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Sparkcharge raised $7 million with Slidebean's help
Slidebean Case Study: Sparkcharge
"When I go about designing a pitch deck, I think it should be cinematic," Joshua Aviv explained. He's the CEO and founder of Sparkcharge, a company that raised $7 million after working with Slidebean. "It should take people on this journey through your business and what you're trying to present, and it should do it in a way that keeps them interested."
To accomplish this, Fred (one of our team experts) jumped in to help them improve the content and story they were telling with accurate suggestions.
"I demand perfection, you know? Because that's what an investor, a partner, or a sales opportunity will see. So, every little detail matters", he added. Aviv took great pride in his pitch decks. He created all the company's pitch decks but faced a technical challenge. "I used PowerPoint, and I would spend weeks crafting every detail."
The software was labor-intensive, and every update required extra effort. Adding something as simple as text distorted the entire pitch deck. After fine tuning all the details, the additional step was to export the files into a PDF.
"It was just a headache," Aviv added. "So, we needed a tool that would allow us to make iterations quickly, but also have one location where we knew the pitch deck lived." That tool would be Slidebean.
"The pitch deck is crucial; it's the first thing that an investor asks for," Aviv explained. "By going with Slidebean, we were able to captivate and create a very cinematic and visually appealing pitch deck for investors."
Sparkcharge wants to solve one big problem with EVs.
Electric Vehicles (EVs) are now the latest craze in transportation, with sales increasing 83% from 2020 to 2021, but they face one big problem. EVs take longer to charge their batteries than gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles. Plus, access to charging stations is still lagging behind as infrastructure has been slow to catch up.
So, for EV drivers, there's always a risk of running out of electricity before reaching the next charging point, and Aviv wanted to change this.
"We're creating the world's first mobile, intelligent on-demand EV charging network," Aviv explained. "We believe that EV owners should be able to have their cars charged anytime and anywhere they want."
To accomplish this goal, Sparkcharge has developed two core technology pieces. The first is a mobile app called Currently. With the push of a button, an EV owner can have range delivered to them, regardless of the location. Then, staff will charge the vehicle using the company's second core product, the Roadie.
The Roadie is a portable charging device that allows Sparkcharge to deliver range. This mobile charging station can provide 120 kW of energy without connecting to the grid. So, in one hour, an EV owner can have enough charge on their vehicle for 50 to 100 miles of range.
The finished pitch deck
We're thrilled to show you the finished results. As you can see, here is the original design and our finished version.
Once Sparkcharge had the pitch deck they needed, it was time to reach out to their desired investors (try the Slidebean Investor Finder). Again, the pitch deck became the conversation starter and helped Aviv and his company speed through fundraising. Then, as conditions changed, the pitch deck became even more critical.
"With COVID, everything has been virtual," Aviv explained. "Now, more than ever, the need to present and share your screen, and have that presentation ready to go, has been crucial."
Investors turned their attention to Sparkcharge. From its foundation to 2020, the company raised $4.3 million. The pace didn't slow down as, in November 2021, Sparkcharged raised its biggest round yet, with $7.3 million.
Sparkcharge also created several partnerships with big names such as Allstate and Spiffy and big investors such as Mark Cuban. As a result, the company has operated in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and Dallas. Currently, it's on pace to deliver 100,000 miles of rage soon. As for the pitch deck, Josh Aviv has plans to keep improving.
"We did a pitch deck design which we were very happy with, and then, we did a pitch deck touch-up," Aviv commented. "We'll probably do another touch-up towards the end of this year to keep it up to date.
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Slidebean helped Cloaked Wireless raise $425,000 in seed capital
We need the internet in our daily lives, but navigating it is anything but safe, and one company wants to change this. Cloaked Services wants to enable anyone to be private and secure. It does so by combining current services with promising blockchain technology.
With one year of existence, Cloaked Wireless has seen impressive growth. They not only have raised capital, but they are also on pace to complete some important milestones before closing the year. To help them achieve it, the startup looked for help and found Slidebean.
"For us, it was a no-brainer to have Slidebean take the deck I drafted and make it look professional," Jeremy Hill, co-founder, explained. With Slidebean's help, Cloaked Wireless raised $425,000 in pre-seed capital, with more coming up.
What is Cloaked Wireless?
In 2000, Jeremy Hill and Jonathan Wilkins first encountered digital privacy and security. They helped develop one of the first browsers aiming to provide anonymous and private access to the internet. Two decades later, the two know there's still an issue with security and privacy.
In our current times, our security is jeopardized in plenty of ways. One of the most frequent security breaches is through SIM swaps, which affect more than 250,000 people in the US annually.
Hackers want to swap the SIM on your phone with theirs. If they succeed, they control your phone number and can use it to steal your assets or personal data. This can include using SMS two-factor authentication to access your bank accounts.
Another prevalent security risk is navigating the web. Unfortunately, even though we use the internet daily, things haven't improved much since 2000.
"The Tor browser has been deanonymized, and VPNs don't work, leaving no viable private option. We wanted to solve that once and for all", Hill explained. So, he and Wilkins founded Cloaked Services one year ago.
Cloaked Wireless offers two solutions to protect people online and in real life. First, Cloaked Wireless provides a mobile service designed to prevent SIM swaps.
The startup achieves this by only allowing the authenticated user to modify the information within a user’s account (including authorizing SIM swaps). Even their support staff can not alter accounts. This is how Cloaked Services provides the only phone service where unauthorized SIM swaps are effectively impossible.
The second product Cloaked Services plans to offer is a privacy browser. It uses blockchain technology and open source software to help users navigate in anonymity. Plus, it also uses bitcoin for payments. This sets it apart from the competition and raises some challenges for the startup.
How Slidebean helped Cloaked Wireless land funding
Cloaked Wireless faced one interesting challenge when talking to VCs. Hill and Wilkins knew they had to reach out to as many investors as possible and grasp their attention fast. In addition, the startup needed a way to present complex information easily.
"Slidebean took a good deck and made it look slick, clean and professional. It was really presentable to the VCs."
"Slidebean's online content helped me shape the deck," Hill explained. After the deck, he turned to Slidebean for much more.
"No startup should hire four or five people and produce something of quality in a short period of time. For us, it was a no-brainer to use Slidebean's pitch deck services", he elaborated. "Slidebean took a good deck and made it look slick, clean and professional. It was really presentable to the VCs."
Jeremy Hill already had experience with startups and reaching out to VCs. So, he understood the importance of captivating investors from the start.
"People don't realize how many times you need to reach out to a VC. You might have 100 or 150 VCs that you think might be interested in your offering. You're gonna contact all 150 and maybe 5-10 of them respond", Hill said.
"You're gonna follow up with another 100. Three more are going to get back to you. Knowing that VC will only meet with less than 10% of companies that reach out (and invest in less than 1% of those). You do the math. You’re going to reach out to hundreds to get a half dozen meetings", he exclaimed.
"When you get those 4-6 meetings, it's important that you walk in and tell them everything that they want to know," Hill highlighted. "You've got to pique their interest. Slidebean does a great job in their videos. It walks you through what should be in your deck and what VCs want to hear".
In Hill's case, the VCs heard solutions to a security problem. Plus, they understood a complex financial model with ease. That's how the company raised $425,000 in seed capital in an oversubscribed funding round, and it didn't stop there.
Slidebean and Cloaked Wireless worked together to simplify complex terms
Cloaked Wireless's unique offering includes complex technical requirements and partnerships with multiple vendors. Therefore, it must be as straightforward as possible, not only for the VCs but also for the sake of regulation.
"When you launch a wireless company, there are a lot of moving parts. You need to go through FCC regulations and a very intense vetted process to get regulation approved", Hill explained.
According to Hill, finding a platform to help them make this content accessible wasn't easy.
"The services that Slidebean offers are really unique," he explained, that they're not things that software can do by itself. "The outcome of the services that Slidebean offers is the combination of a lot of cool tech and smart people."
So, when it was time for the cofounders to go over the forecast and business model, the decision to use Slidebean was easy.
"I don't know anyone else out there that is offering this type of service. So, for a startup, it's great to have access to these types of tools because it's like getting a fractional accountant to work on a business model for you."
The business model is a vital step for Cloaked Wireless as the startup is going through rapid growth. The startup is close to finalizing a $3 million funding round. As for milestones, Cloaked Wireless plans to complete all the necessary steps to launch its wireless service by Q4 of 2022. After that, Cloaked Wireless is set to launch the browser by Q2 of 2023. With these two goals complete, it plans to pave the way for the world's first distributed, secure and private communication services across the US.
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Superpeer pitch deck made communication easier using Slidebean
Superpeer is a company that wants to make communications easier for everyone in a time when connectivity is vital. This platform allows people to stream live to an audience, create and sell courses, and hold one-on-one video calls. It’s face-to-face when face-to-face isn’t possible.
Potential partners get information to help them understand the Superpeer platform before they come on board. One key component is a 10-slide deck that aids in successfully navigating the platform, but it needed improvement.
“The layout was very wordy,” Superpeer Content Manager Casey Rock explained. “Without a lot of chunking or visuals for aid. The CEO, Devrim Yasar, who has experience with pitch decks, suggested a redesign.”
So, Superpeer reached out to Slidebean with two goals in mind. The first was to merge their brand guidelines and website design into the document. The second was to keep all the essential information in the text-heavy slides while making them appealing and easy to read.
As for Slidebean, working with Superpeer went beyond a 10-slide deck. As Superpeer users, Slidebean knew firsthand the versatility and power this platform had. So, this challenge went both ways.
Matching website design and brand guidelines with creativity
Superpeer wanted to instill the brand guidelines and the website design into the ten-slide package, which can sometimes be a challenge. Lucía Barrantes, Project Manager at Slidebean, explains that it’s frequent to find a customer with brand guidelines and a website design that don’t match. She also added that Superpeer’s approach proved invaluable for the project.
“The customer had a clear idea, and we also had full liberty on how to do it. That was one of the coolest things about this project - they allowed us 100% creative freedom”. Such creative freedom was essential as the project presented one big challenge.
“Our pitch deck references are clean and have little text. So, the customers see them and want the same. Sometimes, it’s hard to translate something with too much content into a minimalist design. This job had a lot of information and text, so it was a big challenge.”
Getting the point across to prospective partners was essential – as it impacts Superpeer’s partnership success. So, for Barrantes, it would still cause a significant impact, even being a smaller project.
Simplicity and elegance were the results of a successful project.
For Superpeer, this redesign helped improve on one thing: simplicity. Plus, the interaction between the company and Slidebean was one of the highlights.
“It was easy, painless, and the final product was great!” Casey Rock underline. “I didn’t even need to request any revisions, which is always a great sign!” “It made it easier to provide important information to those who are interested in working with us,” Rock explained. The finished product helped the company have a new perspective for other projects. “Seeing the difference between the original deck and the revamped deck from Slidebean gave me some pointers on what to consider for future decks in terms of layout and design.”
As for Slidebean, the experience was also a success as it not only received approval in the first version, but as a result, Superpeer ordered a second set of products. All the while, the design team successfully overcame the initial challenge.
“We managed to merge both the brand guidelines and the website and still maintain that ideal pitch deck look,” Lucía explained about the finished product. “Secondly, I love that the deck does have a lot of text and is still attractive.”
Slidebean videos inspired and helped MinuteSkill raise $225,000
MinuteSkill's three co-founders came up with an idea for a startup. Once they laid out their plan, they faced one big hurdle. Then, after finding Slidebean's videos, the startup from Toronto managed to raise $225,000. Plus, the lessons don't end there.
This journey to raising capital includes facing many challenges familiar to founders. Also, it forced the co-founders into hard decisions, ones they felt comfortable taking.
What is MinuteSkill?
MinuteSkill was born to educate an audience that has ever-dwindling attention spans. It is a continuous learning platform that delivers point-of-need learning with short videos. So, users can learn with short, minute-long videos that can weave into longer content.
Behind MinuteSkill are Nathan Knight, Tanika McLeod, and Camila Castaldo. They wanted to revolutionize learning, and the pandemic inspired them. As the world was in lockdown, digital learning took off, but there were areas for improvement.
"Tiktok was exploding," Camila explained. "This new content, where a lot of information comes in less than a minute, was trending."
More and more people became used to the idea of shorter content. So, watching a 10-minute video can seem dreadful. This becomes a challenge as most online classes last this long or even longer. The three decided to create a learning platform that integrated social media. Content would come in minute-long videos, like TikTok, Reels, and YouTube shorts.
"MinuteSkill is a mobile-first app where you consume bite-size videos that can connect across a series to teach you about a broader topic. Plus, you can connect with people like on a social network", Tanika McLeod explained. "It also provides the reliability and structure of e-learning."
How Slidebean videos helped MinuteSkill
MinuteSkill raised $225,000 in pre-seed capital but getting there wasn't an easy ride. The co-founders had the idea, but they came to a quick realization.
"What the fuck do we do?" Tanika McLeod recalled saying. "What the fuck are we doing?" The founders needed guidance to understand complex and straightforward terms alike.
"We had to upskill fast," she explained. "We had no idea what a Cap Table was, things like that." So, the three co-founders turned to the web, and that's how they found Slidebean. Through the videos, they found the information to up-skill at a fast pace.
While the cofounders faced this challenge, on Slidebean’s behalf, Minuteskill was a great match, according to Slidebean’s project manager Lucía Barrantes.
“MinuteSkill was a customer with well-established branding”, Lucía explained. “Plus, they were clear about what they wanted for the redesign, so for us, it was easy to understand what they were looking for and deliver accordingly.”
Also, MinuteSkill was a fan of Slidebean’s content and this was a huge motivator for both sides.
"Slidebean's content allowed us to cover the steps we needed to advance. We saw case studies on other startups and how we could relate to their experiences", McLeod added.
One of the biggest learnings that MinuteSkill got out of the videos is how to approach the pre-seed round. It's not always about having the entire product figured out.
"A lot of people don't know that the later rounds are product and revenue-based. Going to a pre-seed rounds, you have to have a strong team", McLeod commented. "You have to be able that you can pitch. There's a lot of things that aren't as common as people think."
The Slidebean videos also allowed MinuteSkill to understand when was the right time to decide. In every startup's life, there's the importance of pivots. In MinuteSkill's situation, it was no less challenging when to make the decision. The difference was that they had the knowledge from the videos.
"The word pivot draws up a lot of attention. It is an essential part for startups in which it comes that decision with you stick, with it, or pick it. We've pivoted a lot in our experience."
"With our previous ideas, we were afraid of pivots. Early on, we felt like that meant we weren't doing things right. A lot of entrepreneurs might feel that way", she explained. "But with MinuteSkill, we were more confident to make those pivots. We understood that they're a necessary part of the business."
What are MinuteSkill's plans for the future?
With the newfound funding, the startup had the confidence to carry on. Now, it had to tackle even more significant challenges in its goal to expand its platform.
"One of the things that we're working on right now is how to curate our creators. That's part of the reason why we actually reached out to Slidebean."
"Slidebean's content has informed our journey for years, literally years. It's helped us get to this point", McLeod added. "We want a space where entrepreneurs can go and find reliable content like Slidebean's to help them execute on their businesses faster."
This step in the process is vital for MinuteSkill. Plus, the future is promising. First, the startup will participate in a Demo Day with Antler in June. From there, the founders also want to be a part of Collision.
The company has an app out now and there are a lot of promising signs. MinuteSkill's experience includes working with entrepreneurs and accelerators to partnering with different content providers. So, the startup has what it takes to tackle the shaping process in the following months. It plans to become the central network for continuous learning for entrepreneurs in no time.
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