ecently my co-founder and I, closed a pre-seed round of £615,000 ($850,000) for our brand new cyber deception startup, Lupovis.io. We raised the capital from a syndicate composed of Techstart Ventures, Nauta Capital and the University of Strathclyde.

Why raised from VCs?

Cybersecurity is a fast evolving domain, we researched the technology for two years, validated the technology, demonstrated some product/market fit and started onboarding customers. It was the right time to grow, consolidate and expand our operations. At this stage founders do not have many metrics yet, however they can paint the story of the journey.
Our pitch consequently was narrative heavy and aimed to be clear and convincing.
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What do pre-seed rounds typically look like ?
According to data on HubSpot the average pre-seed round for start-ups is just above £360,000 (£500,000)
However, if you follow this “startup” topic on Twitter, you will notice that rounds typically vary between £75,000–£550,000

Is a larger pre-seed round better raised?

From a founder’s point of view, the amount raised allow us to fuel our growth appropriately.
However, we must be cognizant of the adage that says that two startups raising £350,000 and £500,000 respectively for the same product, will produce the same outcome.
Being aware of this, and prioritising problems and risks is essential to gain the best value for the monies invested in the team and the startup. Our pitch consequently was narrative heavy and aimed to be clear and convincing.
Was this too much, certainly, however, I was able to deliver all the slides within 5, 10 and 15 minutes. This structure however, allowed me to think about the content.
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Jeff Bezos on spending money However, if you follow this “startup” topic on Twitter, you will notice that rounds typically vary between £75,000–£550,000

Why are pre-seed round this large?

Pre-seed rounds are equal to seed rounds 10 years ago, this only tells us that there is more money to be invested in startups and that investors are looking at getting in early.
So, How did we do it ?
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

Value Proposition
We defined our core business in a couple of sentences. What are we offering, How are we offering it, and why are we different?
2. We made our first pitch deck. At this stage founders do not have many metrics yet, however they can paint the story of the journey.
Our pitch consequently was narrative heavy and aimed to be clear and convincing.
Was this too much, certainly, however, I was able to deliver all the slides within 5, 10 and 15 minutes. This structure however, allowed me to think about the content.
3. I reviewed (a lot of) pitch decks
Facebook, AirbnB, LinkedIn, Mint, Mapme, Buzzfeed, Youtube, and many more.
I analysed the design, the support, the text, the layout, etc

4.I refined the deck and presented it, again and again, and again
Once the deck refined, the text adapted, I spend hours, days repeating the presentation, adjusting the wording, communicating the message.

I applied a systematic:

Approach to adapt the text and sentences to various presentation length, while still being able to deliver the same message.
I took into account that the average person (myself included) is only able to deliver between 120 and 150 words per minute without sounding like rushing. However, if you follow this “startup” topic on Twitter, you will notice that rounds typically vary between £75,000–£550,000
5. The Narrative
Early startups decks are focused on their north star and how the team will get there. At this stage founders do not have many metrics yet, however they can paint the story of the journey.
Our pitch consequently was narrative heavy and aimed to be clear and convincing.
Anatomy of the Final Pitch

Throughout the various raised:

The reviews and the refining, the pitch deck evolved. The messaging became clearer, the sentences more direct, the content more focused and the narrative sharper.
Pitch Deck
Here is the pitch-deck template I created to raise $850k pre-seed funding for our cyber-deception company.

Functional Pitch Deck Template

If you have any question about the deck, the pitch, the delivery, subscribe !
Lupovis.io is an AI-based deception solution that establishes new principles for cyber deception, manipulation and misdirection of attackers and in-network threats in contested environments stemming from 2 years of Raised. Our pitch consequently was narrative heavy and aimed to be clear and convincing.
Was this too much, certainly, however, I was able to deliver all the slides within 5, 10 and 15 minutes. This structure however, allowed me to think about the content.