See the 12-page pitch deck that Squads, which helps creators mint crypto coins, used to raise $1.8 million
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- Squads is a new startup that wants to pay creators and reward their fans.
- Using blockchain technology, Squads lets creators mint coins on a mobile app and earn money.
- Read the “fun” pitch deck Squads used to raise $1.8 million in a pre-seed funding round.
Last summer, Kendall Hope Tucker, the founder and former CEO of enterprise tech startup Knoq, “very randomly” went viral on TikTok. She was posting sea shanties, a trend at the time, and amassed over 85,000 followers.
Like many others who go viral on TikTok, Tucker hopped on a plane to Los Angeles.
At the time, she was about six months out from selling Knoq, and along with her former employee, Mike Garon, was looking for a new project, this time, in the red-hot cryptocurrency and Web3 space.
In Los Angeles, fresh off her TikTok fame, she started meeting with creators.
“We found that these creators didn’t know anything about crypto,” she said.
That’s when Tucker and Garon decided on what they would build: a patronage-model platform that would allow creators to make money while also rewarding their biggest fans.
That idea became Squads, a marketplace app that pays creators using blockchain technology. Creators mint and sell “creator coins,” with creators taking 90% of coin sales, while Squads takes 10%.
For fans, coins unlock community membership benefits and unique interactions with creators. When fans trade coins, creators earn 5% of those secondary sales, and Squads takes 2.5%, Tucker said.
Squads’ blockchain technology is still in beta but will use Polygon as its primary infrastructure. Currently, coin transactions on the app are powered by “squad-cash” that can be purchased through Apple Pay, according to Squads.
In November, Tucker and Garon began fundraising, Tucker said, and they closed a $1.8 million pre-seed round in December, which included investments from 186 Ventures (where Tucker is a founder partner), a16z, and AVG.
In April, the platform officially launched to the public as a mobile app.
On top of hiring “a few” staffers, the founders also tapped creators to help build and grow Squads.
These “founding creators” include Hype House’s Jack Wright (10.7 million TikTok followers), Dayna Marie (6.8 million TikTok followers), and Kida The Great (4.4 million Instagram followers). Founding creators act as advisors to Squads and are also given equity in the company.
“I think it’s super important that creator platforms are creator-owned,” Tucker said. “We’re trying to figure out exactly what the right structure for that is like at scale.”
When pitching investors, Tucker and Garon reached out to some who had invested in Knoq, as well as new ones. The two used a 12-page pitch deck in the process.
“We started this company seeking out whimsy and trying to be fun and let the fun help guide our decisions,” Garon said. “I think a lot of the playfulness comes out in this deck and even in the product.”
Read through Squads’ pitch deck that helped them raise their $1.8 pre-seed round:
Note: The following pitch deck includes a few minor edits by Squads so that it could be shared publicly.
Squads’ pitch deck starts out with a minimal title page.
Below the Squads logo, the slide reads “Connect with your favorite creators.”
On the title page, Squads also adds a tongue-in-cheek confidentiality clause, which reads: “Confidential: please don’t share unless you really, really want to in which case we can’t stop you.”
The startup presents its mission statement and goals.
“We are building a web3 future where creators get paid for building genuine fan communities and fans get rewarded for supporting creators early,” the slide reads.
Fans can purchase “creator coins” in exchange for “exclusive content.”
And then a meme.
Then Squads goes into more detail about how the platform will work.
Squads takes transaction fees when fans “buy and trade” a creator’s coin.
Here’s how Squads explains its marketplace: “Newly minted coins are priced based on demand where each subsequent coin is more expensive than the coin sold before it until it reaches the optimal market price.”
The starting point is $5, Tucker told Insider.
The deck then shows examples of exclusive content or access fans can unlock.
From gated group chats to video call sessions, creators will reward fans who buy coins with unique experiences.
The startup explains how blockchain technology will enable the platform.
Squads wants to simplify crypto and blockchain technology for creators.
“On and off ramps will be built into the platform and creators never need to think about blockchain unless they’re interested in joining our developer community,” the slide reads.
To demonstrate where Squads fits in the market market, the deck includes a robust “map” of the creator economy.
The “Mapping the Creator Economy” infographic was made by Hugo Amsellem, who runs a newsletter and website about the creator economy.
They also include a Venn diagram to visualize the startup’s positioning.
The Venn diagram places Squads in between growth on TikTok and crypto platforms like Coinbase.
The cofounders have “worked together for years.”
Tucker is Squads’ CEO and cofounder. She previously was the founder and CEO of Knoq, and also has over 85,000 TikTok followers.
Garon acts as CTO and cofounder. Previously, he was VP of engineering at Tucker’s startup Knoq.