The pitch paper is critical for any business entrepreneur. It functions similarly to a CV and is an important document for venture investors to understand the firm before they relax their purse strings.
Even though anyone can create a pitch deck, investors only look at the most interesting ones.The document is especially important for early-stage firms looking to seek capital.
Start Insights, situated in Salem, Tamil Nadu, is assisting them in their endeavor. It was started in 2021 by Premananth S. and Sowmiya Chandrasekaran.
The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform helps new business owners find potential investors, talk to them, and pitch their ideas.Moreover, its Pitch Craft service assists entrepreneurs in creating an eye-catching pitch deck.
Moreover, it aids them in the interim phase, which includes a market study, financial estimates, and the full end-to-end paperwork.
“It can be challenging for founders to raise funds and create a strong foundation for their businesses. We provide the necessary expertise to make this process easier for early-stage founders,” says Premananth.
In the year since its founding, Start Insights has provided over 40 pitch decks and assisted six entrepreneurs in successfully raising $1.2 million in pre-seed and seed fundraising rounds. So far, the business has worked with over 50 customers and has 10–20 more on the way.
With the help of Start Insights’ Pitch Craft service, Cookr.in, a food market in Chennai, raised $1 million in a pre-seed round.
The company charges money for its services and requires a 90-day commitment. It did not share the figures with YourStory. Moreover, Start Insights makes money from its products, which include Pitch Craft, Pitch Do, and Start X.
Its cohort service is a 90-day program designed to help early-stage entrepreneurs grow and succeed through mentoring, networking opportunities, and tailored support—from concept validation to financing advice.
Premananth, who is from Salem, a Tier II city in Tamil Nadu, has battled with exposure and progress. As a member of the Google developers community and the Microsoft for Students group, he contributed to the developer ecosystem.
Geo-Informatics, a NASSCOM-incubated firm, was his first foray into the startup sector. He founded two businesses after working for a year and a half. Nevertheless, he had to discontinue both initiatives since the timing was not right and raising financing proved difficult.
Simultaneously, he was organizing events for Tamil Nadu’s startup community.
After talking to company founders at these events and learning from his own experiences, Premananth decided to come up with a way to help entrepreneurs with their biggest problems: pitching to investors and getting money.
According to Sequoia Capital India (DPIIT), the nation has around 88,000 companies registered with the Directorate for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Yet, only 10% are qualified for financing, demonstrating the high financial criterion.
Moreover, entrepreneurs that lack fundraising knowledge may have difficulty obtaining money to build their firm.
When a firm contacts Start Insights, it is mainly interested in using its Pitch Craft service. To generate the deck, the Salem-based business does market research for the startup, writes and designs an outstanding pitch deck, and creates financial forecasts for the venture.
After this, the firm assists the entrepreneur in obtaining cash, notably with value quotes, stock dilution, and other services.
Start Insights is working on two new products: Pitch Do, an automated tool for creating pitch decks, and Start X, an 18-week impulsive scale-up plan.
In this market, the business competes with Marquee Equity and Slidebean.
On how the company has helped startups raise funding, Premananth says, “There is a significant increase in inquiries from established angel investors, aspiring angel investors, family offices, and venture capital firms as we have a strong network, along with a successful track record.”
“By connecting with these investors and leveraging our existing relationships with industry experts and mentors, we can provide our clients with the best possible funding opportunities,” he adds.
Market and Future
According to Bain & Co., the Indian SaaS sector is predicted to reach $35 billion in annual recurring revenue in 2027, up from $13 billion in 2022.
Start Insights secured Rs 52 lakh in a pre-seed fundraising round headed by angel investors from Microsoft, GE Digital, and others in January 2023.
In terms of future planning, Start Insights has two primary goals in mind.
Second, its SaaS platform makes angel investments completely digital and free for anyone to use. Second, in addition to its 90-day cohort program, the business hopes to build a more permanent end-to-end platform for companies, assisting founders from ideation to winning venture capital investment.
“Having fundraising documents in place doesn’t mean every startup is assured of funds. Founders should be cautious about choosing investors with the same domain expertise, as it can greatly impact their startup’s scalability,” he explains.
“With a good deal of experience and knowing well the investment thesis of more than 20 angel investors and over five venture capitalists, we know what we are talking about and can help founders find the right investor who will also be the catalyst for the growth of their startup,” Premananth says.