Damyanna Cooke knew that finding Venture Capital in Houston would be a challenge. Although it’s the fourth most populated city in the US, it falls behind in the tech and startup sectors. So, when the Houston ION Accelerator program opened its doors, she knew she had to be a part of it. But she needed to work on her pitch, and that’s how she found Slidebean.
Slidebean has the tools to help founders create or redesign their pitches so that they stand out from the competition. Boozed Beverages was no exception.
Her startup, Boozed Beverages, wants to revolutionize cocktails by using AI and drink-dispensing machines. The product will have more than 1000 drink options and aims to cut waiting times for cocktail drinkers. Boozed Beverages can also help from an inventory management perspective. Currently, owners and event planners can lose up to $50,000 a year due to a lack of control.
“We wrote everything from A-Z,” Cooke explained. “But I’m no expert at bringing all that to a digestible format. So, we asked ourselves who can help us from a pitch deck perspective?”
The pitch deck was an essential piece to get them into the ION Accelerator Program. Once inside, the startup had more funding opportunities and, most importantly, connections.
“Even though we had already written everything out, seeing it come to life helped us tell our story over and over again,” she elaborated. “Slidebean was tremendously helpful in getting us to that phase. Once we were done working with Fred and the incredible team, we were able to apply and get into the platform.”
Fred Denton is part of the Slidebean Agency Team . As a Business Analysis he has the expertise to discern the essential from the non-essential. They take the business proposition and company info and create the flow of the story in a pitch deck format that is concise and appealing to investors. Founders can sometimes have difficulty knowing what information is relevant to their entire startup process.
At the end of the twelve-week accelerator program, the startup competed in the demo day and pitch competition, and their slides earned them considerable feedback. Plus, the cherry on top: Boozed Beverages won the grand prize.
Cooke believes there’s a direct link between Booze Beverages' success and the pitch deck that Slidebean created for them.
“Our slides were easy to read with great colors compared to some of the other startups. Having that was a bridge for two things,” Cooke explained. “First, us getting into the program and [ION] taking a chance on Boozed Beverages, being such an early idea. Two, us winning the demo day, which led us to get free office space at the Houston Ion, so thanks to Slidebean!”
Boozed Beverages still doesn’t have a physical product. However, the global health crisis has allowed Cooke to work on the design to prepare for the following steps.
The startup has taken this time to respond to essential questions around design. The final model must include the customers’ perception. Plus, usability is vital as the product might differ from a wedding and event space instead of a bartending space.
As the world opens up, so does the opportunity to enter more advanced stages. The startup is at the early stages of product development, so the next natural step is to raise money. Cooke hopes it’ll be in the third quarter of 2021, with a beta launch by the second quarter of 2022. So, funding is vital for developing the first products.
For the moment, the startup’s most significant focus is building up brand marketing and hiring key staff like a Head Mixologist and a Bar Consultant. For the steps to come, Cooke plans to take full advantage of Slidebean’s tools, including the financial model.
A peculiar approach Damyanna Cooke takes with Boozed Beverages is using crowdfunding instead of the more traditional VC route. She considers this the ideal method for her currently.
“I’m a minority in the business and startup world. We know that this is a space that’s not the most favorable to Black-owned, female businesses right now”, she stated. “The numbers and the statistics just prove that to be.”
According to Forbes, in 2020, only 0.64% of all VC funding went to Black female founders. Also, Cooke considers that the consumer is essential in Boozed Beverages' development. So, at the current time, crowdfunding is the ideal choice for the startup. However, Cooke doesn’t rule out the VC route down the road, as there is interest in the startup.
“But we just have to be realistic about what would give us the most opportunity,” Cooke explained. Now, having the best resources is critical.
“Now that we’re gearing up for some funding and crowdfunding, we want to solidify our numbers for Q3 and Q4. Understanding the financials, our valuation, it’s a no-brainer to engage with Slidebean in that perspective. We’re excited to work with you guys again.”
These are some of the slides they used to pitch their idea. If you’re looking to improve your slides, we would love to help you as well.