The flow of a fundraising pitch deck is vital for striking a chord with investors and clearly displaying the narrative of the business. Be it pitching to the right people or making the correct pitch, the set of rules for raising funds are ever evolving.
Rashie Jain, Co-founder and CEO, Onco and Aamna Khan, Co-founder and CEO, Binks, lay out the tricks of the funding trade in a panel discussion with angel investor Radhika Ghai at the recently-held ‘No Ceiling Summit 2022’.
In its continued commitment to level the playing field, Kalaari Capital’s CXXO initiative and YourStory launched the first-ever edition of ‘No Ceiling Summit 2022’ in Bengaluru. Packed with engaging conversations and workshops, the summit celebrated the efforts and achievements of women changemakers in the country.
Enhancing cancer care for patients by providing end-to-end care management, Onco is a leading patient-centric cancer care management platform where patients get access to world-class cancer experts, treatment centres, and quality accredited diagnostic centres in India. “We have a chain of daycare centres where you can get chemotherapy outside the hospital coupled with a tech-enabled care management platform making the whole experience seamless and less frustrating,” said Rashie.
Having worked as an analyst at a VC fund prior to starting out on her own, Rashie gives due credit to having the right foot in the funding ecosystem. “We managed to get some meetings with the institutional VCs and we were very lucky that one of them had a thesis in oncology and that’s how the journey started for me,” she explained.
Aamna’s journey started in 2019 when she launched Binks, a personal fashion company for women specialising in customising and made-to-measure pieces. “Our first cheque was from Y Combinator in 2019 and back then it was just our application, we did not have a product, we did not have metrics, users or anything at all, it was just an idea,” she recalled.
Aamna has been famous for writing an investor’s memo which not only got her Y Combinator’s backing, but also became the talk of the town. “It happened by chance, it wasn’t written for investors in fact we wrote it for our team, we wrote it for people who would be joining us. I think it built up our conviction even better and a lot of people appreciated the fact that we’ve done all the legwork and we really knew what we were doing,” she shared.
Fighting gender bias
Talking about fighting gender discrimination at the workplace, Aamna said, “There are certain types of questions that I get asked which my co-founder, Raj, will probably not face. It’s certain small things and it’s very subtle, but I think times have also changed so in my more recent fundraise I did not experience any of those.”
Rashie on the other hand believes in keeping the gender lens at bay. Facing rejection, she has always gravitated towards thinking that the other party is not interested in her product rather than considering it as an act of gender bias. This has not only helped her in keeping her mental peace but also in accepting rejection and moving on. “Maybe there is some inherent bias and I’m just very wrong at reading it. I feel like this is a more constructive take-away, so that I can work on improving my pitch. I can’t really change my gender so this is how I approach it,” she said.
Funding moments and key learnings
Raising funds comes with its own set of unforgettable moments. The first cheque, the first pitch and so many other such experiences make the journey a memorable one. For Aamna, one of her top fundraising moments has been the excitement around her investor’s note. The note that created the entire buzz was actually not intended for the investors and yet it resulted in Binks being able to close the round within two weeks.
Rashie shared a similar experience where an angel investor wrote a cheque for half a million after hearing her pitch over a 10-minute phone call.
Having faced their fair share of failures as well, Aamna and Rashie have grown to take rejection in their stride. Rolling out advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Rashie said, “You have to go into this process knowing fully well that this is a marathon not a sprint, your success rate is going to be one percent. Just make sure that you can cater to your investors’ context better so do some research to improve your odds of success.”
With a lot of second generation self-made entrepreneurs emerging, India holds a great place in the startup ecosystem. And keeping this hope alive, Aamna signs off at a positive note saying, “A no is not a no forever, people change their minds and it’s our job to make that happen.”