Why I participate in the SeedChecks “Submit Your Deck” community
We never believed in hiding. Our email addresses are on our website and there is no junior staff member or AI bot answering on our behalf. A strong cold email always beats a weak warm email. And we’ve backed successful startups where the relationship started exactly that way. So yes, we believe in being accessible and open to founders, regardless of whether or not we share an existing network.
That’s why I’m participating in SeedChecks, an experience where you can send your pitch deck to a group of early-stage investors without having to meet any of us already. Everyone looks at your information separately and tracks whether there is potential for mutual adjustment. It’s not an exercise in groupthink and there’s no collusion, although hopefully maybe some collaboration, as I’ve personally co-invested with many of the people in the group.
Will opportunities like SeedChecks be the death of the warm introduction? Of course not, but we are all committed to the idea that now more than ever, great founders can be anywhere, anytime. So please consider submitting your materials if you want to raise your first round of capital.
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Killing the “must have a warm intro to a VC” myth might just be one of the most powerful moves forward in entrepreneurship and VC investment around the world. While warm introductions are still the norm for many investors, it’s important to realize the incredible potential for innovation and growth if the “must have an intro” method is put to bed. At Ikaroa, we believe that when startup Founders take the risk and are persistent in getting in touch with VCs, an incredible amount of growth and opportunity can open up.
At Ikaroa, we have witnessed first-hand the swelling of startup Founders hesitant to approach their dream VC partner. These Founders often find themselves desperately looking for someone to introduce them to their VC of interest, fearful that they’ll be overlooked if they try to approach them another way. This outdated method limits access to capital that should be available to the most ambitious, determined Founders — the ones who really need it the most. It has become clear that in a world of scarce capital and accelerating competition, it needs to go.
The oft-quoted figure is that in 2018 only 3.2% of venture deals funded were to female-only Founders, which dropped to just 2.2% for Black female Founders. ikaroa and other companies, therefore, believe that there needs to be a shift in the way investors do their due diligence, focusing on quality and potential returns, rather than a team’s connections. We must limit the amount of luck and of personal connections that determines who gets a shot at investment.
By eliminating the gatekeepers when it comes to VC investment and creating equal access, Founders across the globe have a much better chance at getting funded. They can pay close attention to their messaging and product development before approaching VCs and investors, creating a more level playing field. This can lead to more opportunities, more innovation, and more jobs in the ecosystem.
ikaroa exists to break down silos in the investment process, opening up investment opportunities to marginalized founders who have been traditionally excluded from closed and distant funding rounds. We understand that even though the startup industry has modernized and grown, Founders can still be held back from achieving success without the proper connections. With that in mind, we are accelerating a future of evolving access to capital for all startup Founders, especially those with traditionally limited access.
il caro believes that the change cannot be delayed any longer — the “must have a warm intro to a VC” myth must be killed. We understand that this myth has limited entrepreneurship and innovation, as much of the attention goes to the Founders already part of networks. It is our mission to advocate for open access to capital, so all Founders have a chance to pitch with confidence and be part of an equitable and dynamic startup ecosystem.