Why did the venture capitalist cross the road? To find the founder who would launch the next generation of content marketing.
Lindsay Tjepkema’s invitation to the startup world came from Scott Dorsey, Managing Partner at High Alpha Venture Studio, which was located right across the street from where Lindsay was leading the content strategy team for a global enterprise.
Scott’s partners at Indianapolis-based High Alpha were curious about the potential for growth in B2B podcasting, and their conversation led to the creation of Casted, a platform that allows B2B customers to distribute audio and video content, turn those conversations into multi-channel content, and measure the impact on the business’s bottom line. Casted’s customers include Salesforce, PayPal, HubSpot, and ZoomInfo.
High Alpha Venture Studio gave Lindsay everything she needed to build Casted and launch the company into its seed round, at which point Lindsay began talking to every investor who would meet with her.
Although she ultimately found her seed round investors (High Alpha, Elevate Ventures, and Tappan Hill) right in her own backyard, the wide net Lindsay cast turned into a network of valuable relationships that have resulted in many introductions and follow-up conversations.
Casted’s $7 million Series A round, led by Revolution Ventures, brought the company’s fundraising total to just shy of $10 million.
On this episode of the How I Raised It podcast, CEO and first-time founder Lindsay talks about the benefits of the venture studio model and the importance of building a network she can lean on in future fundraising rounds.
How She Raised It
💰 Who: Lindsay Tjepkema
💰 Company: Casted
💰 Money quote: “I have found casting a wide net is always a good idea, and it's almost always worth the time.”
💰 Noteworthy: During the seed round, Lindsay talked to nearly 100 investors, having conversations with anyone and everyone and building a network of cheerleaders who have been eager to provide support and introductions as Casted grows.
[02:33] Meet Casted 👉 Casted’s B2B platform allows enterprise marketing teams to embrace the power of audio and video content for use across multiple channels and to measure its impact on the business’s bottom line.
[04:18] Mining for content gold 👉 Creative brands like Casted’s customers are tapping into their audiences’ cravings for human connection by creating engaging, conversational content, and then mining those conversations for actionable information that can be repurposed on other channels.
[08:20] Close the loop on customer experience 👉 No matter where you distribute your content, always work to bring people back to your own site. Not only will you get more data about your customer, but you will also have more control over the customer’s experience within the context of your brand.
[10:18] Top of the class 👉 Casted customers are getting creative with content, like B2B data company Zoom Info, which produces a data storytelling podcast, Talk Data to Me, and B2B marketing company Terminus, which has a podcast and video series and is experimenting with live events.
[11:53] What about Clubhouse? 👉 Lindsay sees platforms like Clubhouse as an example of brands embracing the importance of conversation and human connection.
[13:57] Money in the bank 👉 Casted has raised nearly $10 million in its seed and Series A rounds. The seed round was led by High Alpha and Elevate Ventures in Indianapolis, plus Michigan-based Tappan Hill and several angel investors.
[14:41] The venture studio model 👉 Casted grew out of High Alpha Venture Studio, which conceives new B2B Saas startups and supports them through the early days of building, launching, and creating momentum going into the seed round.
[18:07] Starting from seed 👉 Supported by the venture studio, Lindsay launched into the seed round by talking to between 50 and 100 investors and learning the value of casting a wide net.
[21:26] Identifying targets 👉 Going into Series A, Lindsay focused on a narrower list of investors she created using tools like Crunchbase, and she leaned on relationships formed during seed round conversations.
[25:22] What’s the big idea? 👉 Casted is seeking to create the next generation of content marketing, so it was crucial for Lindsay to sell her conviction in the vision and to back it up with the numbers to prove it.
[28:19] Advice for the early days 👉 The fun part is learning and finding your way through the discomfort — embrace it.
Top quotes from the episode:
“One of the beautiful things about the studio model is that you're surrounded from day one by really incredible people who have done this. They've run the finance side of the startup; they've helped with the recruitment side of the startup; they’re partners, like Scott [Dorsey, Managing Partner of High Alpha], who have literally built companies before that are leading you along the way.”
“If you can find a balance of having great conversations — building your network, having more people know who you are, what you're doing, how passionate you are about what you're doing, the successes you have — the better.”
“When you're between rounds, cultivating those relationships is really important. There were some people that were cheering us on, ... and then when it came time — even if they weren't a fit, even if it didn't work out, for whatever reason — they were cheering us on, and they were excited to make introductions for us.”
“I think anyone else who's a founder, who's creating a category, can relate. Some people say I don't get it, or I love your idea, but I don't think the market's going to be there. But then there are a few that are going to say, I get it, I see it, and maybe you're the ones to do it. And so I think at the end of the day, I was casting a vision, explaining why I am so convicted, that it's going to happen and that we are the ones to do it.”