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Fundraising
Level up your fundraise materials with a Business FAQ
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Could a Business FAQ be the antidote to your problems?

ProcurePro is a fast-emerging construction procurement startup that has powered over $30 billion of construction spend. Alastair Blenkin, Founder and CEO, and his team ran one of the smoothest fundraise processes, culminating in a $6.15m raise, led by Airtree, with participation from some of the top construction tech founders in Australia of the past generation, Leigh Jasper and Paul Perrett, who founded and sold Aconex for $1.6bn in 2018.

We see ~2,500 pitches each year, and across our 10 years of venture, ProcurePro’s fundraising materials stand out as the very best for a Series A SaaS startup. Their compelling pitch deck and a clear and detailed growth model aside, one particular document caught our eye that we’d never seen before: their Business FAQ.

ProcurePro’s Business FAQ complemented their pitch deck rather than replacing it. Pitch deck slides often have too much or too little detail, leaving the reader to navigate through a mountain of information, or with lots of unanswered questions that are considered table stakes–and a Business FAQ is the antidote to these problems  

Here’s how a Business FAQ helps your startup’s fundraising materials stand out (and more importantly, we’ve got a template to get you started). 

Showcase clarity of thought across all key areas of your business

Slides can be great for distilling the “why” and highlighting business metrics with beautiful “up and to the right” charts. But investors also want to understand the “how”- the thoughtfulness of the business's approach across its different operations. 

ProcurePro’s Business FAQ doc was clear and concise, demonstrating how the team were thinking about the key elements of the business, from pricing and contracting to ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and its approach to Go-To-Market and much more (see templates below). Slides are great at conveying the narrative but often don’t cover these details, nor are they usually shared as part of initial due diligence materials. By sharing their approach to these elements in their Business FAQ, ProcurePro clarified the shape of the business and gave investors a sense of management’s robust thinking.

Written memos force clarity in thinking. The structured format of the Business FAQ document was easily digestible, helped reduce ambiguity and encouraged detail orientation. For transparency, at Airtree, we use the memo format for all of our investment decision-making, borrowing from Amazon’s Six-Page Memo Format. Here’s a little excerpt from an email from Jeff Bezos in 2004 on why memos are much preferred to PowerPoints:

"Well-structured, narrative text is what we're after rather than just text. If someone builds a list of bullet points in Word, that would be just as bad as PowerPoint.

The reason writing a 4 page memo is harder than "writing" a 20 page PowerPoint is because the narrative structure of a good memo forces better thought and better understanding of what's more important than what, and how things are related.

Powerpoint-style presentations somehow give permission to gloss over ideas, flatten out any sense of relative importance, and ignore the interconnectedness of ideas."

Pre-empt investor questions and objections

In any startup, nuance and context dictate why certain approaches were taken, or trade-offs were made, and this isn’t always immediately obvious when going through a slide deck. ProcurePro addressed these in their Business FAQ, which served to pre-empt questions and helped investors get a glimpse of their strategic acumen.

Pre-empting questions saves investors and founders time from extra calls or email threads. Help the investor you're connected to champion your startup to their colleagues in the investment team when they pitch your case internally. 

Two additional benefits:

  • Being transparent about frequently asked questions engenders a heightened level of trust with prospective investors, as it shows you’re not trying to hide anything.
  • Adding more questions to the document from other investors shows that multiple investors are taking the round seriously, helping create a sense of urgency and competitiveness.

The founder’s POV: Preparation is key

Alastair Blenkin, Founder & CEO of ProcurePro

Meet Alastair (and thank him later!)

Having been through two fundraises now ($2.2m Seed and $6.15m Series A), what’s made a challenging process (somewhat) easier is taking that outlook that:

98% of the work is preparation; ideally, the rest goes smoothly.

Let’s be real; fundraising is a LOT of work. On top of building your business, you’re working on many iterations of your slide deck, perfecting your story, building investor lists, contact details, and CRM setup. Then, when you lock in meetings and get follow-up questions, you need to know how to answer every single one. The last part spurred me to pre-emptively draft our Business FAQ as part of our Series A raise materials. 

Here’s why it’s worth putting in the work upfront on your Business FAQ:

  1. First impressions matter, so demonstrate you’re a weapon.
    80% of my investor meetings started with comments like “These are the best/top 5%/top 10% materials we’ve seen. You’re well ahead of your peers.” Investors are known to back the Founder over the business, so show them you’re in elite territory and you know your stuff. 
  2. Written FAQs are inevitable.
    You’re going to have to respond to questions as discussions deepen through the raise process to close the round. Get those comprehensive responses ready so you’re not caught off guard. 
  3. During a fundraise, your key job is to keep working the funnel.
    Once you’re taking investor meetings, your job is to get meetings in the calendar, shorten timeframes, give and get responses, evaluate offers and close a deal. If you’re busy answering diligence questions, you’re on the back foot, and the velocity of your round slows. 
  4. Use it to assess investors.
    Adding tracking links (e.g. via DocSend) lets you see which investors have done their homework and digested your FAQs in advance. If they have, you’ll see this reflected in the conversation and the sophistication of their questions–are they trying to understand the basics, or are they asking deeper, more probing questions? VCs are busy and see lots of deals, so this intentionally served as a good litmus test to understand their care factor. We wanted to partner with investors who were willing to put in the effort, and this was a helpful data point. 

Beyond the fundraise, we’re still seeing benefits from the Business FAQ. We’ve started sharing our fundraise materials with senior hires to help them understand and build conviction in our business during the recruitment journey. 

Was it worth the effort? Absolutely. 

How to use the Business FAQ templates

These are generic templates (with a skew towards B2B SaaS startups) for Seed and Series A fundraising. Use them as a guide, not as a mandate. A few tips:

  • As the template is not exhaustive for every type of business, you can tailor and add sections where it makes sense to showcase the most important facets of your company. 
  • The Business FAQ is intended to be read in conjunction with your deck. As we mentioned, slides are great for storytelling through graphics and pictures. 
  • Each section should have a few key points, not an essay.

Download the Business FAQ template.

Big thanks to Alastair Blenkin for raising the bar on fundraising docs and sharing this document with us! (If you see him around, please buy him a beer).

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