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The Bulletin #21: The Diligence Process, Gaming Industry, & Student Funding Opportunities
Want to hear about our diligence process? Laying it all out here, for ya. And here's a little dip in the pool view of the gaming industry + some resources to get funding as a student founder.
🦄 A Week of Diligencing
This week, the VWV team has been diligencing 3 start-ups in preparation for their Investment Committee meeting, and one promising company in particular is entering the rapidly growing gaming industry. Following up, we also have some exciting student funding / start-up / VC opportunities to share!
💥 What exactly does the VWV diligence process look like?
Before we dive into the gaming industry, how does the VWV team diligence start-ups?
1️⃣ First Phase
First call with founder: typically a solo associate gets to know a startup by asking questions to the founder
Pitching to the VWV team: if it captures the associate’s attention, they have the opportunity to pitch reasons they love the start-up during our weekly Pipe meeting
The rest of the team grills in with more questions, bringing up possible concerns or additional reasons they’re particularly bullish. Gauging general team interest, we either table the conversation & follow up with the founder in a few months or dive into the following steps.
2️⃣ Second Phase
Second call with founder: the associate brings on a diligence team, ranging 2-4 associates, to ask follow up questions that were brought about during Pipe
Investor reference call: we’re put in touch with a current investor through the founder to understand their investment decision
Customer reference call: we’re put in touch with an current or previous user through the founder to understand their experience using the product/service
Advisor reference call: we speak with one of our advisors that knows the most about the industry for additional guidance
Additional research: primary or secondary sources to back up our understanding of the market landscape, how investing works for that segmentation, and anything else that is uniquely crucial to thinking critically of the start-up
Third call with founder: only if necessary*
Initial pitch deck feedback: we send out the initial pitch deck!
3️⃣ Third Phase
Deck feedback implementation: revising the deck based on feedback
Pitching to IC: our IC now have the opportunity to grill us with questions and holds an internal voting on the investment
🎮 The Changing Gaming Landscape*
Gaming studios are typically not venture backable and it has only started within the last decade. However, 2 genres of gaming that are seen as a good VC investment are:
Games that act as a platform; in other words, games that have a blank canvas and consists of user generated content. ie: Roblox
Hyper casual games that are small, cheap, and quickly ship to market. Once people are bored of the game, they quickly pour in money to ship out new games. ie: Zynga, Candy Crush
To stand out in comparison to other studios, you’ll need some key edges that really differentiate you.
Here are the 3 main ones to look at for during the founder call
Core insights on users that give you an advantage to acquire customers. Essentially, benching on a very strong GTM 🎯
In other words, this is leverage in distribution: the studio needs to have player data to target customers accordingly & have unique insights that other studios don’t have for user acquisition. It’s all about the gamer community and understanding the culture within it
No amount of content will save you from bad distribution. However good your game is, it’ll fall right through if you can’t get it out at the right time, to the right people, all in the right ways
The technology the game is being built upon is unique and new in itself 👾
Blockchain, VR/AR, Metaverse, and Cloud Gaming are all up and coming technologies that will be at the forefront
This is a no-brainer but the game itself and creating a strong branding 🃏
The graphics quality for user experience and an interesting game design for playing repeatability is key to get a user to keep coming back for more rounds
^ If you haven’t heard about Activision Blizzard’s scandal, they faced multiple lawsuits over sexual harassment and workplace misconduct.
To learn more, listen to the podcast Investing in the Business of Gaming with Mitch Laskey (Partner at Benchmark, which invested in EA, Riot, Snapchat, Discord)!
***Special thanks to Scott Sunarto for these insights
🧢 Who should you be following on Twitter?
If you’re looking for some humor that makes fun of VC’s, @VCBrags is perfect for you
If you haven’t listened to 20MinVC, you’re missing out. Follow the host @HarryStebbings to keep up with his releases! He interviews VC’s, founders, and everyone in between.
💸 Opportunities for Funding
Are you a student looking for funding? Here are all the firms with formal programs for students that you can apply to:
Brown University’s Nelson Entrepreneurship Grants, ranging $250-$25k grants
Unusual VC’s The University Founder Fellowship, rolling acceptance until 11/10/2022, $25k grant
Human Capital’s Fellowship Program, deadline 10/27/2022, $50k grant
Soma Capital’s Fellowship Program, (closed for Fall 2022 but keep an eye out for the Spring 2023!), $100k grant
Techstar’s Program Accelerator, all over the world with varying application dates
YCombinator’s Winter 2023 Cohort, accepting until Jan, 2023
Thiel Fellowship, must drop out*, $100k
👩💻 Opportunities for VC and Start-Up
Are you looking to break into VC? Here are a few that are hiring right now:
Campus Partners is recruiting for their next cohort, 11/21/2022
Are you looking to work at a startup? Here are a few hiring start-ups and resources to find the perfect role for you:
Crypto gaming start-up Argus Labs just raised a massive round, and are looking Systems, Gaming, and Research Engineers
Kleiner Perkins Fellowship for Engineering, Design, and Product Fellows for 2023 summer
Bessemer Fellowship Program for 2023 summer
Angel List to find any startup for any role, any time
YC’s Startup Hiring List for any role, any time
We’re currently in the bear market, please enjoy this tweet:
That’s it for this week, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries
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