Přemysl Koudela: How to Find Your Next Seed Investment

Our startups, Interview
From the creation of a pitch deck, presentation to investors and negotiations to signature of a seed investment contract, it usually takes a few months. It is said that getting an investment may take up to ten months. This sends a clear message: startups should start looking early. Vistag, a startup incubated in UP21, is currently contacting Czech and foreign investors and asking for a second round of investment. We were curious and asked the CEO, Přemysl Koudela, how it is going.

"Vistag is a B2B tool that lets e-shops, publishers or bloggers mark products simply in photos, making it easier for people to buy and enabling e-shops to increase revenue."

Přemysl Koudela, CEO

Vistag was incubated in UP21 in the spring of 2017. During that time, the company managed to build an eight-member team and gain customers like Samsung, Zoot, Different, Freshlabels and Queens. Notable academic staff have been working on the development of the product, which is based on machine learning. With the completion of the minimal viable product (MVP), development priorities have shifted to marketing and sales, which is why Vistag is looking for a new investor.

Přemysl Koudela, CEO of Vistag

When did you realize that Vistag needs a new investment?

The moment of awareness was at the end of 2017. We completed the MVP, which we offered to early adopters and first clients, and we knew we needed a new investment.

What type of investor are you looking for?

Like everyone else we would like smart money. That means someone who would understand our product, our segment and help the project to develop. Because our ambitions are outside of  the Czech Republic, it would be nice if they had experience with expansion abroad.

Where can one find such investors?

The sources of how to get in touch with investors are more or less public. There are different lists, like Crunchbase. Then it's all about getting close to investors and making them interested.

How are you progressing in your search for an investor?

In the Czech Republic, it is easy to get to seed and post-seed funds; investors mostly respond to email. The situation is worse with angel investors, who are often not publicly active. What works the best, whether in the Czech Republic or abroad, is getting connected through acquaintances or partners who can introduce the two of you.

Networking is generally very important, so you have to go to various, but not only, startup events and fairs. We have participated in the Pioneers, the Wolves Summit, the SWCSummit, the Seedstars and the E-commerce Berlin Expo.

Once you get in touch with an investor, what's next?

A pitch deck is fundamental.There are many articles on how to build a good pitch deck on the internet, but a real investor experience gave us a much better insight into how it should be structured. We finetuned our pitch deck for months on the basis of feedback from investors and, like everyone else, we constantly adjust it. I think one real experience with negotiations equals a thousand articles. However, articles can help you prepare and set expectations.

What do investors want to hear from you?

Each investor has a different approach, but in principle the requirements are the same. Have a well-prepared business plan with arguments based on numbers. Each such plan should include three variants – pessimistic, neutral, and optimistic. And for each of them, you need to show that you know what to do with the product in a given situation, how to develop it, sell it and scale it.

How many investors have you talked to so far?

About thirty.

Why are some negotiations not successful?

Investors may not trust the product, business model, founders, segment, or market size. Or in the worst-case scenario, they may not trust any of the above, but then again you might not even meet such investors. It's a puzzle of a thousand pieces and if one piece does not fit, it can put a stop to any further action.

“I’m originally a filmmaker. Many years ago I wanted users to get more information and to enable them to interact with visual content. Now we introduce this product and I’m happy that my idea comes true.”

Přemysl Koudela