Adventures In Deep Space

A blog about turning our "crazy" big idea to transform deep space exploration into a real company (click on header above to view this blog's home page)


September 08, 2021 — Thomas Leavitt

Producer for a TV show reached out to me about possibly doing something involving this project. Am skeptical, but they seem legit, and it's of course an intriguing proposition.

Also did a mutual introduction between two people who are informally advising meabout this project this a.m. Labor Day weekend and a very busy work schedule so far this week have limited how much effort I can put in, but I'm committed to making forward progress on an ongoing basis despite that.

Update: as I expected, we're too early stage for them to be interested; also, a brief search suggests that the show in question may be "pay for play"... there's a vast ecology of suspect players in the startup ecology (including a lot of "startups" themselves) that smart founders are leery of engaging with. As one of my advisors says, "Skepticism is always warranted."

Tags: media-coverage, television, startups

PowerPoint Pitch Decks

September 01, 2021 — Thomas Leavitt

One of the incubators that I'm in the early stage of talking with gave me a "Slide Deck" PowerPoint template, which I spent a chunk of tonight working through. Had to create a "McKinsey Matrix", among other "entertaining" tasks.

"Decks", and everything that goes into them, are all part of the "price of entry", "table money", for playing the startup game, at least when you're pursing a project (like this one) that is clearly going to require "real money" to get take flight (at some point). External investment is always a last resort, due to the constraints (aka "golden handcuffs") it puts on you, and the pressure to generate immediate financial returns or otherwise justify further investment it imposes. You want to take it on the most favorable terms possible, which means as late in the game as possible, but not at the price of stunting your growth or your ability respond to unexpected developments in a timely fashion.

The people you'll be presenting your deck to are sophisticated professional investors; in many cases, they've started more than one company in this area themselves. They know that, especially early on, most numbers are highly speculative (though where they can be solid, they'd better be accurate and reasonable). The numbers are there to demonstrate that the company's founders have done their due diligence, thought through the problem in detail, and understand the market.

Everyone understands that the numbers in your multi-year financial and sales forecast are a bunch of hooey, but at the same time, they serve a real and valid purpose: making the case that, should the chips fall right, there's money to be made by investing in your project. That there's a pony in there somewhere. "Brilliant ideas" are a dime a dozen. Ones that can make money, well, they're a bit more rare.

Tags: thepitch, incubators, startups, decks, powerpoint, presentations, thegame