INVESTOR TALKS #2
CARLO THISSEN, RAPHAEL ALLSTADT AND ALLAN BETTAREL FROM tl;dv
Investor Talks #2: In our second investor talk, we sat down with Carlo Thissen, Raphael Allstadt and Allan Bettarel from tl;dv: Young founders from Aachen that just raised their first funding round. Congratulations!
We’ve been joined by Falk Haurenherm, Investment Manager at another.vc and co-investor in the team’s Pre-Seed round, to discuss their overall fundraising experience and reflect some learnings for first-time fundraisers.
Akira: Carlo, tell us a bit about your start-up. Where does the name “tl;dv” come from and what is your business About?
Carlo: tl;dv stands for ‘too long; didn’t view’ and describes a common problem in remote teams, which often share live meeting recordings with colleagues in other timezones. Viewing these meeting videos is currently way too time-consuming for these colleagues, because they don’t know how to find the relevant moments. Hence - too long; didn’t view.
tl;dv finally makes this process easy, efficient, and fun. Live participants use tl;dv to record their meetings from any popular meeting provider, such as for example Google Meets or Zoom. During their live meetings, they are able to tag absent colleagues at the relevant meeting moments directly. These colleagues are then notified automatically and can catch up with these meetings asynchronously and consume meeting recordings within minutes to stay in the know.
Akira: Raphael, you just managed to raised your first Pre-Seed round with early-stage investors Seedcamp, Mustard Seed Maze and another.vc. How did you select and approach these investors?
Raphael: What many first-time founders underestimate is that fundraising is a long process with a low conversion rate and that it should be run by one founder end-to-end and full-time. We spoke to at least 100 individuals and started serious conversations with around 10. You can read everywhere that an introduction from an insider is helping to get more discovery conversations with investors and that is definitely true. Because we didn’t have much of that network, it really helped to write thoughtfully crafted messages to individuals that have invested into similar companies in the past and knew the space well. Try to avoid copy-pasting unless you are exceptionally good at copywriting. A great channel to create awareness is Twitter: Follow the investors that you’d like to work with and engage with them on a frequent basis. We initially applied for Seedcamp, because they have already invested in awesome companies like UiPath and Hopin and therefore knew our space very, very well. When Seedcamp took the lead of our Pre-Seed round, their brand and reputation really helped to catch the interest of other notable investors. In the end, we happily decided to close the round with Mustard Seed Maze from Lisbon and another.vc from Berlin, which allows us to leverage a diverse mix of experiences, investment philosophies and complementary networks. Akira, Max and the entire Entrepreneurship Center at RWTH have played a key part in our Pre-Seed, because they connected us with many investors in the German ecosystem, including Falk from another.vc. Founders from Aachen should definitely leverage this network when they go out to raise their first round!
Akira: Raphael, if you wrap up the successful fundraising process you just went through, are there any learnings you can share with teams that just plan to raise a Pre-Seed round?
Raphael: Sure, there are a bunch of learnings we have made as first-time founders that we are more than happy to share! First and foremost, we’d like to point out that fundraising is full of ambiguity, which you need to feel really comfortable with! Some experts will tell you to raise more, others will tell you to raise much less capital, some will value your business at 800k, some at 3M, I could go on the entire day … and that’s completely okay! You are in the driver seat, although it sometimes doesn’t feel like that. That also applies to your business by the way! Be sure to be the one to bring up everything, which you don’t yet know about your business in the first conversation and definitely have a good plan in place about how you find will eliminate these unknowns as soon as possible … (and when the money is on your bank account).
Akira: Falk, as investment manager at another.vc, you joined tl;dv’s Pre-Seed round at a super early stage. Was there anything particular about the team or their business idea that immediately grabbed your attention?
Falk: Pre-seed investment decisions are mainly based on the team, provided it attacks a relevant market. Starting with our first call Raphael showed that he has a key skill of successful founders: He can sell! Especially early on you will have to sell products to customers, your culture to future employees and your vision to investors. In addition to those individual aspects, the team had already worked together on their previous venture Mosaeek (which I liked for its ambition) and then shown their entrepreneurial instincts, by pivoting towards a huge market opportunity in the remote space.
Akira: Falk, how did Carlo and Raphael finally convinced you to invest? What can other founders learn from them?
Falk: In the end tl;dv solves an enormous pain point around video meetings, which becomes obvious once you use their product. You instantly ask yourself: Why has this not been around for longer? This in combination with a team that genuinely propagates remote work and its evolution convinced us to invest.
There are different aspects that other founders can learn from tl;dv’s early days. The team showed how important it is to be patient when searching for the right business case. Carlo, Raphael and Allan started with an entirely different B2C case in 2019 before eventually transitioning towards a more promising B2B product. What led them there was user feedback. That is another aspect many founders especially with a technical background have difficulties to internalize: Focusing on what customers actually want is a central ingredient in building a successful company and the tl;dv team lives by that.
Are you a founder that is planning to fundraise over the coming months? RWTH Entrepreneurship Center’s investor network comprises some of Europe’s leading venture capital firms and business angels. Our dedicated team of start-up coaches can help you leverage this network. Get in touch with us here.