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Deck Reviews & Beyond

During each funding round, multiple startups are considered. Few are added to the portfolio.

Though demand for extra-institutional investment is as strong as ever, uncertain times present the need for closer diligence in evaluating candidate companies. 

These days, startup success depends on the adoptability of the product. A solid value proposition is crucial. Features must combine into an understandable, holistic system and the user experience must deliver that value to all stakeholders.

Funders must know how well founders are capable of thinking through the critical elements of the problem they intend to address and defining an optimal solution. Funders look for whether a rigorous process has been applied and evidence of that work in the presentation deck. 

Moreover, funders look for candidate founding teams that can take development suggestions and rise beyond expectations. Whether they are in love with their initial idea, or in love with a defined and scoped problem. 


In short, deck reviews surface which candidate teams are worth the bet.

Stage 1 | Large Field Candidate Deck Review

Funders considering portfolio startup candidates for a new funding round are deciding which startups they should take seriously.


Of the multitudes of decks to evaluate, which ones should be among the finalists?


  1. In groups of up to 10, decks are reviewed for their problem-solution presentations.

  2. The decks are ranked within and between groups based on a proprietary Shimoshi NM criteria and ranking system.

  3. Recommendations are offered regarding up to 30% of the strongest candidates.

  4. Bonus advisory available: what follow-on information funders should look for in each candidate startup that moves into the next evaluation round.


This process offers a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of each deck's product fundamentals and readiness to move into Product-Market Fit.


The best decks show evidence of solid problem definition and strong causal links from problem to solution.

Stage 2 | Small Field Candidate Deck and Sources Review

In Stage 2, I deep dive into the finalist's presentations of their problem-solution pitch. 

Whatever research and solutioning are presented, I evaluate their supporting evidence: their Product Requirement Document (PRD), secondary sources, primary research, and iterative prototype development resulting in their MVP. The result is like financial due diligence.


The founding team's decisions about the scope of the problem they intend to address and their proposed product are illuminated. Investors are better positioned to determine where the team is in product development and how rigorous their thinking and processes have been.

Stage 3 | Product Strategy for Portfolio Companies

  • Office Hours

  • Fractional Product Development as needed 

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