How this founder woke up to VCs begging to write checks for his barely launched startup, in the middle of a pandemic

Minerva Co-Founders

Summary List Placement

Nearly six months into the global pandemic, Minerva CEO Joaquin Roca found himself in an enviable position. The former consultant had put his startup idea on Product Hunt, and the next day woke up to see it at the top of the site, with more than a dozen meeting requests from Silicon Valley VCs hungry to back his company.

If it weren’t for the pandemic, Roca would have preferred an actual product event, but due to global stay-at-home orders, the founding team told Product Hunt users that they would hang out all day on an open Zoom link to answer questions. The plan amounted to a 10-hour live stream to demo their product. 

But it was worth it.

“We were completely overwhelmed with the volume of inbound requests,” Roca told Business Insider. He didn’t even have time to put together a proper pitch deck. Yet, he still received his first term sheet offer within 10 days from the VC would become his lead investor. That investor was Bryan Rosenblatt, principal at Craft Ventures, and Roca picked him as his first investing partner because he knew him previously.

By the time it was said and done, Minerva raised $4 million from investors in an oversubscribed seed round, meaning more investors wanted in than he had planned, bringing its funding total to $5.1 million, including its previous pre-seed round. The funding round was led by Craft Ventures (a fund founded by super angels David Sacks and Bill Lee) with participation from GGV Capital, along with previous pre-seed investors Charge Ventures, Max Ventures, Sagehill Capital, New York Venture Partners and CapitalX.

“It was really uncomfortable to say to top tier firms and investors, ‘hey I can’t take your money because there just wasn’t enough room in this round,'” said Roca.

Minerva offers a Chrome extension that creates step-by-step instruction cards that it calls “recipes” to guide users on how to complete a task. It replaces the old tried-and-true method of taking screen shots and then marking them up with arrows or notes. There’s a recipe, for instance, on how to reset a gmail password and another on how to block someone on Twitter.

A consumer can create, share or use unlimited recipes for free, while paid subscribers would have access to team collaboration tools and performance metrics starting at $100 per month for up to 10 team members. This would allow teams to use Minerva to do things like create employee training or teach customers how to use product features.

The company said its customers include the management training startup LifeLabs Learning, the supply chain management company Flieber, and real estate platform Orchard, but would not disclose its total number of customers.

GGV Capital investor Robin Li told Business Insider that Minerva has the potential to be just as explosive as other user generated content websites like Reddit or Wikipedia. “When I saw it was already No. 1 on Product Hunt, it was a really impressive proof point. So GGV moved really quickly to put together our investment memo,” said Li. 

Join the conversation about this story »

Originally published on Business Insider : Original article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.