Tools and Tactics”. The session was led by Tuto Assad and Karae Lisle, the CEO of My Digital TAT2, a nonprofit in Silicon Valley addressing healthy habits, critical thinking skills, and thoughtful online behavior, for constructive integration of technology into daily human life. Mrs. Lisle focused on sales on her presentation, stating that  “Establishing sales cycle is a combination of both art and science”. Defining a sales cycle as the time between speaking to a lead for the first time and closing the deal as they write the check, Lisle pointed to the importance of building consistent revenue. The product you create should build on awareness, interest, desire, action and potential. Responding to a question on how to determine numbers, Lisle recommended looking at competitors, assumptions, and guess order. According to her, each product follows different steps that can be decided by leadership when going through this funnel. “Allow for as much bonus as possible for your sales representatives’ compensation” Lisle recommended. Its integral to find a passionate salesperson who can help build and contribute to your sales methodology.


The presentation was followed by Toro Ventures’ Tuto Assad’s workshop on “Tools and Tactics for Seed Capital Fundraising”. Tuto introduced 3 primary stages involved in getting funded. “Fundraising is like selling, yet instead of selling your products, you are selling your company” Tuto said. The first stage was introduced as “getting leads” through demo days, AngelList, Gust, Crunchbase, Linkedin, Google and so forth. In this stage, the critical thing is to know what investors want and to find investors that can relate to your own identity, lifestyle and background. Demo days are particularly helpful in that they offer hundreds of investors with multimillion-dollar portfolios. He gave the example of a startup that increased its valuation 2. multiples overnight simply because many investors wanted to in the company at a Demo day.


The second stage was introduced as “Prospecting”, that can also build on referrals, demo days, Linkedin and emailing. When it comes to referrals, it is critical to try and get introduced by somebody else, increasing the prospects of actually meeting someone. If you are utilizing a contact person when trying to meet someone, have the person introduce you to the investor with a short paragraph about you and your company. When emailing, it is necessary to remember that the goal of a cold email is to get a meeting, with a subject that includes something the investor needs to know. “Do not attach your pitch deck” Tuto recommends. The email could involve what kind of startup you run, the growth rate, or what you are looking for. The email should point towards the investor’s interest are, demonstrating that you researched the person. Adding a note could be useful in this respect too, such as letting them know you already contacted someone within the company but are looking to connect with the right person.


The third and final stage is pitching that could either be a short “hook” deck to get attention, an investor’s deck, or a full deck to get an investment commitment. The short deck should include the logo, a short description, the user, problem, solution, traction, market size and growth. The deck should finish off with the go-to-market, team introduction and summary. The second investor’s deck should similarly include the following slides according to Tuto: logo and a short description, user and problem, solution, traction, competitive advantage, market size and growth, beachhead market and size, business model, team, ask and use of money. The full deck should finally include all of the above as well as projections and milestones, status and timelines, product, technology, marketing strategy, KPIs, strategic relationships, trends, advisors and investors.


Tuto started wrapping up his presentation saying that “It’s not all about the numbers you have; it’s about how you got those numbers.” Investors want to see how you think and make decisions, your methodologies and so forth. The framework to follow is to first capture the investors’ attention at demo days, not letting them be distracted or bored. “Do not use buzzwords as it might eclipse your idea or startup” Tuto shared. Market and the team are the two most important components of your presentation that will let investors decide if they actually want to invest.



Following this presentation, our teams had a pitch session with feedback with Kashi Tahir, focusing on “Impact Stack Framework” and a follow up mentoring session on individual pitch improvement by Chris Yeh. All teams shared that this was extremely helpful.

On Thursday, our Managing Director Çiğdem Toraman had the opportunity to meet with Bree Cahill, the Director of Partnerships at SkyDeck Berkeley. Skydeck is a leading mentorship and acceleration program for startups in the area formed as a partnership between UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, College of Engineering, and Office of Research. Through Skydeck, “SkyTeams” gain expertise and capital to launch and fuse growth. Our MD shared that the meeting was very fruitful as they reached conclusions on how Skydeck and Scale SF can collaborate.


Looking back at yet another significant week in our program, we are truly stimulated by the prospects of finally getting tangible results from our teams’ progress.

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