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Preparing for the First Round of Investment and Investor Negotiations


It is worth preparing for round A after the seed round of investments.

Financing of round A requires much more effort and time, since rounds A differs from seeding in four main limits:

In Round A,

Quantitative indicators of product compliance with the market (PMF) are essential.

The company’s history and its founders’ fund.

Another circle of investors finances round A.

They are much less often, they represent organized venture funds (that is, investments are their work).

They will require more thorough vetting and will want to build a closer relationship with you before investing.

Round A requires the transfer of control over 20% of the company and a seat on the board of directors.

Seed investors also own a share in the capital, but they have no control over the decisions of entrepreneurs.

But the investors of round A will may vote for the company’s matters throughout its life.

Around investors are not just investing capital–they are investing time.

They decide to dedicate a significant part of their lives to you and your company for the next ten years.

This raises the stakes of each investment made, so Round A requires conviction and diligence from the leading investors.

This is because due to time constraints, one or another partner can finance one to three rounds of A per year,

so if investors dislike interacting with you, they are likely to refuse the transaction (unless the company has already achieved resounding success).

During Round A, a lead investor appears.

The success of the round more often depends on whether the company could get an enormous investment from at least one investor and not on small investments from more people.

This approach changes the dynamics of attracting investment.

In the seed round, small investments are an effective way to create momentum for raising funds;

the less space remains in the round, the greater they pressure those who want to invest.

But in Round A, less capital is only helpful if used to create a syndicated (organized by several participants) round, which is held because of its complexity.

Below, we will explain how to prepare for Round A in more detail.

Let’s start by presenting the strategy underlying the financing of Round A and providing a step-by-step guide that includes specific steps. Consider the following topics:

  • How Round A work – An analysis of how companies and investors arrive at Round A.
  • When to finance–how to understand that the company is ready for round A.
  • Introductory offers–what to do if you have received an agreement on the transaction terms you are not yet ready.
Preparatory Work is a guide to preparing for meetings with investors, which focuses on:

  1. Stories about your company.
  2. Attitude. How to build strong relationships with investors before the start of the round.
  3. Metrics. What should performance indicators be of your company?
  4. The size of the round. How much money do you need to raise (and how much to value the company)?

How round A works

Investment rounds occur because the entrepreneur asks for money and receives it or because the investor offers the money and the entrepreneur accepts it.

It seems simple, but the dynamics are complex. There are three ways things happen.

  • Incredible growth
The company is experiencing vigorous growth, noticeable from the outside, leading to aggressive persecution of the company by many investors with offers of financing.

Examples include Facebook and Instagram.

If a company gains incredible momentum, it will be evident among the investors trying to give it money.

  •  Preliminary offer
A venture capitalist, already familiar with the company, offers terms for the deal the company launches an investment round.

We call this a “preliminary proposal.”

Investors do this to make a deal, offering money before everyone else.

This is quite rare: only 12% of all A round of Y Combinator companies passed using an introductory offer.

With such an offer, the investor offers the entrepreneur a deal, saving him from having to impress a particular fund (Y Combinator has witnessed how investors provide discounts to companies that did not even intend to start the round).

The entrepreneur does need to give a detailed development plan or make the investor partner, but the conditions are different.

A promising sign is an offer.

But, inexperienced entrepreneurs can fall into the trap of an introductory offer and not conduct around.

Sometimes the investor can convince the entrepreneur that I have approved the transaction plan, although the last offer depends on the entrepreneur’s discretion.

Investors often use such tactics to convince entrepreneurs to give them access to data before others and start raising funds on terms convenient to the investor.

Most entrepreneurs don’t realize that investors can offer agreements on terms, but these agreements are not a deal agreement.

Because business executives don’t know this, they often believe that enthusiastic interest claims in investing are the offer.

This is in the interest of investors, as it lowers expectations they will make such an offer.

It should be understood that the proposal must be in writing as an agreement on the terms (here we are talking about rounds with the sale of the company’s shares,

although this is true both for SAFE bonds and for the conversion of convertible bonds into shares, in this case, there is no agreement).

Anything that is not an agreement on terms presented in writing attempts to force the entrepreneur to disclose more information.

  • Organized process

The company begins a discrete fundraising process, because of which one investor offers an agreement on the terms.

The process includes creating investment materials, submitting proposals for venture partners, and passing a thorough check.

This method is the most popular for most A rounds, so we pay more attention to it in this guide.

When to start?

One of the most challenging questions is, "When is my company ready?" There are hundreds of answers to this question on the Internet, none encouraging. The reason is that every rule has so many exceptions that its very existence ceases to make sense.

Entrepreneurs often want a clear and specific answer to the company's readiness to enter the stock exchange.

So venture capitalists' look at metrics seems appealing. For example, SaaS companies are ready for Round A when they cross the $1 million mark of recurring annual revenue.

In theory, it sounds good, but there are examples of companies that conducted round A with revenues between $200 thousand to $9 million.

Many companies fail with payment in the same range, and venture capitalists are not only concerned with metrics.

Another piece of advice that can often be heard can often hear is "start the round when you can." The direction is correct, but its logic is tautological.

An entrepreneur knows he can conduct a successful round only after it is over. This advice cannot be a holistic basis for deciding whether to start a game of investments.

We have returned to this problem every day since the launch of the Round program and built a structure to solve it. There is no perfect solution, but having the context of the system and knowing why it cannot be will be helpful.

To understand Round A's situation, you can take the funding decision process as a point on the horizontal axis.

This axis corresponds to the company's movement from an idea to a functioning, growing business.

The decision-making process and the company's progress are related because at each stage of the company's existence; the investor has before his eyes only evidence of everything that the company has reached up to this point.

This data has a significant impact on the investor's decision.

The enormous gap along this axis is between the "promises" and the "metrics" that denote seed round  B (see figure below).

Preparing for the First Round of Investment and Investor Negotiations

Most seed rounds are thriving thanks to the charisma of entrepreneurs and the story of the future their company will create. In Round B, entrepreneurs must complete quite a few tasks that prove their ability to achieve this future.

This process takes several years and is accompanied by detailed data on the state of the business and the impact of additional capital on it.

The same set of data will vary depending on the specifics of the business:

technical or regulatory achievements will evaluate biotechnology companies and companies selling material technologies, and software companies will have to have a significant increase in production and revenues.

Round A is so hard to understand because it sits somewhere between these two points and can be located anywhere, depending on the entrepreneurs, the progress made, and the company's lifetime.

If you treat round A as a giant seeding round or a mini-round B, then the conflicting advice makes more sense because many of them can be helpful.

Some entrepreneurs can put something similar to Round A in dollar terms because they are attractive.

However, such a move will work only at an early stage in the company's life and before it has collected significant startup capital since time and money must equal progress; otherwise, investors will have suspicions.

The longer a company has been around (or the less charismatic its founder), the more specific and defined the metrics of that business should be.

Part of the problem with companies that have raised too much startup capital is that the requirements they face before starting Round A are higher than those who grew less.

They wait for longer, so investors hope for the company's corresponding progress.

As already mentioned, this information will not give entrepreneurs the confidence they want in understanding when to start Round A. this uncertainty allows you to reflect on the relative advantages at the start of Round A.

Practical ways to determine readiness

We have noticed that entrepreneurs who (albeit) meet with a small but motivated team of investors have the most significant number of options at the start of an investment round and most often receive introductory offers and an agreement on the terms.

This is at odds with the widespread belief that entrepreneurs should only meet with investors when raising funds.

With excess capital, you always need to think about raising funds in today's world because investors always think about investing money.

Every time you meet with an investor, he evaluates the possibility of an offer.

Entrepreneurs who understand this know that a friendly meeting over a cup of coffee is not lovely.

We recommend entrepreneurs start meetings with a few around investors after the seed round.

In these meetings, you will understand whether your company's progress inspires investors.

An investor pushes you to a formal meeting with their partners, and it shows that you are almost ready for Round A.

But don't forget that investors often act in a way that convinces you to give them access to the data. You will learn to recognize sincere interest from a fraudulent move only in practice.

By analogy, if you notice investors are not interested in meetings, do not contact you, do not show interest in a potential round.

You have something to work on, so focus on your business.

An excellent practical indicator is a time when the company will run out of money (runway).

In his article "The Fatal Pinch," Paul Graham argues you need to collect added capital before the period for which the company loses all the money drops to six months.

Fundraising can take anywhere from a few days to a few months, but it's best to be prepared for the worst and give the company at least three months to raise the investment.

It is also necessary to consider the several months spent preparing for the round. Therefore, we recommend thinking about financing, when the period for which the company will lose all the money will be twelve months. That way, you'll have three months to prepare for the round and another nine months to raise funds (and three months of buffer time until the company comes close to lack of funds).

However, remember that if you need money, this does not mean that investors will give it to you. Suppose you're at this stage and you're not closing down the benchmarks under which companies are conducting investment rounds. In that case, we recommend reading Dalton Caldwell's article with tips for companies that have less than a year left before their funds run out.

Preliminary proposals

A preliminary offer is a conditionality agreement that an investor offers to an entrepreneur, saving him from checks, meetings with funds, creating investment material, and other difficulties in Round A.

Preliminary offers come from investors with whom the company has already established relations.

Investors do this to make a deal, offering money before everyone else.

This is quite rare: only 12% of all A round of Y Combinator companies passed using an introductory offer.

Price of the preliminary offer

We analyzed 120 rounds of U.S. A from our portfolio between March 2018 and September 2019 to understand whether the preliminary offerings impact stock splits than successive rounds.

We were surprised by what we found: entrepreneurs split shares by about 1.4% more for less money in such transactions.

Because each market has its average level of fragmentation, we limited our analysis of the U.S. This simplifies the comparison and is also more relevant for most of the rounds we observe.

We don't have enough data to perform a similar analysis in other markets.

Investors who make preliminary offers benefit from two different incentives for entrepreneurs. The first is the "risk premium," which is expressed because the entrepreneur prefers to accept a reliable thing, a specific offer, rather than take risks on the stock exchange, which is not so dedicated.

Business people who use this incentive as the significant driving force for a deal are wrong. Most often, if the investor is ready to make an offer in advance, he will be prepared to repeat it during the open round. As soon as the investor makes a deal, he is emotionally involved and ready to fight for it.

I also know good investors for their competitive spirit and enjoy beating the competition. But the refusal can end badly if the entrepreneur does not organize conducting Round A well.

Business executives who know that they lack charisma and the ability to attract investors should appreciate introductory offers more than those who have the skills to attract investors.

The second incentive can be called an allowance for work. Jared Friedman, who also coined the term "liquidity surcharge coined the term." This is the price an entrepreneur will pay to avoid the enormous work of organizing the fundraising process.

A full round can take six months or more, distracting from the actual work. For a successful growing business, such a distraction can hurt both growth and the company itself. This premium is hard to quantify, but you can think of it as the following formula:

Preparing for the First Round of Investment and Investor Negotiations

The rate of capital burning for the duration of + the difference the increased efficiency of the infusion of additional capital and the increase in the efficiency at the time of the round, multiplied by the factor, can be oriented when the value improves because of this growth.

No matter how you think, it is unlikely that the number will be significant unless the company falls into a sharp perception curve with limited capital and time.

The important thing we’ve noticed is the number of investors the companies have talked to.

Some business executives met with only one investor.

In contrast, others took advantage of the introductory offer to speed up the financing process by several investors already aware of the request.

When we divided these companies into two groups and analyzed the data, we found that companies that conferred with multiple investors split their shares by about 2% less while collecting $ 900,000 more than companies that met with only one investor.

The difference in stock splits into pre-offer rounds, and I can explain regular matches by entrepreneurs who have only spoken to one investor.

However, those business executives who took advantage of the introductory offer to launch a sped-up financing process could minimize the “price” of the preliminary proposal.

All this suggests that to get as much as possible - to minimize the “allowance for work” and reduce the cost of preparing for the entire process of raising funds - business executives should use preliminary proposals.

This will help launch a sped-up, shortened round among a few select investors.

To do this, entrepreneurs must develop relationships with a certain number of investors who, in their opinion, can become suitable partners for the company and do this long before their investment is needed.

So they can, with an introductory offer, have other partners who can support the sped-up round.

The introductory offer is neither good nor bad. Below, we explain that each proposal must be on the merits and in the business’s context, its founder, and the specific investor.

A “risk premium” and a “performance premium,” combined with a knowledge of market norms, help assess the feasibility of accepting an offer.

But entrepreneurs can take advantage of preliminary proposals to speed up attracting investments.

Guidelines for tentative proposals

Sometimes investors convince the founder that they have an offer with no specifics, allowing the investor to raise capital on its terms.

If you find yourself when you think the company will receive a preliminary proposal, here’s what you can do:

Find out if you have received a terms agreement. The offer should be written. Any other promise is to discover more data about the company.

If an agreement has arrived, ask yourself if you want to give the investor a portion of your company. If you don’t want to, refuse.

If you will give the investor a part of the company, ask yourself if the amount of capital offered is commensurate with the plans you must complete before the next round begins.

If the money is okay, ask yourself if they satisfy you with the share size that the investor requested.

Suppose the answer to all the earlier questions is yes.

You can either accept the offer or arrange a sped-up and simplified round with several investors who are already familiar with your company.

Suppose you decide to conduct a sped-up round based on an introductory offer.

In that case, its participants will be several funds already familiar with your business and will make a quick decision.

This is where the foundation you laid during informal meetings over a cup of coffee will come in handy.

The relationships you have developed will become the basis for investing in your company.

Preparatory work

Almost always (except in cases of the company's rapid growth), the conduct of Round A requires considerable preparation.

Even preliminary proposals don’t come out of thin air.

Thorough preparation is based on the three pillars of fundraising: history, relationships, and metrics. Below, we’ll look at how to prepare all three.


No magic dataset precedes Round A. Round A happens when investors believe you will build a vast company. This belief is based on feelings, as in the seeding round. Metrics help when you convince the investor that you are on the way to success. I need this data to back up history with facts.

If you can’t name your benchmarks, you’re not ready for a round of investment. Ignorance of metrics means you don’t know your business well enough and don’t know if your product applies to the market, and this will cause investors to write you off.

Current metrics vary by sector (see below for a list of critical metrics by business ), but they should be consistent and detailed.

The sequence shows the level of predictability in the business, depending on which the investor’s confidence grows or falls.

The constant growth of 25% in six months looks good, and alternating months of development and fall look bad, even if the average increase of 25% persists.

There should be a simple explanation for the numbers.

Sometimes seasonality explains the fall in sales in winter if the industry itself is seasonal by definition (agricultural, for example).

The details of the indicators clarify their meaning and make it easier for the investor to gain confidence. 

Detailed knowledge of metrics means:

Show the numbers that most represent what is happening in your business.

Making it challenging to understand metrics is a surefire way to lose investor confidence.

Common examples include showing cumulative charts or presenting gross market value as income.

Be fluent in specific numerical values of indicators and be able to project their growth for the month, quarter, and year (if possible).

You should know how to check the number. You should be able to explain the conclusions you came to during the calculation process, and still show how the calculation will change if you change this or that variable. For example, if you define a user as a person who logs in once a month, how will the calculation change if the user logs in once a day?

You should know almost this metrics. If you don’t know the answer to the question about a particular indicator, and you also do not have it in your hands, say: “I’m not sure about this; I will have an answer today.” It’s better than making something up that might not be true.

Key metrics

Here is our list of critical metrics by type of business. You should know the current metrics for your industry by heart.

  • Data processing and analysis
  • A total number of customers.
  • The volume of orders.
  • Income.
  • Average monthly revenue growth rate.
  • Gross profits.
  • Customer Lifecycle Assessment (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
  • The rate of capital expenditure (burn rate) and the time the capital will end (runway).
Example of a company: Scale.

  1. Cloud Services (SaaS)
  2. A total number of customers.
  3. The volume of orders.
  4. Regular revenue (MRR).
  5. Average monthly revenue growth rate.
  6. Gross profits.
  7. Gross customer churn.
  8. Net outflow in dollars.
  9. Customer Lifecycle Assessment (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
  10. Quick liquidity ratio.

Magic Number: A measure of sales performance shows we account how much annual revenue growth for per dollar spent on sales and marketing.

The rate of capital expenditure (burn rate) and the time the capital will end (runway).

Example of a company: Slack.

  1. Pay-as-you-go services
  2. income.
  3. Average monthly revenue growth rate.
  4. Gross profits.
  5. I expressed net volume expansion in dollars.
  6. Customer Lifecycle Assessment (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
  7. The rate of capital expenditure (burn rate) and the time the capital will end (runway).

Example of a company: Twilio.

  1. Subscription Services
  2. A total number of subscribers.
  3. The transition frequency from the trial version to the paid version (if there is a free trial).
  4. Regular monthly revenue.
  5. Average monthly revenue growth rate.
  6. Gross profits.
  7. Gross user churn.
  8. Customer Lifecycle Assessment (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).

The rate of capital expenditure (burn rate) and the time the capital will end (runway).

example of a company is Netflix.

  1. Transactional services
  2. Gross Transaction Volume (GTV).
  3. Net revenue.
  4. Average monthly revenue growth rate.
  5. Utilization factor (net revenue as% of gross transactions).
  6. Gross profits.
  7. User retention rate.
  8. The frequency of transactions.
  9. Customer Lifecycle Assessment (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
  10. The rate of capital expenditure (burn rate) and the time the capital will end (runway).

Example of a company: PayPal.

  1. Marketplace platforms
  2. Gross revenue of all sellers of the site (GMV).
  3. Net revenue.
  4. Average monthly revenue growth rate.
  5. Utilization factor (net revenue as% of gross transactions).
  6. Gross profits.
  7. Unit marginal profit.
  8. User retention rate.
  9. Service sellers have a rate of preservation.
  10. The frequency of transactions.
  11. The average cost of the transaction.
  12. Customer Lifecycle Assessment (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
  13. Evaluation of the life cycle of the seller of the service (LTV) and the cost of attracting the seller (CAC).
  14. The rate of capital expenditure (burn rate) and the time for which the money will end (runway).

Example of a company: Airbnb.

  1. E-commerce
  2. A total number of visits.
  3. A total number of unique visitors.
  4. A total number of customers.
  5. Attraction rate.
  6. The total number of registered users.
  7. Earnings.
  8. Average monthly revenue growth rate.
  9. Gross profits.
  10. Buyer retention rate.
  11. Frequency of orders.
  12. Average order value.
  13. Customer Lifecycle Assessment (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
  14. Networking capital in% of changes in sales.
  15. The rate of capital expenditure (burn rate) and the time for which the money will end (runway).

Example of a company: Bonobos.

  1. Advertisement
  2. A total number of visits (if applicable).
  3. Pageviews (if applicable).
  4. Several unique visitors (if applicable).
  5. The number of minutes in the app.
  6. Daily active users (DAU).
  7. Active users (MAU).
  8. Percentage of registered users.
  9. Downloads and installations (if applicable).
  10. Share of mobile usage.
  11. The number of impressions per user.
  12. Average Cost of Delivery (CPM).
  13. An average number of conversions (CTR).
  14. Earnings.
  15. Average monthly revenue growth rate.
  16. User retention rate.
  17. Customer Lifecycle Assessment (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
  18. The rate of capital expenditure (burn rate) and the time for which the money will end (runway).

Example of a company: Twitter.

  1. Sale of material equipment
  2. The total number of units sold.
  3. Average price per unit of goods.
  4. Earnings.
  5. Average monthly revenue growth rate.
  6. Gross profits.
  7. The average cost of the transaction.
  8. Customer Lifecycle Assessment (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
  9. Networking capital in% of changes in sales.
  10. The rate of capital expenditure (burn rate) and the time the capital will end (runway).

Example of a company: GoPro.

  • Ambitious technological projects, material technologies, and biotechnologies
  • We have achieved technical results in implementing tasks.
  • The total number of specialists in the profile direction (in the state).
  • Networking capital in% of changes in sales.
  • The rate of capital expenditure (burn rate) and the time the capital will end (runway).

Example of a company: Boom Supersonic.

You must prove how you reduced the likelihood of the following three risks:

  • Technical Risk–Does the Technology Work?
  • Market risk–will people pay for it?
  • Executive Risk–Will You Handle the Challenges?

You prove these risks do not put the company at risk. Methods for resolving these risks vary from company to company, but examples include passing vital technical milestones, signing letters of intent, pilot launches, and contracting.

Although it is difficult to understand whether the company is ready for round A, comparative benchmarks will help understand this. To do this, we created a list of indicators for companies in various industries targeted by Y Combinator, whose Round A took place in the period over the past five years.

These are just benchmarks, not clear indicators that your company is ready for round A. The range of indicators is quite broad, which, again, demonstrates how round A varies from company to company. These metrics also don’t provide context for a company’s history and its relationship with investors before the game.

An entrepreneur who does not know how to attract investors will have to compensate for this disadvantage with even more impressive indicators and vice is easier for charismatic entrepreneurs with hands lower than the above to conduct around A than four entrepreneurs with excellent indicators but without charisma.

Just because a company that you think is like yours has completed Round A, that doesn’t mean it’s your time. Suppose you do not have insider information (about their product, business model, metrics at the beginning of the round, the transaction terms, and so on). In that case, it is impossible to make an aim comparison.

A b2b cloud company that is estimated to have raised $500,000 in investment is likely to have either had an incredible growth rate or a fascinating history or agreed to a decline in the stock’s value to offset the investment risk. I write such nuances in TechCrunch or a press release article.

B2B SaaS Company

Based on data from 36 companies:

The leading indicator: $0.5-5 million forecast indicators based on the current pace (run rate).

Growth: over 300% compared to last year.

Round size: $4-15 million

Splitting of shares: 13-38%.

Post-investment valuation of the company: $15-75 million

Pay-as-you-go services in the b2b segment

Based on data from 11 companies:

The critical indicator: $1.3-6.1 million of regular annual revenue.

Growth: over 300% compared to last year.

Round size: $5-10 million

Splitting of shares: 13-27%.

Post-investment valuation of the company:$20-80 million

Marketplace platforms

Based on data from six companies:

The critical indicator is $4.8-63.2 million gross market value.

Growth: over 20% compared to the previous month.

Round size: $5-12 million

Splitting of shares: 20-32%.

Post-investment valuation of the company:$15-60 million

Ambitious technological projects, material technologies

Based on data from 28 companies:

The leading indicator varies.

Height: No information.

Round size: $8-43 million

Splitting of shares: 15-54%.

Post-investment valuation of the company:$24-240 million

Consumer services (transactions)

Based on data from 16 companies:

The critical indicator: $3.5-9.6 million forecast indicators based on the current pace (run rate).

Growth: over 20% compared to the previous month.

Round size: $4-15 million

Split shares: 9-33%.

Post-investment valuation of the company: $15-107 million

Consumer Services (Subscription)

Based on data from four companies:

The leading indicator: $1.5-6.8 million forecast indicators based on the current pace (run rate).

Growth: >20% compared to the previous month.

Round size: $5-10 million

Splitting of shares: 17-28%.

Post-investment valuation of the company:$30-43 million

The Importance of the Trend

Metrics are the initial data for the investor, with the help of which he can imagine whether your business will grow to a gigantic size or not. At the seed round stage, there is not much reference data, so the investor usually decides based on the business’s potential. In Round B, we can already observe enough data to make predictions.

Round A is the link between the potential of the seeding round and the notable trend of Round B. The indicators of Round A serve as early indicators that I will fulfil the promises of the seed round.

Preparing for the First Round of Investment and Investor Negotiations

From this point of view, there are three main pitfalls in assessing the reliability of Round A metrics.

1. Insufficient data

You launched two months ago, and the early numbers look promising.

This is an investment round based on the promise that it is typical for the seed round but not for round A. Two months is not enough to collect data to calculate the trend.

2. Non-comparable data

Your company’s average growth rate is high, but individual metrics show months of alternating negative growth rates, stagnation, and positive growth.

Consistent growth shows a trend, not a coincidence. As Michael Seibel says, “a flourishing number of satisfied, loyal and solvent customers” shows that it suited your product to the market. 

It’s also an indicator that you know how your business works well to know what levers to pull to get stable growth.

3. Too much insufficient data from years past

Your company has existed for a while. You have already raised a significant amount of capital, but the business was stagnant. It’s only that you’ve seen growth.

Entrepreneurs don’t realize that it’s much harder to convince an investor to pay attention to the most recent data than a trend over a long period. 

Especially if it shows a different, much less promising, development trajectory. The burden of proof is heavier.


As companies prepare to perform at the demo day, we talk a lot with them about creating a good story.