Link-in-bio startup Hype just raised $10 million in funding. Here’s the exact 13-page pitch deck its cofounder used.

Hype cofounder Nick Chen
  • Hype has raised $10 million in a Series A round led by King River Capital.
  • Cofounder Nick Chen said VCs told him to make the first few pitch deck slides very objective.
  • Here’s the exact 13-page pitch deck he created to attract investors like Bloomberg Beta.

Creator startup Hype, formerly known as Pico, closed a $10 million Series A funding round led by King River Capital, the company announced on Wednesday.

The New York City-based company helps content creators and influencers make money and manage their customer data by supplying them with myriad tools such as landing pages, subscription paywalls, paid newsletters, and a built-in messaging app.

Since many startups have found fundraising these past few months to be particularly difficult given the economic slowdown, cofounder Nick Chen said cultivating his professional connections was critical for raising the money his startup needed.

“It’s all about relationship building,” he said. “I stayed in touch with Megan [Guy] from King River Capital for about a year, meeting up whenever she was in New York. After we raised our previous round, she reached out almost right away saying that she wanted to work together.”

Hype was first launched in 2017 as Pico, a marketing and payments platform for publishers and journalists who wanted to paywall their websites. It later pivoted to the creator economy by building a link-in-bio platform for influencers because the cofounders thought their version could offer more built-in tools than others. 

It announced its rebrand as Hype alongside its Series A, wanting a name that creators could get excited about using, Chen said.

Chen said more than half of $10 million Hype raised will be allocated to research and development, while the rest will go to marketing and operational costs. 

“We’re taking a more conservative approach to funds because the current macroeconomic climate is so uncertain and the name of the game right now is just to survive,” he said.

Here’s the exact 13-page pitch deck that Hype used to raise funds from investors that include Bullpen Capital, Precursor Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Tapestry VC, and Sterling Road:

The first slide introduces Hype with its definition

The slide reads:

Hype

noun

1. extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion.

2. an all-in-one platform for creators and small business entrepreneurs to build a mobile website, send mass text and email marketing, and earn revenue from services and digital goods  — all from their phone. 

The deck then highlights the intersection of small business and the creator economy

Chen tries to lay out the problem and solution his startup is focused on as objectively as possible, based on guidance from VCs

Hype

Chen said that the majority of the decisions he made regarding his pitch deck are based on the advice he’s gotten over the years from VCs he worked with or befriended. They told him he should explain what his startup is with as little emotion or opinion as possible.

“You have to remain objective for as long as possible, so that means you don’t identify your startup as a solution to the problem you’ve just laid out,” he said.

Instead, he recommends generally framing the solution. His pitch deck outlines the need for a platform that offers link-in-bio, messaging, and revenue tools in one place. 

Next, Hype’s presents its features

Chen said design has become increasingly important in pitch decks. He’s created more than 10 iterations of Hype’s deck, but, for this version, he hired an external designer to help. 

“It wasn’t as important 20 years ago, but in this day and age, VC’s will appreciate it,” he said. “They look at thousands of decks a day, so it doesn’t hurt to hire someone to help you go the extra mile if you can afford it.”

Chen includes creator testimonials

While many founders focus on statistics in pitch decks, Chen believes it’s just as important to showcase the human element.

He does this with testimonials from creators who have used Hype to build their brands, and who have given him permission to be included in the deck.

“If you linger on statistics and theory too much, eyes will glaze over,” he said. “The audience always wants someone to connect to.”

Chen also said that in the first slide, which outlines what Hype is, the URLs in the background are those of actual users.

One slide is devoted to statistics

The slide reads: 

Hype pages are the gateway to the Hype CRM 

4M contacts 

8% with Hype wallets 

It’s like Hubspot + Paypal…

  • Every contact has a Hype user account
  • Contacts stay logged in to the creator’s Hype Page
    • Rich content engagement analytics
  • 8% have a payment method that can be used to pay any Hype creator

Next, he displays more of Hype’s unique tools

Chen said his pitch decks used to be longer and contained far more text, but he’s learned to keep them as concise as possible. It helps him get to the Q&A portion of the pitch as quickly as possible.

“Every single slide has a specific intention,” he said. “I didn’t want to inundate the viewer with information, but instead provoke questions. Instead of a presentation, the deck’s aim is to ignite a discussion.”

He also showcases how users track revenue on the platform

This slide illustrates Hype’s user growth

Chen introduces each member of the team

He outlines the specific fundraising goal in this next slide

Hype

While Chen has seen other founders simply quote their fundraising targets, he outlines what the money will be used for in the pitch.

The slide says 55% will go to R&D, 27% to marketing, and 19% to other expenses.

The pitch deck closes with a reminder of what Hype is all about