The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten on Smash Notes

The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten podcast.

December 31, 2019

Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life. The show hosts, Steli Efti and Hiten Shah, are both serial entrepreneurs who have founded multi-million dollar SaaS startups. Being busy CEOs of fast-growing companies, they know the value of your time and make sure you get the most out of each 22 minute episode. Tune in for new episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

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In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the top fundraising mistakes founders make. From copying and pasting templates to just blindly following the trends, Steli and Hiten address each mistake and how it can work against you. They also offer up valuable advice on how to effectively fundraise, so that you can avoid these key errors.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:05 – Today’s episode is about the top 5 fundraising mistakes

00:35 – We may exceed 5 mistakes, but the aim for this episode is to talk about the mistakes founders make to better warn and equip listeners from making these mistakes

00:51 – Hiten is currently creating a software product that can help founders fundraise

01:37 – The first mistake is believing that “pitch deck templates won’t get you funding”

02:15 – People are just copying and pasting the templates they see on the internet, so what they end up making looks the same as other businesses

02:45 – Episode 188 talked about how to make a killer pitch deck

03:41 – The pitch deck is the new business plan

04:36 – You need to stand out and find your own voice to make your business compelling

05:18 – The second mistake is sending your pitch deck to investors before it’s ready

05:39 – Your pitch deck has to tell a story

06:36 – First impressions matter more than anything else

07:27 – Investors have the busiest schedules

07:54 – Every founder should get feedback from people that are trusted

08:18 – The next mistake—one’s investor outreach strategy or lack thereof

08:39 – 99% of investors will not take you seriously if you cold email them

09:05 – The best way to meet investors is to be personally introduced to them

09:33 – The email inbox of investors are probably full of pitch decks

10:45 – The fundraising advice you are getting is not helping you

10:58 – There is conflicting advice about fundraising

11:22 – Do what you think is right for you

11:57 – The fundraising climate changes every 6 months

12:11 – There are a lot of different opinions out there because founders only have less than 5 experiences fundraising

12:54 – Next mistake: founders are insecure when it comes to fundraising

13:20 – That insecurity is counterproductive

13:59 – Founders should ask themselves if the strategy they’re using fits into their company culture or their own personality

14:34 – Ask yourself: what is the strategy behind the tactics?

15:11 – Another mistake: making things up

16:41 – Investors often see AI in a pitch deck—it can be a negative thing if it does not fit the business well

17:35 – A lot of founders are pressured to follow trends such as AI

18:40 – You are setting yourself up for a catastrophe if you make things up

19:22 – Go to Getdogo to help you with your pitch decks

19:49 – End of today’s episode

3 Key Points:

When you fundraise, emphasize what is unique about your business.

The best way to meet investors is in person, through an introduction.

Do NOT follow the trend—instead, choose the tactics that fit your business and stick to that.

Steli Efti: Hey everyone this is Steli Efti.


Hiten Shah : And this is Hiten Shah.


Steli Efti: And in today's episode of The Startup Chat we're gonna talk about the top 5 fundraising mistakes. It might turn out to become top 10 fundraising mistakes depending on how many we can uncover, but we'll talk about things that founders ... the mistakes founders make when raising money that we've seen over and over and over again. And hopefully if we can just make one of you people out there avoid some of these mistakes, then this was really, really valuable. So that's going to be the aim for the episode.


Hiten Shah : Awesome, yeah,

Key points in this episode

In this episode

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