Tag Archives: StarMetrics

Heidi Hubbeling Featured on Women Founders Network “An Insider’s Guide to Perfecting Your Investor Pitch”

While it seems that your fundraising journey may have been turned upside down because of COVID-19’s effects on the economy, rest assured there are still funders who are weathering the storm and actively looking for new deals. Although markets may change with the current economic circumstances, the process of fundraising and the criteria for creating a perfect pitch remains the same. Investors will be looking even more diligently into your specific market, competition, team domain expertise and the metrics of your company. At the Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP Preccelerator®, a Los Angeles based accelerator program for early-stage companies, we have a strong emphasis on fundraising technique and strategy. Audrey Delaney of StarMetrics, one of our recent cohort company founders, provides a window into what has made her fundraising journey successful. I’ll follow up with insights on how to apply her advice to your own investor pitch.

Heidi: How important is the role of “storytelling” in your pitch?


  • Audrey: “Storytelling is the most important part of the pitch. Interestingly, I’ve found that it’s even more important to investors who aren’t too familiar with your product or industry – for them, it’s even more important that the story be clear and pretty simple. What is a problem or change that’s happening in the industry/sector now, what is your “a-ha” insight that gives you a window into the future of that problem? For me, the more I could get my pitch down to a few short sentences, the bigger the potential people can see in it.”

Investors hear or see hundreds, if not thousands of pitches per year, and a strong founder story about the pathos of your idea can set you apart from the noise, showcasing the “Why You,” the “Why Now” and “Why This” of your company without loads of data – but with a memorable narrative. The data is very important but comes later in a pitch. Ultimately, they are investing in “you.”

Heidi: When you started attending investor meetings to pitch your company, what was the one consistent piece of information you were asked most about?


  • Audrey: “For my product specifically, the most consistent question came around TAM (Total Addressable Market). Many VCs and investors feel that entertainment is a difficult market, and too small of a TAM. I have had to make a clear story/ path for how my product can reach $100mil, and how the TAM is large enough to support that.”

While a large market by itself will not sell your product, if you are looking to be a venture-funded company, you will need to be addressing a market of hundreds of millions or $1B minimum. If your market is smaller, that’s totally okay – you can be a very lucrative small business, rather than a venture fundable business. I hear a lot that “we are taking a small sliver of a huge pie” or “we are going to get 2% of an enormous market,” but that’s not helpful to investors when fundraising — especially if not all of that market is relevant to your product or service.

It’s best to take a bottom-up approach in calculating your market. Show investors by your analysis that you have a great understanding of the market dynamics, the customer’s buying behavior, and what’s going to motivate a purchaser to adopt your product. Estimate potential sales in order to determine a total sales figure. Where will your products be sold? What are the sales of comparable products? How much of those current sales can your company steal from competitors?

Other information to have perfected in your pitch includes:


  1. Competitive Analysis – Never say “I have no competitors.” If there are no competitors – there is no market for your business. Define your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses compared to your company’s and where there are opportunities for your idea to flourish.

  2. Revenue Model – How will you make money? Investors need to see a clear path to a return on their investment. Find recurring revenue. Don’t rely solely on data-driven revenue or ads. Make sure whatever the path to revenue – you showcase it clearly in your pitch.

  3. Use of Proceeds and Needs – Make sure that you ask for enough funding to give you 18 months of runway (12 for performance, 6 for cushion while you fundraise again). Have your cost analysis completed to show to investors if they ask. Investors want to know what their funds will be used for (i.e. marketing, tech development, team growth), but also why you need THEM specifically. How can they be a resource to you on an advisory level or what partnerships and introductions can they make for you?

Heidi: How did your presentation style change from your very first pitch until today? Did you have to overcome any performance fears or challenges?


  • Audrey: “For me, I don’t have any real fears about speaking in public. But I have to work on making sure I come across as excited and enthusiastic, way more so than is my natural default mode – I’m pretty low key and analytical by nature. So for me, I have to put myself back into the mindset of when I first thought of the idea, and how exciting and game-changing that is – and then convey that.”

The bottom line is that you need to be confident and convey passion about your idea. If you are not comfortable as a public speaker – practice in front of people until you are. One of the benefits of joining an accelerator like the Preccelerator, programs like Women Founders Network’s Fast Pitch, or participating in one-off pitch events – is that you gain all of the necessary training to become comfortable and confident with your pitch. Many VCs would be happy to also give you valuable feedback on both your pitch deck and pitch presentation that you can utilize when you go to fundraise. If you have warm intros to willing investors in your network – don’t be afraid to ask!”

Heidi: Finally, what is one piece of advice that you would give a founder just starting out on their fundraising journey?


  • Audrey: “I knew that I was an expert in my product and industry, but not in the landscape of fundraising, VCs and so on. I think the best thing I did is to always be seeking and listening to those people with the experience you don’t have. For me, I needed to get expert insight on fundraising and how to grow – and so that was listening to mentors like SAM Preccelerator, angel investors, VCs, and other founders who had been through the process. There’s so much to figure out as a first-time founder, but there are a lot of people out there who know the path. And especially – if a few people are giving you the same piece of advice, it’s probably worth taking!”

Never stop learning. Surround yourself with individuals who have the experience and expertise that can take you and your company to the next level. Be coachable and heed guidance – but don’t bend like a reed in the wind with every different piece of advice. Be confident in your domain expertise and ability to build your idea!

To read the full article “An Insider’s Guide to Perfecting Your Investor Pitch” on WFN visit here. 
Heidi Hubbeling Leach
About the Author

HEIDI HUBBELING LEACH is the Chief Marketing Officer at Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP. Throughout her 12-year career with SA&M, Heidi has been a consummate team player with the firm’s continued growth. Heidi’s experience in professional services marketing, relationship building, business development strategy and entrepreneurship has aided her in leading the Preccelerator Program, an accelerator program for early-stage startup companies housed out of the Santa Monica offices of Stubbs Alderton & Markiles.

While this program began as a marketing initiative for the firm, it has grown into a venture-backed accelerator over the past 7 years and has demonstrated the dedication that the firm has for startups in the LA ecosystem. As COO of the Preccelerator, Heidi sourced and provided due diligence for hundreds of applicants, developed the Program curriculum, a formal mentorship program with over 100 active mentors, and built a Partner Program with various strategic corporate partners. Utilizing her network and fundraising expertise, Heidi continues to provide investment strategy and introductions to capital for both Preccelerator cohort companies and SA&M clients.

You’re Invited to Preccelerator Class 10 Demo Day!

Clear your calendar – It’s going down! The Preccelerator ® Program Class 10 Demo Day kicks off on January 23rd @ 6:00 pm, and you’re invited to take part in the festivities.

What a wild ride it has been! Preccelerator cohort companies are early stage, and we work hand in hand with them throughout their 6-month term to know their market and users, foster their leadership skills, build and test their product, avoid legal pitfalls, ensure the defensibility of their products, acquire users and partnerships and prepare them for the fundraising process. Now it’s time to showcase their efforts! Hear from an expert panel of judges about specific feedback for the companies and what it takes to be investor ready in the early-stage startup fundraising process.




Checkplis believes people should feel like they are visiting friends when they go out for a meal or drinks with their friends. It’s all about the experience. They are solving the last mile problem of the hospitality industry service. Whether a solo lunch, a brunch with girlfriends or a table with friends at a club, paying the check can ruin what otherwise would be a great experience after an amazing meal or drinks with friends.

Checkplis is a mobile app integrated into POS systems so customers can pay, tip and split the check themselves, all from their phones. They are strategic partners and experience creators for restaurant, bar and nightclub industry leaders.

Checkplis was founded by Abner Flores and is currently headquartered in Santa Monica, CA.

Visit www.checkplis.com

UNOMI is a SaaS for animators and video game developers. UNOMI leverages advanced, patent voice recognition and motion capture technology that automates a lot of the most time-consuming aspects of animation production. Our voice recognition software understands human speech in multiple languages. This allows animators to easily create the speech of multiple 2D and 3D animated characters and for some, UNOMI gives them the ability to create content on a daily basis. UNOMI’s motion capture software will give content creators the ability to easily track human movement within their home or studio, which will eliminate the need to rent expensive motion capture studio space and equipment. Large-scale animation studios will be able to drastically reduce costs allowing them to create more content in a significantly shorter amount of time. UNOMI will also be releasing an Augmented Reality and VR, 3D object plugin for Adobe software which will allow users to easily implement and animate 3D objects quickly and easily. Each UNOMI software will be intuitive, which will eliminate a learning curve for most users.

UNOMI was founded by Obi Onyejekwe and is currently headquartered in Santa Monica, CA.

Visit www.getunomi.com

StarMetrics is an entertainment analytics platform and suite of tools designed to make the casting, financing and forecasting process easier for content creators. With StarMetrics, users can easily discover new talent and understand the value of actors, directors and other entertainers across many data points, such as international appeal, social media reach, or box office impact. StarMetrics provides predictive intelligence and analytics that empowers creators, advertisers, investors and other stakeholders to succeed in an increasingly global and complex content marketplace.

StarMetrics was founded by Audrey Delaney and is currently headquartered in Santa Monica, CA.

Visit www.starmetrics.com

Screen Door Labs created ARescue, a team communication software built for first responders. The virtual command center shows commanders 2D and 3D maps, as well as geotags and video feeds from drone operators and other first responders. Boots on the ground can see virtual markers that lead them to their objectives. Running on tablets, smartphones, and several off-the-shelf AR headsets, ARescue allows first responders to work safer, respond faster, and communicate better as a team.

Screen Door Labs was founded by Kari Wu and Seth Persigehl and is currently headquartered in Santa Monica, CA.

Visit www.screendoorlabs.com

HaloLoop is the bridge between people seeking spiritual inspiration and spiritual institutions seeking people. They are a live-streaming spiritual marketplace that connects people to live spiritual experiences and spiritual institutions to people. They are solving a major crisis where the Religious Industry is experiencing a dramatic decline in attendance amid an explosive demand for spirituality in society. At HaloLoop they’re solving this crisis by changing the rules on how people and institutions engage each other. HaloLoop is an inspiring inclusive movement and community that is championing a new reality where everyones’ spiritual needs or aspirations to help others, can be met. Their vision is to create a loop where everyone can find their spiritual community.

HaloLoop was founded by Michael Hawthorne and is currently headquartered in Santa Monica, CA.

Visit www.haloloop.com


1316 3rd Street Promenade, Suite 107
Santa Monica, CA 90401


Peter Csathy – Preccelerator BOD member. General Partner, SAM CREATV Ventures. Chairman, CREATV Media. Advisor, Strategist, Connector, Dealmaker, Investor, Producer, Writer, and Thought Leader — Entertainment, Digital Media, Media, Tech and Social Impact. Former CEO Manatt Digital Media, CEO Sorenson Media, CEO Sightspeed (acquired by Logitech), President Musicmatch (acquired by Yahoo!), SVP Universal Studios, New Line Cinema.

Scott Alderton – Scott Alderton is a founding partner of Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, Managing Partner, and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. Scott is the Chairman of the Preccelerator and General Partner of SAM CREATV Ventures. Scott is co-chair of the Firm’s Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice Group and chair’s the Firm’s Interactive Entertainment and Video Games Group. Scott advises both public and private clients across a number of industries, including technology, manufacturing and distribution of goods in commerce, finance, the Internet, interactive video games, and new media industry.

Santosh Devati – Angel Investor. Santhosh is a dreamer, problem-solver, serial entrepreneur and a proven leader in the technology industry for past 20+ years. In his professional journey thus far, he has advised and created Business/Data Analytics/Technology Solutions for national brands such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, Allergan and many more. In recent years, he has mentored 200+ business owners, startup, entrepreneurs and professionals to succeed in their pursuit. Santhosh is a proud circle member of Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, SoCal Society of Information Management (SCSIM) and a Certified Business Mentor at SCORE Los Angeles.

Brett Munster – As Principal at Sway Ventures, Brett Munster focuses most of his investment activities on the seed and earlier stages for the fund. In addition to evaluating new investments, Brett’s responsibilities include coordinating the due diligence process across all investment opportunities for the fund, monitoring performance of the fund, modeling portfolio allocation, and working directly with many of Sway’s existing portfolio companies. Brett draws on his experience as a two-time entrepreneur and former operations executive to assist early stage companies in their growth. Prior to joining Sway Ventures, Brett ran day-to-day operations for AMO, a loss mitigation company, where he oversaw a portfolio of distressed assets that grew to over $2 billion. Brett began his career at zAthlete.com, a sports social networking startup that he launched during his final semester at UC Berkeley and sold in 2009. Soon after, Brett launched his second start-up Visual Icon, a platform designed to help bring Hollywood content online. Brett graduated from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and was an infielder and captain of the baseball team. He also holds an MBA from the University of Southern California where his focus was on entrepreneurship and technology commercialization.



StarMetrics makes the power of big data available to content creators for film, TV and new media

StarMetrics is an entertainment analytics platform and suite of tools designed to make the casting, financing and forecasting process easier for content creators. With StarMetrics, users  can easily discover new talent and understand the value of actors, directors and other entertainers across many data points, such as international appeal, social media reach, or box office impact. StarMetrics provides predictive intelligence and analytics that empowers creators, advertisers, investors and other stakeholders to succeed in an increasingly global and complex content marketplace.

Visit www.starmetrics.com


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Online applications for the Preccelerator® Program are now open! To qualify for acceptance, please fill out our online application. Once submitted, someone from our review committee will contact you.