This is the Alan pitch deck to raise their $28m series-a round.
Alan is a digital health insurance
platform that revolutionizes health insurance by focusing on user experience with an excellent price-quality ratio health plan.
Alan started by creating a health insurance company for individuals and companies, that they can trust as a service and enjoy as an experience. Alan is the insurance company that makes healthcare simpler, smarter, and better.
It is the first new independent insurance licensed in France since 1986 by the French Prudential Supervisory Authority (ACPR) and it has raised more than €125m with leading investors such as Index Ventures, CNP, Partech, and Portage since its creation in 2016.
Founder feedback on their raise
They wrote a great blog about their time raising, where I took this Our toolkit to raise $28 million in 10 days.
On April 10th, we announced a 23 million€ ($28 million) Series A funding led by Index Ventures. This funding represents the largest one in the French Insurtech space so far and one of the largest Series A in France.
It took us 10 days to close the whole process (term-sheet signature). To tell the truth, we were surprised of how quick it happened. We had planned to dedicate 3 full weeks to get to the term-sheet selection.
The goal of this post is to explain why we feel this is not a miracle and to share good practices we have learnt.
The long run do’s
Fundraising is not a goal on its own. It is a mean to get your company to the next stage. That is why your main focus should always be to build the greatest product and the best team in your field. We believe great culture brings great value (you can find out more about our culture here and here).
Nurture smart and close relationships with VC. Update every 4 to 6 months your preferred investors on your market and that are the most relevant at your stage (ticket size, geography, type of companies they invest in…). It is going to be a list of 10-ish VCs.
In doing so, you will skip background meetings when launching your roadshow.
Fundraising is a complex process. You’d better launch it before dying for cash. It sounds obvious but worth saying. You are far better positioned to raise when you are planning for expansion & growth, than when you are saving your company.
Be ready to rumble
The first step is to select your favourite potential investors. Choose the one that are more likely to invest in your company. Don’t waste time when they don’t invest often in your geography, business or at other ticket sizes (even if they say they do exceptions). 12 is a maximum in my opinion if you want to keep your energy at the right place.
Learn to say no, if you receive a lot of inbound. Set your own schedule. Choose quality not quantity. To be efficient, stay focus on the investors you have chosen. A note to that: some investors are low profile but have very high impact. Even if you don’t know their name at first glance, they are worth investigating.
Be ready. Take one week to build your deck, your data room and a Q&A with the answers to the most obvious questions. You will make the overall process more scalable for you, not answering 20 times the same question. It will also make your VC life easier having access to all the data to run their first due diligence.
Questions of the Q&A:
- How does health insurance work in France?
- What is total market for health insurance?
- Market split
- What is the total addressable market today (freelancers and SMBs)?
- How does “Prévoyance” work in France?
Balance sheet and regulation
- How much equity or equivalents do we need to reach €500m of premiums in France?
- Use of funds in a €20m+ round?
- What are the regulatory constraints towards fundraising?
- Breakdown analysis of clients by type
- Analysis of acquisition channels
- What are the next steps on growth? How will be set up a Sales organisation?
- What are some of the key features and differentiators of our tech stack?
- What is the history of our loss ratio?
- What are our main risks?
- What is our reinsurance strategy?
Product, value proposition and roadmap
- What is our unique value proposition and why it is differentiated?
- Should incumbents improve their UX / UI (eg. rely on start-ups for better claim automation process)? How would Alan’s moat and positioning be affected?
- Product roadmap on the next 3 and 12 months
- How our data mastery will help us win middle-term?
- What are the key milestones we would like to reach in France before expanding geographically?
- What criteria for new countries?
- Regulatory constraints to open new countries
- Competition internationally
- Finance: business plan, cap table, cash position
- HR: company values, option plan, salary & equity grid, culture, HR & hiring at Alan
- Orga: last board meetings, sample weekly updates, roadmaps
- Regulatory: license
On-board every stakeholder
Before you start your process, train your key execs and help them to be the best. Raising money and interacting with investors is not a simple or a straightforward job if you have never done it. Take 30 to 40 minutes to explain the process, that they are going to be interviewed,how and when.
Select a lawyer that you trust and that has done several similar rounds. It is better to pay marginally more to get the best ones if your deal is really important. Spend time to run a due diligence on your lawyer. In order to do so, ask what companies they have advised and discuss with the founders. Once selected, have them prepared: share data, legal documentation, — your vision and objectives of the fundraising.
Finally, have your board & current investors ready. Decide together the right time to launch the process, and the minimum conditions to close a deal. Then, keep them posted during the preparation. At last, greenlight the decision on the termsheet with the board. Transparency and trust are key if you want to move quickly.
Master your process
Keep the process under control. Set your own timeline, define your milestones and share it. You will have the lead and impose your own tempo.
For us, key milestones were:
- Have the list of VCs to be contacted
- Prepare the email to contact them
- Begin the discussions, with some documentation (deck). Tell the VC there is a Q&A and Dataroom available and share the timeline you have set
- Plan an empty full-week empty just to meet your potential VCs
- Be ready to have partners meeting the next Monday (partners meetings tend to be on Mondays)
And here is how our final timeline looked like:
- Thursday: send emails
- Monday to Friday: meetings with VCs, have an empty schedule
- Next Monday: partners meeting
- Tuesday: TS
- Discuss the TS with the board and negotiate
- Ref calls about the VC
- Friday: signature of the TS
Always be transparent, share information to everyone at the same time. Transparency brings serenity and trust and creates good condition for smart and quick decisions.
Make yourself available. Clear your agenda but protect your team, not too affect to much the business. As CEO, raising fund will be your full-time job.
Be fair and never lie. It is a golden rule. Don’t tell the name of other VCs or try to manipulate information.
Be transparent. If you receive a term-sheet at a certain valuation or with certain terms or if you have minimum objectives, share it in an open manner just not to waste the time of your potential investors. You might have them on the next round and you want to preserve good relationships.
Their investor perspective on funding them
If you want to have a good read about their funding and background, one of their investors (Romain Lavault, General Partner at Partech) wrote a blog worth reading. Read it here. I’ll share some of the interesting bits.
At Partech, we make the majority of our Seed investments at a pre-launch phase. That means you don’t have a lot of proof points or data to look at. It’s mostly a bet on the Founder-Market fit and the size/timing of the opportunity. But this was as extreme as it can get: the pre-seed round was closing in a few days and JC didn’t want any VC on his cap table.
The list of reasons why not to do the deal was impossibly long and hard to argue against:
- No product and no traction
- No pitch deck
- None of the Founders have experience in Healthcare or Insurance
- It will take very long and will require a lot of funding to get a full insurer license (to comply with regulatory capital requirements)
- And even with time and money, can they succeed in a heavily regulated market (France) against billion-dollar giants that have owned the market for decades and where customers are locked for 12-month periods with automatic renewal??
To make our decision, we just had a 10-page document where JC and Charles laid out their vision. Here are the first 2 pages:
This is rather self-explanatory and visionary (this was February 2016 but every. single. word. still stands today).
They go on to explain why they invested, so check out the blog. You don’t find a lot of details normally. And of course, it’s a VC humble brag ;).
|Announced Date||Transaction Name||Number of Investors||Money Raised||Lead Investors|
|Apr 19, 2021||Series D – Alan||7||€185M||Coatue|
|Apr 20, 2020||Series C – Alan||2||€50M||Temasek Holdings|
|Feb 18, 2019||Series B – Alan||2||€40M||Index Ventures|
|Apr 10, 2018||Series A – Alan||5||€23M||Index Ventures|
|Oct 25, 2016||Seed Round – Alan||4||€12M||—|
|Mar 1, 2016||Pre Seed Round – Alan||2||—||—|
Pitch deck review summaryAlan Series-A pitch deck
It’s an ok deck for the stage the company is. I find it a little hard to understand what they are doing. It looks like it’s yet another benefits company, but they are trying to make out it’s a payments company. That doesn’t compute.
The deck looks nice, it’s easy to read. I would probably take a meeting with them to see if it is actually interesting, which is all you need to hope for.
You can probably rip off some inspiration on how they constructed slides.
This deck is very strong in a number of ways, but it is also a little hard to follow and requires the reader to invest some time.
It is very apparent that the team really know their business and are smart. They probably were consultants. They generally structure their thoughts in a fantastic manner and insert cogent points. There is certainly a lot to learn.
My bet is that this is only a part of the deck.
Structured summary review
The amount of words per slide is solid. I don’t really have complaints.
The amount of words per slide is decent. There is generally enough to get their point across. Sometimes there are not enough words and a few more would enable the reader to get more insight.
They don’t write any paragraphs, and generally, everywhere they use bullet points.
There are no page numbers…
There are 11 slides. This is on the super short end. When you write a deck this short, you are basically saying ‘shut up and give us money to see if this business will work, or not. That might work in the Bay Area, but good luck in other countries.
Note as usual, this is an abstract of the full deck so not all the slides are in it.
There are no page numbers
The deck is 15 slides.
There are a lot of pointless interstitial slides. My guess this is because the real deck is longer. Ergo, I can’t really give you any insight on this point.
They just declare what the slide is. They don’t have descriptive headers.
They do a much better job than most startups with their headers. The headers are the first things an investor will read (and maybe the only thing) so they are key. Headers are also key in communicating a narrative.
I have three levels of quality headers:
- Slide title: Founders copy the Sequoia outlinewithout understanding they are not just meant to write ‘problem’
- Highlighted title: The slide header lightly calls attention to the core point but doesn’t explain why. ‘Productivity is the holy grail’
- Explained problem: The slide is fully explained so you understand the content without reading. ‘Staff that want to work are 17x more productive than staff who feel they simply have to work’
The Predictive Index are in camp 2. They make an effort, but don’t make enough effort to make reading the deck effortlessly.
Headers are so important for comprehension. I’m writing a book on pitch decks- I should just call it ‘do headers better’.
It’s an attractive deck. The emoticons scream millennial.
It looks solid. It’s not all that consistent, though. Your deck only needs to be so attractive so don’t obsess too much.
There isn’t really a narrative and the slides aren’t in the ideal order, but it’s ok.
The deck is a bit of a funny one. The deck does flow and has a narrative of sorts, but it is not as simple as it could be.
Things are aligned well. There is negative space. It’s fine.
Things are generally aligned well. Occasionally it needs to be improved. They should really have headers whenever they use charts to explain them better. Slide 4 is a good example- I can only guess what the graph on the right means.
They don’t get into too many details about anything. They’re just telling a bit of a story and asking for money. They think they see a problem and want money to test it. It’s not something I would give money to, but you will easily find people who will.
They don’t cover all the slides that they need to, but I’m pretty sure this is only part of the deck, so my stating what is missing isn’t terribly apt.
Slide by slide review
Remove the date. All this does is remind investors how long you have been raising. They don’t like it to be a long time.
The deck is in English, the tagline is in French. Don’t do that. Be a frog or don’t.
You’re raising money. You’re emailing investors. They know it is an investor deck. Remove. Don’t add that.
The cover is ideal if the stuff at the bottom is gone.
I know you’re f’n Alan. You said it on the cover Sherlock.
Start your deck with what you specifically do. Remove all surprises.
All I know is they want to do insurance differently.
The text at the bottom is too small and it matters.
Why does this slide need to exist?
Why couldn’t it have been combined with above?
The first insurer thing since 1986 is interesting but so what. It’s not interesting.
This is a really weird slide to insert at this point. It could be a last slide, but eh, it’s just not really needed.
Frankly, these are milestones. You add them on the ask slide. You say how much you want and then you show what you will deliver.
Absolutely don’t have this slide here at the start.
A phone and a computer.
How the F does this slide any value whatsoever? It adds nothing. This is like a placeholder waiting for someone, anyone to do some actual work.
What the feck is going on. There is no into to the industry and the problems. Congrats, you can sign up quickly.
This is hugely boring and a misplaced slide.
If you do a product slide you explain the product (with actual images of your product) in 4 steps. The point is to teach something interesting to investors.
Oh great… They have never explained why timing matters- why is it a problem at all? They didn’t do that.
Do not use “stock images” to make your deck look pretty. They add zero f’n value other than to lull you into a sense that your deck is better than it is.
Always think “what is the f’n point I want to make and does my slide prove that point?”
Read the title, what does that mean? It sounds like some marketing bla bla. It doesn’t say anything. What do you actually do?
The next step of communication is admin tools, but I don’t know what their admin tools are (before here is where you explain the product).
100% online and not paperwork have never been explained as problems.
I don’t understand the point of the 4 points at the bottom.
The body font size is too small.
The structure of this slide is terrible. I have no idea where my eye is meant to flow. There are no headers to continually make the point.
Why are there links?
What value does the image really add?
What is the Alan card? They have not explained.
There is a general assumption that investors already know everything about the startup and these are “remember we mentioned we do that, well here is a reminder”.
Don’t put in emojis. They are infantile. You’ll never get a date with a women over 30 too.
I’m guessing this is a product slide? The headers in the body are terrible.
What the feck are health events?
This is a great example of a slide looking good but not adding any value. It’s the kind of slide you might feel to gloss over whilst reviewing it.
The points are bizarre. What’s a journal?
Why is the text in French? Pick your target audience and serve them exclusively. If you only target froggys en Paris, then write in French? Obviously.
This is the lamest form of traction illustration.
The structure of the slide is perfect though. I love me two boxes.
Never put in interstitial slides. The add zero value.
If something doesn’t sell, delete it.
Don’t use superlatives like “huge”. Investors can decide if a market is buck ass small or indeed “huge”.
I want to understand how you came up with 36b. There is zero f’n math at all. That’s why that terrible TAM/SAM/SOM thing at least shows you did ‘some’ attempt at math.
I don’t immediately understand what the other two points sell?
This makes an assumption again the investors know the French market… in which case why is this deck not in French?
I categorise this as an ‘expansion slide’ and this is not how I would deal with it.
Does this make you get all warm in your nether regions? Exactly. It’s a lazy slide.
Is there a timeline, what are the market sizes for each country, what is the order?
Clearly, this is a redacted slide. Fine.
No interstitial slides, ever.
Look ar this slide and tell me what the point is in 2 seconds. You can’t.
There is no header and so the slide is pointless for investors who aren’t interested yet.
I can add some comments about the insurance industry, but pretty much no one would understand them.
Ok, good, Look at the bottom. There are some comments about the data. I like this. I don’t put them at the bottom, they do in the subheader. I also wouldn’t go into too much detail. It’s not needed in your first deck.
The text at the bottom is too prominent. Do you really need to say this? If so it is size 8 font as a footer, not a part of the visible slide.
Explain to me their strategy. This is sort of market size related. It’s the client target.
This says absolutely f all but in startup jargon alphabet language.
Translation is we don’t have a fecking clue, but we knew we had to have a slide on GTM so let’s tick the boxes of words like repeatable and CAC.
There you go. They spent at least $50 on train ads. They must have ideas about their numbers. They just chose not to share them. You decide why.
There is way too much unfocused stuff happening on the RHS of the slide. They’ve attempted to get specific and suddenly realised they have something to talk about, gone overboard, and they should have redone the slides.
What’s the point?
No et non.
Don’t do these slides. This is some random thought someone had.
It should be in a traction section. That was a few slides ago. The deck is unfocused. There is no narrative. There are just a series of random thoughts.
FFS. “Only A-players delivering huge impact”. They’re playing VC bingo still and it makes me want to barf.
They have read Front’s pitch deck. Congrats, you’re both French. Sorry, that’s the exact title Front wrote in their S-A deck.
Normally you show your traction to illustrate you are capable.
Some of their slides are feck boy “Want girls for the boat, I’m 9 inch hard”. Well, maybe I’m been harsh here. It just feels a little sleazy.
Save the photos for your recruiting page.
Do not write paragraphs. Why can’t Charles just write “3 master degrees”? Would save a lot of space!
The content is great but write in bullet points.
You do not need 3 slides.
Repeat, you do not need 3 slides.
Wait it’s 4 now apparently.
I actually really like the reference link to the blog here because it specifically links to their marketing. Content matters.
This slide is too much detail for a deck. I like they are digging deep to add smart thoughts, but it’s not really selling. But, bear in mind I’m reading, thinking and commenting stream of consciousness.
Investors do like social proof. You do not need this slide, but it’s probably smart. I can be too logical and this is an example of a slide that probably worked, but I wouldn’t have made. I am not perfect.
Stop with these pointless slides.
Roadmaps are pointless unless you are like angel stage or heavily product focused.
I almost never have a roadmap slide.
This is an afterthought of a slide. You can tell because it is a sore thumb and very little effort was put into it.
No comment because I can’t.
But wtf, why is it needed?
Ok, appreciate the end of deck sales attempt. this just isn’t that great.
What do you think about the deck? What annoyed you the most?
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