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New STARTUP Data: 
Winning Strategies 
for Raising Your 
Series A 
A Look Inside the 
Portfolio of Seed VC
“Data,” eh? 
I’m skeptical. Who 
are you, and how 
did you get all that?
We’re NextView Ventures.
We’re NextView Ventures. 
A seed-stage VC firm with a single mission:
We’re NextView Ventures. 
A seed-stage VC firm with a single mission: 
Help founders give their web & mobile companies the...
We’re NextView Ventures. 
A seed-stage VC firm with a single mission: 
Help founders give their web & mobile companies the...
We’re NextView Ventures. 
A seed-stage VC firm with a single mission: 
Help founders give their web & mobile companies the...
For context: 
70+% of our portfolio startups 
that attempted to raise Series A successfully 
did so. (The industry average...
So we wondered… 
WHY?
So we wondered… 
WHY? 
Why do they succeed? 
What were their narratives? 
What altered their timelines to raise? 
What aff...
Here’s what we found…
4 
There were distinct 
approaches used to 
successfully raise Series A. 
(We’ll call these the 
“winning” strategies.)
The 4 Winning Strategies for 
Raising Series A
The 4 Winning Strategies for 
Raising Series A 
BUILD AUDIENCE MOMENTUM 
• Organic user growth translates to big topline f...
The 4 Winning Strategies for 
Raising Series A 
BUILD AUDIENCE MOMENTUM 
• Organic user growth translates to big topline f...
The 4 Winning Strategies for 
Raising Series A 
BUILD AUDIENCE MOMENTUM 
• Organic user growth translates to big topline f...
The 4 Winning Strategies for 
Raising Series A 
BUILD AUDIENCE MOMENTUM 
• Organic user growth translates to big topline f...
First, a look at how quickly 
each group raised their 
Series A rounds.
Across all four winning 
strategies, the average time 
between raising seed capital 
and raising Series A was…
Across all four winning 
strategies, the average time 
between raising seed capital 
and raising Series A was… 
303 days 
...
The exact timelines varied slightly across each 
strategy. (We’ll interpret this data in a few slides.) 
309 days 
323 day...
Next, a look at 
Series A size.
The average amount 
raised across all four 
winning strategies was…
The average amount 
raised across all four 
winning strategies was… 
SI 5.2M
Series A dollar amounts varied a bit more than the 
timelines when you examine each strategy: 
$4.5M 
$5.9M 
$4.8M 
$5.6M ...
So what can we 
learn here?
Thing We Learned #1 
309 days 
323 days 
320 days 
261 days 
Companies operating with a 
focus on revenue growth 
took the...
Thing We Learned #1 
$4.5M 
$5.9M 
$4.8M 
$5.6M 
SERIES A 
DOLLARS 
RAISED 
…they raised the largest 
dollar amounts. 
Aud...
A comforting 
finding, really
Thing We Learned #2
Thing We Learned #2 
309 days 
323 days 
320 days 
261 days 
Startups pitching the more 
qualitative, future-looking 
“pro...
Thing We Learned #2 
$4.5M 
$5.9M 
$4.8M 
$5.6M 
SERIES A 
DOLLARS 
RAISED 
And, somewhat 
surprisingly, they raised 
the ...
MOON 
OR 
BUST!
Thing We Learned #3
Thing We Learned #3 
Having larger, lifecycle VCs (i.e. 
firms known for investing in later 
rounds) invest in a startup’s...
Thing We Learned #3 
Having larger, lifecycle VCs (i.e. 
firms known for investing in later 
rounds) invest in a startup’s...
Thing We Learned #3 
Having larger, lifecycle VCs (i.e. 
firms known for investing in later 
rounds) invest in a startup’s...
Thing We Learned #4
Thing We Learned #4 
Higher founder salaries did not appear to have any 
meaningful impact on Series A timelines or dollar...
Thing We Learned #4 
Higher founder salaries did not appear to have any 
meaningful impact on Series A timelines or dollar...
Thing We Learned #4 
Higher founder salaries did not appear to have any 
meaningful impact on Series A timelines or dollar...
So what should 
entrepreneurs do 
differently?
So what should 
entrepreneurs do 
differently? 
First, accept that 
there isn’t one “right” 
or “best” way to raise 
Serie...
So what should 
entrepreneurs do 
differently? 
First, accept that 
there isn’t one “right” 
or “best” way to raise 
Serie...
So what should 
entrepreneurs do 
differently? 
So rather than seek 
THE way, you should 
instead be explicit about 
WHICH...
So what should 
entrepreneurs do 
differently? 
So rather than seek 
THE way, you should 
instead be explicit about 
WHICH...
So what should 
entrepreneurs do 
differently? 
So rather than seek 
THE way, you should 
instead be explicit about 
WHICH...
Once you pick that strategy and begin to focus on it, 
you’ll have a better idea of how to orient your company 
towards a ...
Once you pick that strategy and begin to focus on it, 
you’ll have a better idea of how to orient your company 
towards a ...
Once you pick that strategy and begin to focus on it, 
you’ll have a better idea of how to orient your company 
towards a ...
Once you pick that strategy and begin to focus on it, 
you’ll have a better idea of how to orient your company 
towards a ...
In the end, 
the seed stage is all about traction, 
which ultimately informs the story 
you use to raise Series A.
In the end, 
the seed stage is all about traction, 
which ultimately informs the story 
you use to raise Series A. 
To fin...
BEST OF LUCK! 
The NextView Ventures Team
GET MORE FREE resources 
for seed-stage startups 
Visit The View From Seed 
Regular blog content plus 
tactical, helpful r...
Winning Strategies Startups Use to Raise Series A [VC Portfolio Data]
Winning Strategies Startups Use to Raise Series A [VC Portfolio Data]
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Winning Strategies Startups Use to Raise Series A [VC Portfolio Data]

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At NextView Ventures, we examined our seed-stage startup portfolio of 40+ web and mobile companies and produced this data around which strategies help startups raise Series A. The SlideShare contains data on four key strategies, as well as their success rates in both time to Series A and total dollars.

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Winning Strategies Startups Use to Raise Series A [VC Portfolio Data]

  1. New STARTUP Data: Winning Strategies for Raising Your Series A A Look Inside the Portfolio of Seed VC
  2. “Data,” eh? I’m skeptical. Who are you, and how did you get all that?
  3. We’re NextView Ventures.
  4. We’re NextView Ventures. A seed-stage VC firm with a single mission:
  5. We’re NextView Ventures. A seed-stage VC firm with a single mission: Help founders give their web & mobile companies the B e s t p o s s i b l e s t a r t
  6. We’re NextView Ventures. A seed-stage VC firm with a single mission: Help founders give their web & mobile companies the B e s t p o s s i b l e s t a r t (We think about those three words a lot, so we thought we’d be transparent about what works for our portfolio.)
  7. We’re NextView Ventures. A seed-stage VC firm with a single mission: Help founders give their web & mobile companies the B e s t p o s s i b l e s t a r t (We think about those three words a lot, so we thought we’d be transparent about what works for our portfolio.) 40+ web & Mobile Startups (All U.S.-Based)
  8. For context: 70+% of our portfolio startups that attempted to raise Series A successfully did so. (The industry average is ~27%.) Industry data via tomtunguz.com
  9. So we wondered… WHY?
  10. So we wondered… WHY? Why do they succeed? What were their narratives? What altered their timelines to raise? What affected their total dollars raised?
  11. Here’s what we found…
  12. 4 There were distinct approaches used to successfully raise Series A. (We’ll call these the “winning” strategies.)
  13. The 4 Winning Strategies for Raising Series A
  14. The 4 Winning Strategies for Raising Series A BUILD AUDIENCE MOMENTUM • Organic user growth translates to big topline figures. • Attractive graphs, while vanity metrics, contribute to the story.
  15. The 4 Winning Strategies for Raising Series A BUILD AUDIENCE MOMENTUM • Organic user growth translates to big topline figures. • Attractive graphs, while vanity metrics, contribute to the story. Generate real revenue • Strong sign the company is investable. • Especially in B2B, indicates product-market fit.
  16. The 4 Winning Strategies for Raising Series A BUILD AUDIENCE MOMENTUM • Organic user growth translates to big topline figures. • Attractive graphs, while vanity metrics, contribute to the story. Generate real revenue • Strong sign the company is investable. • Especially in B2B, indicates product-market fit. Craft a Small Scale machine • Shows deep (if narrow) engagement or market penetration. • Attractive small-scale economics, including LTV/CAC ratio.* *Lifetime Value to Customer Acquisition Costs
  17. The 4 Winning Strategies for Raising Series A BUILD AUDIENCE MOMENTUM • Organic user growth translates to big topline figures. • Attractive graphs, while vanity metrics, contribute to the story. Generate real revenue • Strong sign the company is investable. • Especially in B2B, indicates product-market fit. Craft a Small Scale machine • Shows deep (if narrow) engagement or market penetration. • Attractive small-scale economics, including LTV/CAC ratio.* SELL HUGE VISION & UNSTOPPABLE PROMISE • Convey and generate excitement via qualitative means. • Sensational press/advisors/pilot customers all contribute. *Lifetime Value to Customer Acquisition Costs
  18. First, a look at how quickly each group raised their Series A rounds.
  19. Across all four winning strategies, the average time between raising seed capital and raising Series A was…
  20. Across all four winning strategies, the average time between raising seed capital and raising Series A was… 303 days (or roughly 10 months)
  21. The exact timelines varied slightly across each strategy. (We’ll interpret this data in a few slides.) 309 days 323 days 320 days 261 days Days BETWEEN Seed & SERIES A Audience Revenue Small Scale Promise Startup Operating Strategy
  22. Next, a look at Series A size.
  23. The average amount raised across all four winning strategies was…
  24. The average amount raised across all four winning strategies was… SI 5.2M
  25. Series A dollar amounts varied a bit more than the timelines when you examine each strategy: $4.5M $5.9M $4.8M $5.6M SERIES A DOLLARS RAISED Audience Revenue Small Scale Promise Startup Operating Strategy
  26. So what can we learn here?
  27. Thing We Learned #1 309 days 323 days 320 days 261 days Companies operating with a focus on revenue growth took the longest to raise their Series A. However… Audience Revenue Small Scale Promise Startup Operating Strategy Days BETWEEN Seed & SERIES A
  28. Thing We Learned #1 $4.5M $5.9M $4.8M $5.6M SERIES A DOLLARS RAISED …they raised the largest dollar amounts. Audience Revenue Small Scale Promise Startup Operating Strategy
  29. A comforting finding, really
  30. Thing We Learned #2
  31. Thing We Learned #2 309 days 323 days 320 days 261 days Startups pitching the more qualitative, future-looking “promise” strategy raised quickest, perhaps needing to strike while their story still had momentum. Audience Revenue Small Scale Promise Startup Operating Strategy Days BETWEEN Seed & SERIES A
  32. Thing We Learned #2 $4.5M $5.9M $4.8M $5.6M SERIES A DOLLARS RAISED And, somewhat surprisingly, they raised the second-highest Series A rounds on the backs of these stories. Audience Revenue Small Scale Promise Startup Operating Strategy
  33. MOON OR BUST!
  34. Thing We Learned #3
  35. Thing We Learned #3 Having larger, lifecycle VCs (i.e. firms known for investing in later rounds) invest in a startup’s seed round had no meaningful impact on how quickly they raised Series A.
  36. Thing We Learned #3 Having larger, lifecycle VCs (i.e. firms known for investing in later rounds) invest in a startup’s seed round had no meaningful impact on how quickly they raised Series A. However, these VCs did appear to help startups raise larger dollar amounts.
  37. Thing We Learned #3 Having larger, lifecycle VCs (i.e. firms known for investing in later rounds) invest in a startup’s seed round had no meaningful impact on how quickly they raised Series A. However, these VCs did appear to help startups raise larger dollar amounts. With large VCs involved in seed: $5.9M Series A average Without large VCs involved in seed: $4.9M Series A average
  38. Thing We Learned #4
  39. Thing We Learned #4 Higher founder salaries did not appear to have any meaningful impact on Series A timelines or dollars.
  40. Thing We Learned #4 Higher founder salaries did not appear to have any meaningful impact on Series A timelines or dollars. (There’s a popular opinion that founders who take higher salaries are less hungry or driven, which could affect their success in both operating and fundraising.)
  41. Thing We Learned #4 Higher founder salaries did not appear to have any meaningful impact on Series A timelines or dollars. (There’s a popular opinion that founders who take higher salaries are less hungry or driven, which could affect their success in both operating and fundraising.) (This is not an opinion shared by NextView.)
  42. So what should entrepreneurs do differently?
  43. So what should entrepreneurs do differently? First, accept that there isn’t one “right” or “best” way to raise Series A. In reality, there are many ways.
  44. So what should entrepreneurs do differently? First, accept that there isn’t one “right” or “best” way to raise Series A. In reality, there are many ways.
  45. So what should entrepreneurs do differently? So rather than seek THE way, you should instead be explicit about WHICH way you plan to operate.
  46. So what should entrepreneurs do differently? So rather than seek THE way, you should instead be explicit about WHICH way you plan to operate.
  47. So what should entrepreneurs do differently? So rather than seek THE way, you should instead be explicit about WHICH way you plan to operate. Focus on it, set goals through it, tell your story around it, and pitch with it.
  48. Once you pick that strategy and begin to focus on it, you’ll have a better idea of how to orient your company towards a successful Series A.
  49. Once you pick that strategy and begin to focus on it, you’ll have a better idea of how to orient your company towards a successful Series A. Selling hype and promise? Go for Series A sooner
  50. Once you pick that strategy and begin to focus on it, you’ll have a better idea of how to orient your company towards a successful Series A. Selling hype and promise? Go for Series A sooner Generating real revenue? ANTICIPATE A LONGER TIMeLINE to raise (but ask for more dollars) Etc.
  51. Once you pick that strategy and begin to focus on it, you’ll have a better idea of how to orient your company towards a successful Series A. Selling hype and promise? Go for Series A sooner Generating real revenue? ANTICIPATE A LONGER TIMeLINE to raise (but ask for more dollars) Etc. (So says the data)
  52. In the end, the seed stage is all about traction, which ultimately informs the story you use to raise Series A.
  53. In the end, the seed stage is all about traction, which ultimately informs the story you use to raise Series A. To find success, identify your strategy early and optimize Everything around it.
  54. BEST OF LUCK! The NextView Ventures Team
  55. GET MORE FREE resources for seed-stage startups Visit The View From Seed Regular blog content plus tactical, helpful resources for early-stage companies. Part of NextView’s Seed Platform of startup support. NextViewVentures.com @NextViewVC

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