Making the perfect pitch to the right investor can be considered an art, and one that is not known by everyone. Startups, especially in the early stage, can also find it difficult to reach the right investors and raise funds. This process of making a perfect pitch deck, zeroing in on the right investors, and so on, also takes time that can be used to look into its other areas of operations.
Further, there was an increased gap in visibility and discovery, both for startups and investors, during the pandemic as in-person meetings became almost impossible.
In May 2021, Indian researcher Shashank Tyagi launched GoToPitch, a Video-as-a-Service (VaaS) platform aimed at bridging this gap using technology. The Tokyo-based company helps startups create video-based presentations, pitch to the right investors, and raise funds.
According to the founder, pitching a startup idea to investors has evolved over the years.
“It started with in-person meetings in 2000, which progressed to business plans in excel sheets, PPTs, and pitch decks by 2010. Today, preference is growing towards video decks, which are crisp. There is a paucity of time and long emails and decks don’t convey anything,” he tells YourStory.
Shashank adds that many VCs in Silicon Valley, like GoAhead Ventures, is requesting for short business plan videos.
“Passive pitch decks don’t convey the passion and motivation of the founders. It becomes difficult for VCs to understand and screen the startups by reading just decks. Recording realistic voices and facial expressions of entrepreneurs amplifies the pitch deck and conveys the personality and enthusiasm that cannot be conveyed by text alone,” he says.
How the platform works
Once a founder/entrepreneur signs up to GoToPitch’s platform, they can upload their presentation and record a short video explaining each slide. The presentation will be synced with the video and will play simultaneously in a pop-up box.
Once the pitch is completed, a unique URL is generated that can be shared with respective investors.
The second step is applying to the investors on the platform. The unique algorithm decodes the thesis of the startup pitch and matches it to the right investors among the ones who have signed up on the platform.
This helps investors to save a lot of their time and get a curated list of pitch videos while the founders’ probability of getting funded increases.
Once an investor shows interest, both parties are connected on the platform and take things forward. The founders can also check data like time spent by investors on their presentation and track a deal flow.
GoToPitch offers two subscription packages — starter and disrupter. The former is free while the latter comes at $14 per month with additional services like private mode, expert advice, and others.
The disrupter package is free for founders who come from GoToPitch’s affiliated partners like institutions and incubators. The platform charges a monthly fee of $119 from investors.
At present, GoToPitch has over 50 startups from Japan, Africa, and India, and 25 Japanese investors, including JAFCO and Coral Capital.
“We were oversubscribed within two months. The platform does a first-level screening of the pitch decks based on their content, provides suggestions, and fine-tunes them. We will soon integrate AI tech and the process will be smoother. More intelligence will be built as we gather data every day,” says Shashank.
The startup aims to break even in the next six months. It recorded its first deal conversion in July when Africa-based startup Ekamou raised Pre-Series A funding of $500,000 from a Japanese fund.
Evolving ‘pitch’ landscape
GoToPitch is Shashank’s second venture. An alum of IIT Delhi, he had moved to Japan in 2015 to pursue a doctorate at Kyushu Institute of Technology.
In 2019, Shashank launched ScientistPage, which is simplifying research papers for users by allowing academic writers to explain their research by using videos. The startup, incubated by accelerator X-HUB TOKYO, raised funding from Tokyo-based Beyond Next Ventures (BNV).
GoToPitch was incorporated with undisclosed seed funding from BNV.
“We recognized that there is an immense opportunity for effective online matching for startups and funds through pitch videos especially post COVID-19. And that’s how GoToPitch emerged. We are committed to bringing in our expertise of connecting Indian early and growth-stage startups with Japanese investors and CVCs utilizing the platform,” says Mayur Shah, Head of Business Development at BNV.
Market potential and the path ahead
Global platforms like CB Insights, AngelList, Traxen, and PitchBook are used by investors to gauge early-stage startups. On the other hand, video pitch platforms like Pitch Tape are limited in terms of their offerings.
“We are 10-20 times cheaper than other platforms. There is no similar data-based platform that combines guidance, the video-format pitch, and a strong pool of potential investors in one place. The said platforms charge around $20,000 per year for early-stage startups information and don’t include first-level screening,” the founder says.
Going forward, GoToPitch aims to onboard 280 Japanese VCs and around 1,000 CVCs by the end of 2021, and aggressively expand in India and other global markets. The platform will also add a language translation feature in the next two months.