Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!
Contxto – Mexican venture capital fund (VC) ALLVP has launched an initiative through which budding founders can send the pitch deck for their startup and get it checked for free by a professional.
And that’s pretty great. However, call me a cynic, but I do often abide by that old Roman saying:
It loosely means, “whose to benefit?”, and it is a phrase on the lips of many as the veil of economic uncertainty is drawn across our collective eyes.
Let’s take a look at the facts first.
What the ALLVP DeckCheckr does
On face value, what ALLVP is offering is a jolly good proposition.
An expedient and professionally run free service that checks a startup’s pitch deck in the following categories:
You can remember them easily as the four Cs… and a Q… It works better in Spanish.
Each of these gets a score from 0 to 100 percent, the compilation of which ends up being you “deck score”.
Getting a rating from a top VC is certainly some pretty great feedback to have on hand.
It could even make or break a startup’s funding, because, remember, this service is checking the worthiness of your deck, not the quality of the startup. So, if you don’t score well, it may mean that even if your idea is sound, you may miss out on funding on account of having an unseemly deck.
However, the amount of sensitive of information required by ALLVP—valuation, investors, etc.—does ring some alarm bells for an initiative insisting that:
And yet, common wisdom would suggest that if you are not paying for a product that you are receiving, then you, my dear reader, are the product.
The truth is…
Contxto got in touch with Jia Li Tan, an associate at ALLVP, in order to completely clarify the VC’s intentions.
I asked her how much time and effort went into checking each deck? The process certainly seemed pretty labor-intensive for what seemed like literally no returns for ALLVP.
Tan replied that the process was actually rather simple and streamlined, but effective.
I also wondered about the timeframe set for founders to send their pitches to the deck checker. Why had they chosen on an early May to June 5 time limit?
The reasoning, said Tan, was just because it was the month-long time slot to see how many decks they could get.
This was, in fact, purportedly a big drive behind the DeckCheckr initiative: Sheer curiosity as to whether the fact that people were being kept at home and in more precarious conditions than ever was driving them to innovate and start their own companies.
And finally, I asked Tan the million-dollar question, what’s in it for ALLVP?
“The information we receive is completely confidential. And the data does not even get sent to the investment team,” Tan asked me to emphasize.
So there you have it. However, after chatting a bit longer with Tan the more nuanced answer was: Sure, the VC is doing this out of sheer curiosity and a smidge of self-interest.
The DeckCheckr initiative is meant to place ALLVP as a regional VC leader, provide it with good branding as an altruistic actor in difficult times, and as a tool for outreach.
How? You might ask. The answer is to be found in the very act of processing the pitch decks in the first place.
Sheer contact with this info is bound to feed the VCs “human database”, made up by ALLVP’s associates. I can tell you from experience that after close and consistent contact with data about any specific part of the ecosystem—be it fintech, proptech, or biotech—, you quickly start spotting patterns that would otherwise not be so forthcoming.
Tan agreed. Commenting on Mexico’s with high fintech concentration with particular interest: Will the country’s startup ecosystem further hunker down into this specialist niche? Or will the crisis move it to spread its wings into wider realms of development? There is certainly value in being the first to spot the trend.
How ALLVP will exactly capitalize on this initiative is as of yet unclear even to them, it seems. They are, however, banking on their own bit of common wisdom: Crisis is the best moment to test new things.
So, should you go for it?
I’d say yes. The benefits are clear and if you can capitalize on it, you may end up with a very good and objective snapshot of the current health of your pitch deck. A deck pic, if you will.