Synopsis: Read about the step-by-step journey of how Alok and Aenik (founders of Wizzy) approached potential investors and eventually became a part of one of India’s most innovative VC firms 100X. This article is a direct account of how founders prepare, present, pitch to investors, an account of how a VC firm assesses a startup and its product, and how a VC firm helps a startup post fundraising. This article attempts to assist fellow founders in understanding the journey of raising funds through a VC firm.
We are proud and honored to share that Wizzy is now backed by India’s most revered investment community, 100X VC.
While we relish the outcome of taking even more responsibility to take our product to ecommerce businesses around the world, we want to share our experience of interacting and signing up for 100X VC.
So we have categorised our experience into the following sections:
- Our approach to connecting with 100X.
- First contact and visiting 100X at Mumbai.
- Signing the term sheet and talking to investors.
- 100+ hours of a masterclass in preparing to raise investment.
- Being officially backed by 100X and the investors’ event.
- Two weeks post the investors’ event.
- What next for Wizzy?
How We Approached 100X And The First Contact
We began our search for funding with four investors, out of which 100X was the first. We were under the impression that funding companies and VC firms take time to assess and filter out requests.
We (Wizzy) approached 100X VC partner Sanjay Mehta on 21st September 2021 and got a quick reply advising us to connect with Shashank Randev, Founder VC.
The conversation with Shashank helped us understand the 100X investment thesis, and we presented our product to Shashank.
Our call with Shashank lasted for about half an hour, and we discussed everything about Wizzy—from tech to current traction. We both (Alok and Aenik) were excited and were eager to demo our product, but Shashank swiftly suggested that we defer it.
Shashank scheduled another call with the 100X team the following week, and it was a thorough call with the entire team asking questions on our business model, tech, team, etc. The call lasted for about half an hour but felt like a mere 10-minute conversation. We entrepreneurs get excited talking about our business, product, and team!
We ended our conversation with the team with a small product demo. At this point, we were still not clear if we had passed the initial test and if 100X found our product worth investing time on, let alone investing money.
We were thoroughly surprised when Vatsal‘s team invited us to their office in Mumbai to continue the conversation. We had to meet them in the next couple of days, and we were so happy, and it took us a while to get back to our senses and realise that we had to move quickly. There was so much to prepare and plan because we wanted to nail this opportunity at any cost.
Time For A Chai Break
Aenik and I (Alok) have a tradition to have a chai break after a good call or a meeting, where we discuss plans and actions.
Today it was crucial for us to prepare for the meeting with a crisp business model, tech due-diligence questions, and everything we could think of.
The business plan we presented to 100X virtually turned out to be pretty complex, as we wanted to dump all stats, analytics, and projections in the document.
After our Chai break, we talked with Yagnesh to discuss our business plan. Yagnesh assessed our plan and offered suggestions that would help us prepare our plan in an impactful, digestible manner.
Preparing For 100X Meet In Mumbai
We began working on our business plan and getting things sorted for the next day’s meeting in Mumbai.
We (Aenik and Alok) took the early morning flight to Mumbai on Friday. We were so excited and new to meeting potential investors that we hardly got any sleep the previous night—butterflies in the stomach, that sort of feeling.
As the flight took off from Ahmedabad, we were confident about our idea and product, so there was no fear.
We Land In Mumbai—City Of Opportunities Beckons Us
We landed in Mumbai and took a cab straight to the 100X office around noon.
Our first meeting with the 100X team began with Vatsal, who wanted to understand the technology behind our product. In a matter of thirty minutes, we took Vatsal through our product architecture, technologies, server, why, how, our current progress, and future roadmap.
Once we wound up our meeting with Vatsal, we met the 100X team, and the time had come to pitch our business plan in person.
This was our moment of truth. All the days we spent brainstorming our product idea, time spent conducting market research, building our product, getting our first clients, meeting a potential investor in-person—our journey was short but full of challenges and victories. Still, we envisioned a bigger path for us in the future.
So, here we go!
We presented our pitch, followed by answering a few questions from the 100X team.
We had an epiphany while presenting our updated business model. One thought kept running in our minds: we are overcomplicating the pitch.
Overthinking creates problems. We were asked to rework the plan and restart our meeting after a short break.
Can Coffee solve problems? We think So!
We began the break with a coffee cup that helped us calm our nerves. As we began assessing our business plan, slowly, we realised stuff we had to eliminate at this stage.
We went back into the meeting room and presented our plan to the 100X team, and this time, they were satisfied with how we articulated our business.
Typically, A VC Firm Shakes Hands And Asks Us To Wait For Their Decision In A Few Days, Right?
To our surprise, 100X shook our hands and selected us as one of the investments as part of their Class 06 batch. We did not know how to react, and it was a great feeling for us as entrepreneurs.
Two Hours To Catch The Flight Back Home To Ahmedabad
After we calmed ourselves and took in the news, we spent a few minutes discussing Wizzy’s plans with the 100X team, after which we were offered a term sheet—right then and there! We couldn’t believe that VC firms moved this fast.
Once we received the term sheet, we quickly spent a few minutes with Lipi to understand the basics of the offer and signed on the dotted line before boarding a local Mumbai taxi heading towards the airport.
Mumbai Gave Us a Chance
The way we feel about a particular place, city, or country is influenced by our mindset at that time. Mumbai had given us this great opportunity where seasoned investors gave us their faith and recognition.
As the local taxi took us through the streets of Mumbai, we both sunk into our seats and felt as light as air. But this is just the beginning. It was the beginning of something truly great for Wizzy.
Back In Ahmedabad And What Lies Ahead?
The following week, 100X connected us with a couple of mentors and VCs for early talks. Every investor is different in assessing a business, and their conversations helped us sharpen our pitch further.
100X also connected us with a few portfolio companies for possible synergies. This was when we realised how 100X opens many doors for us. We were so thankful.
Networking and talking to mentors and investors was a phenomenal experience for us.
We met and spoke with many mentors and investors who were very patient to listen to our pitch and guided us with lots of inputs. Here are some investors we met:
- Hershel Mehta from 2AM ventures (LinkedIn)
- Brendan Rogers 2AM ventures (LinkedIn)
- Anoop Mathur from CORE Media (LinkedIn)
- And many other VCs
100+ Hours Of Masterclass Sessions
The next step, which was crucial from our point of view, was the 100X’s 1-on-1 masterclass series. These are a series of sessions from the core team of investors, VCs, and founders who had raised Series B / C rounds and from founders who have got successful exits.
This masterclass helped us understand the following aspects, among other things:
- Business valuation.
- Business projection.
- Product-market fit.
- How to think from an investor’s/VC perspective.
- What are ESOPs and dilution rights?
- How to handle term sheets and negotiations?
And more covered in 100+ hours (50 hours of online and 50 hours of offline) of sessions.
What we learned from the masterclass sessions
The masterclass sessions helped us understand the challenges to expect in raising money, product evolution, the dynamics of our addressable market, etc.
Before our interaction with 100X, it is common to hear stories of founders meeting potential investors who pose many questions and give very little advice for founders trying to raise money for the first time. But at 100X, they had experts from every aspect of the business to answer all our questions, guide us, and give us confidence.
We learned a tremendous amount in 100+ hours, which was a fantastic experience.
Here are some masterclass sessions that made a significant impression on us:
- Yash Kotak on how he built Jumper.ai and sold it to Vonage.
- Gagan Goyal guided us through the IQ (India Quotient) to understand the challenges, needs, and dynamism of addressing the Indian market.
- Giri Giridhar, CFO of Indian Hotels, guided us on business projections.
- Sanjay Mehta, founder & partner at 100X, guided us through forecasting and approaching scaling our product.
- Ninad Karpe, Partner at 100X, guided us through business strategy. Especially clarifying our conundrum of focusing on both B2B and B2C. And what’s the best approach to segment our targeting until we acquire a certain number of customers.
- Yagnesh Sanghrajka, Founder and CFO 100X, gave us guidance on financial projections and how to pitch to angel investors and VCs.
- Lipi Panchmia (Portfolio Management and Research Analyst) and Misri Kothari (Analyst) helped build our pitch deck and create financial projections to approach investors.
- Shashank Randev, Founder VC at 100X, guided us in fine-tuning our pitch deck, and Vatsal Kanakiya, CTO 100X, helped us record and create our pitch deck. Vatsal was available to help us between 9 AM till 2 AM late at night.
We were blown away by Vatsal’s drive and energy to help us create our pitch deck. We are very thankful to him.
Officially Backed By 100X And The Investors’ Event
At the end of the week, as we were confirmed as part of 100X, we participated in the pitch day organised by 100X, where 3000+ investors (angel, VCs) were present.
We presented our idea to the investor community and received over 100 interests in just a couple of days. This is rare to get in such a short period.
Two Weeks Post The Investors’ Event
As we returned to Ahmedabad, Alok and I were inundated with calls every day from many investors, who showed interest in investing and gave us valuable feedback on products and business.
Because Sanjay and Ninad are very vocal and optimistic investors about startups in India. Today, our paying customers have become aware of Wizzy being backed by 100X, congratulating us and encouraging us to evolve our product to make it much better.
What Next For Wizzy?
Being part of 100X was an exhilarating experience, and it is just the beginning of the journey for us. Follow us for more updates on our fundraising journey.
We want to share our experience hoping that our story could help aspiring entrepreneurs and founders to choose the right path and people towards raising sustainable investment.
If you’re planning to raise your first cheque with lots of learning, apply at 100X on email@example.com.