What is poorA recent developer to do when they get out of coding bootcamp but don’t have any real life experience? You step into the world of simulation. This is the basic premise of what Wilco offers. Last week I covered the company’s $7 million funding round, and the company’s CEO, On Freund, was generous enough to allow me to use the deck the company created to close that round of my Pitch Deck Teardown series.
One of the things I love, love, and love about the set is that – like the company’s overall design style – it uses the Sierra era gaming look. Specifically, it goes back to the old Space Quest games of the ’80s and ’90s, and it seems that the company itself, Wilco, is named after Space Quest’s main protagonist, Roger Wilco.
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It’s an especially apt name, given that, in the Space Quest series, Roger is an unlucky but well-meaning “sanitary engineer” (ie a janitor), who, by accident, ends up saving the world over and over again. If you really want to dig a deep rabbit hole in retro style, check out the excellent Space Quest Historian podcast. Because naturally There is a podcast about the history of Space Quest.
Aaaanyway – Sorry, an 8-bit nerd appears, nostalgia sometimes gets better than me. where were we? Oh, yes, the pitches and their destruction.
I’m always looking for more presentations that we can share with our TechCrunch readers.
We even set up a rendering process of some sort. Here’s more information on how to participate.
Slides in this group
The Wilco seed deck is a 19-slice deck that marks all the boxes. The ink in the investment round article has not dried yet, so the unrefined surface will be littered with a lot of business sensitive information; Wilco’s team noted that they have made some revisions to make them feel comfortable sharing the group. I’ve noticed it in the slides list below.
- cover slide
- team slide
- problem slice
- “What is happening today?” Problem context slide
- task slide
- Who We Are – Value Proposition Slide
- solution slice
- “Wilco’s solution is customizable, adapts and connects to popular tools” – product segment
- “Scale vs. Personalize” – Go-to-Market Segment
- The Wilco Effect – Product Benefits Slice
- “Product Experience” – Screenshot of the product (and a demo, perhaps?)
- Go-to-market slide
- traction slide – Revised: Monthly active users (graph of users over time)
- traction slide – Revised: Customer Logos Removed
- traction slide – Revised: Content partner/customer logos removed
- “What Customers Say About Us” – Testimonial Slide
- competition segment
- slide ask – Revised: Some numbers have been removed
- “Let’s talk!” – Contact information chip
Three things to love
I’ve already recognized Wilco’s talent for graphics, but the company’s talent seems to go deeper than that. The deck uses great storytelling craftsmanship. Here are some of the salient points:
Benefits over features
A lot of startups, especially those with tech founders, fall into the trap of focusing excessively on product features rather than benefits. You see it in all kinds of places, but here’s an example: Nobody really cares that a car has a 400-mile range; This is just a number. Consumers (and yes, investors too) care how far you can go. In other words: A car can get you from Los Angeles to San Francisco without having to stop to charge or refuel. This is benefits-based storytelling, and it connects with your audience much better than if the car has a range of 380 or 420 miles.
On Slide 10, Wilco does an amazing job at exactly this; They call it the “Wilko effect,” but realistically speaking, it’s benefits. Junior engineers get hands-on experience, senior engineers get more time, management gets vision for human resource development and better control over training, and the broader community benefits in many ways.
The “how” will be important but it risks being tempted to go into more detail than is important for the presentation platform. The “what” is very tactical; For this part of the story, it doesn’t really matter what users need to do to get these benefits. Focusing on “why” is the reason for the strength of this segment; It opens the door for more in-depth conversations if needed, but the foundation is there. I hope more startups get this right!
Beautifully crisp order
It’s extremely rare to find a subtraction chip that actually does what you need to do. When I saw this – despite the revisions – I knew I should highlight Wilco, because it’s a good example of how to do a great question.
Here’s the promise the company made to its investors: Give us $6 million, and we’ll get it done.
In the first box, the company is talking about a “community edition” that enables developers (not “allows”, but I’m probably more interested in that than they should) to play and create quests. What feature set is not specified here anywhere in the deck, so I would expect there will be an attached slide that shows a product roadmap of some sort. However, it is a clear goal.
In the second box, the company outlines its staffing plan. Of course, “Strong Team” is a bit ambiguous; I’d like to see some numbers here, but it works.
In the third box, Wilko sees things right. “Access to X WAUs and Y for Weekly Tasks Played” is a very clear SMART goal: it is specific and measurable; There is no doubt whether the target was hit or not. The numbers are covered, so I have no way of knowing if that’s even possible, but here’s the promise the company makes to its investors: Give us $6 million, and we’ll get it done. It’s pertinent: achieving this goal will unlock the next round of funding. And it’s time-bound, presumably “in the next eighteen months” – more on that in a moment. brilliant. wide. yes. More of This – Specific, clear and believable goals for what you will achieve with your investments will go a long way toward securing confidence in how your company will do its business between this fundraising round and the next.
In the fourth box, the company sets some specific goals around its growth path, with a number of partnerships it needs to get to the ground in order to facilitate future growth, expressed as a SMART goal.
I have a minor point that I would like to see done differently here. I don’t know how many runway months the company is collecting here, but I’m willing to bet money that the red box covers the number 18. Why? Well, that’s pretty much the norm for fundraising these days: You can fundraise for 18 months and re-fund when you have six months left of the runway.
Less than 18 months old and you don’t have enough time to accomplish meaningful work. Much more than that as you try to glimpse into a somewhat unrealistic timeline. Besides, a lot of startups aim for 18 months, but then go to hell for trying to hit the milestones earlier.
In short, don’t collect money because the money is running out as planned. You’re raising money because you’ve hit the milestones and you need more money to follow your next set of milestones. In short: Don’t worry about putting the amount of time on the chipset anywhere; It’s not useful, and would appear as part of your operating plan and financial plans anyway.
clearly framed problem
I usually share one slide here, but the third and fourth slides go together, so here’s one:
Did I mention that people have a temptation to get highly technical and brave about the product in their slide decks? Yes, yes I did, in the first part of this ripping. Well, here is another example of how to call welco perfectly. In the third and fourth slides, the company is able to explain the problem in a concise and clear manner. The company highlights the shortcomings of the theoretical education and explains what the effects are across the business. In a world where developers are with some of the most expensive human resources, any rise in efficiency is a problem. Investors know this better than most; They see budgets across their portfolios.
Even for someone who is not fully familiar with the ins and outs of running a development organization, Wilco’s value proposition is clear and easy to understand. Quite amazing, given the number of ways the company could have gone horribly wrong.
In the rest of this rip off, we’ll look at three things Wilco could have improved or done differently, along with a full pitch deck!