Back in January, Natasha covered Juro’s Series B round, which added $23 million to its coffers. Juro aims to put an end to contract negotiation madness, moving the workflows out of Microsoft Word and a handful of other sub-par tools to an all-in-one, web-based platform for contract negotiation-to-signature workflow. It seems like a very good idea. The deck worked; it helped Juro raise a fine stack of dollars. But is its deck any good? Let’s take a closer look.
We’re looking for more unique pitch decks to tear down, so if you want to submit your own, here’s how you can do that.
Slides in this deck
The company used a 15-slide deck, which it shared with TechCrunch, making only some light redactions; all the slides are there, but the company blurred out part of its future road map and the actual numbers for the financials.
- Cover slide
- “It takes ~5 tools to process just one contract” — problem slide
- “Initiating contracts in MS Word files compounds the pain” — problem slide
- “We’re making contracts browser-native” — solution slide
- “Companies are switching to Juro’s browser-native format” — traction slide
- “ARR is at $XXm+, growing predictably and sustainably” — financial traction slide
- “We‘re the only all-in-one system adopted by legal teams” — competition slide
- “We have a repeatable GTM engine, driven by inbound” — customer acquisition slide
- “While churn is trending strongly downwards” — retention slide
- “Our community of champions compounds growth” — customer slide
- “Helping us grow ARR with a land/expand motion” — go-to-market/market expansion slide
- “We have an experienced team on board and engaged” — team slide
- “With a track record of capital efficiency” — financial highlight and investment partners slide
- “And a wider aim to become the default way to agree terms” — product road map slide
- Closing slide
Three things to love
There are a lot of really good things about the Juro deck, but the clarity of its story is a particular highlight.
Yup, that’s a problem all right
Anyone who’s had to deal with contracts, especially contracts that are custom or at least flexible to every customer, has experienced this problem in one form or another. This shows up for everyone who does large B2B or corporate deals; if you’re negotiating with someone bigger than you, it’s likely that their in-house legal team has capital-T thoughts about your contracts, and that you won’t be able to use your lovingly crafted boilerplate contracts the way you had hoped.
For startups, this shows up in due diligence from time to time; you both need to have contracts with all your customers and suppliers and be able to locate and show the signed versions of them in the due diligence process if prompted. If your contracts live in your email or (maybe) in a shared folder (somewhere, hopefully), this can turn into a stressful nightmare.
The extra-cool quirk here is that most VC deals fall into this category; the term sheets are often pretty standard, but by the time the investment documents are complete, there’s a bunch of custom language that can sneak into each contract, varying from deal to deal. The upshot is that this company would probably have been a pretty easy sell to a lot of VCs that are looking at this deck: While the company isn’t specifically for the startup and VC ecosystem, Juro is, at least partially, solving a problem every VC has experienced one time or another.
If your company does something that VCs are very likely to be familiar with, you can use that to your advantage; it speeds up the “this is why this is useful” narrative significantly. What a great perk!
Juuust enough product to make sense
A lot of startups fall for the temptation to spend way too much time talking about their product. The product is important, of course, but rarely as important as founders think it is. This is a Series B deck, and Juro tells the right story here: If you have a lot of customers (and, as will note in just a moment, Juro does), you don’t have to spend a lot of time on your product. The customers love it, they’re giving you money, and they are staying. For Series B, we are talking about growth. Yes, the product has to be good enough to not actively scare customers away, but if you can sign them up and keep them around, you’re on the right trail, at least.
In this slide, Juro shares just enough detail so investors can get a high-level overview of what the product is and what the benefits are. Very well done, and it keeps things high enough level to make it all pretty easy to understand. Well done!
As a startup, what you can learn from this slide is to not get bogged down in the details. Keep it as simple as you can. With my pitch coaching clients, I sometimes challenge them to tell the entire story without mentioning the product once. A little extreme, of course, but it helps strengthen every other part of the story sufficiently to the point that once you add product back in, it takes on the appropriate amount of time and energy in a pitch.
Traction, traction, traction
If Juro has ‘number of contracts signed’ as its most important KPI, this graph is exceptional.
Traction is the single most important slide you will have in your pitch deck. If you have it, lead with it as early as you can. Well, we’ve made it to slide five in Juro’s pitch deck and we’ve already talked about the slides that preceded it. Realistically, this is the earliest the company could talk about how well it is doing. And goodness, is it ever — that’s as exponential a graph as you will see for any startup, and if Juro has “number of contracts signed” as its most important KPI, this graph is exceptional.
You’ll have noticed the “if” in the above sentence. As an investor, I like this graph. I like that the company is expanding rapidly. But there’s a quirk here: According to its pricing page, the company doesn’t directly make more money if it deals with more contracts. Of course, the two will be strongly related, but I’d have loved to see a more direct traction metric here. ARR, perhaps. Number of paying customers. Leading with a beautiful graph for a secondary KPI always comes across as a little suspect. I’m letting them get away with it here because slides 6 and 7 cover the company’s ARR growth, which is the real metric numbers-driven VCs will care about.
The lesson? Be careful which metrics you lead with. Some are important internally but less important to investors. Some will be valuable to certain aspects of the business (time to customer support ticket closure and system uptime, for example, are crucial to customer service and technical operations teams), but it seems curious to see them show up in pitch decks.
In the rest of this teardown, we’ll take a look at three things Juro could have improved or done differently, along with its full pitch deck!
A network of knockoff apparel stores exposed 330,000 customer credit cards
If you recently made a purchase from an overseas online store selling knockoff clothes and goods, there’s a chance your credit card number and personal information were exposed.
Since January 6, a database containing hundreds of thousands of unencrypted credit card numbers and corresponding cardholders’ information was spilling onto the open web. At the time it was pulled offline on Tuesday, the database had about 330,000 credit card numbers, cardholder names, and full billing addresses — and rising in real-time as customers placed new orders. The data contained all the information that a criminal would need to make fraudulent transactions and purchases using a cardholder’s information.
The credit card numbers belong to customers who made purchases through a network of near-identical online stores claiming to sell designer goods and apparel. But the stores had the same security problem in common: any time a customer made a purchase, their credit card data and billing information was saved in a database, which was left exposed to the internet without a password. Anyone who knew the IP address of the database could access reams of unencrypted financial data.
Anurag Sen, a good-faith security researcher, found the exposed credit card records and asked TechCrunch for help in reporting it to its owner. Sen has a respectable track record of scanning the internet looking for exposed servers and inadvertently published data, and reporting it to companies to get their systems secured.
But in this case, Sen wasn’t the first person to discover the spilling data. According to a ransom note left behind on the exposed database, someone else had found the spilling data and, instead of trying to identify the owner and responsibly reporting the spill, the unnamed person instead claimed to have taken a copy of the entire database’s contents of credit card data and would return it in exchange for a small sum of cryptocurrency.
A review of the data by TechCrunch shows most of the credit card numbers are owned by cardholders in the United States. Several people we contacted confirmed that their exposed credit card data was accurate.
TechCrunch has identified several online stores whose customers’ information was exposed by the leaky database. Many of the stores claim to operate out of Hong Kong. Some of the stores are designed to sound similar to big-name brands, like Sprayground, but whose websites have no discernible contact information, typos and spelling mistakes, and a conspicuous lack of customer reviews. Internet records also show the websites were set up in the past few weeks.
Some of these websites include:
If you bought something from one of those sites in the past few weeks, you might want to consider your banking card compromised and contact your bank or card provider.
It’s not clear who is responsible for this network of knockoff stores. TechCrunch contacted a person via WhatsApp whose Singapore-registered phone number was listed as the point of contact on several of the online stores. It’s not clear if the contact number listed is even involved with the stores, given one of the websites listed its location as a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Houston, Texas.
Internet records showed that the database was operated by a customer of Tencent, whose cloud services were used to host the database. TechCrunch contacted Tencent about its customer’s database leaking credit card information, and the company responded quickly. The customer’s database went offline a short time later.
“When we learned of the incident, we immediately contacted the customer who operates the database and it was shut down immediately. Data privacy and security are top priorities at Tencent. We will continue to work with our customers to ensure they maintain their databases in a safe and secure manner,” said Carrie Fan, global communications director at Tencent.
All Raise CEO steps down again
Less than a year after assuming the role, All Raise CEO Mandela SH Dixon has stepped down from her position at the nonprofit. The entrepreneur, who previously ran Founder Gym, an online training center for underrepresented founders, said in a blog post that the decision was made after she realized “being in the field working directly with entrepreneurs everyday” is her passion. Dixon said that she will be exploring new opportunities in alignment with that.
Her resignation is effective starting February 1st, 2023. She will remain an advisor to the Bay Area-based nonprofit.
This is the second chief executive to leave All Raise since it was first founded in 2017. In 2021, Pam Kostka resigned as the helm of the nonprofit to rejoin the startup world as well; Kostka is now an operator in residence and limited partner at Operator Collective, according to her LinkedIn. With Dixon gone, Paige Hendrix Buckner, who joined the outfit as chief of staff nine months ago, will step in as interim CEO. In the same blog post, Buckner wrote that “Mandela leaves All Raise in a strong position, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue the hard work of diversifying the VC backed ecosystem.”
Dixon did not immediately respond to comment on the record. It is unclear if All Raise is immediately kicking off a permanent CEO search.
The nonprofit has historically defined its goals in two ways: first, it wants to increase the amount of seed funding that goes to female founders from 11% to 23% by 2030, and, second, it wants to double the percentage of female decision-makers at U.S. firms by 2028.
In previous interviews, Dixon said that the company will work on creating explicit goals around what impact it wants to have for historically overlooked individuals. The data underscores the challenge ahead. Black and LatinX women receive disproportionately less venture capital money than white women; non-binary founders can also face higher hurdles when seeking funding, as All Raise board member Aileen Lee noted in the blog post. The nonprofit has created specific programs for Black and Latinx founders but has not disclosed a specific goal for the cohort yet. These disconnects can be lost if not tracked. All Raise’s last impact report was published in 2020 and they’re working on bringing that analysis back, Lee tells TechCrunch in an interview.
“All Raise is in great hands with Paige as interim leader and we’ve got a lot of exciting things that we’re shaping and scaling,” Lee said. “We have to all continue to link arms to try and continue to make improvements for our industry…we’ve made good progress that we can’t let up.”
Since launch, the nonprofit has raised $11 million in funding, and opened regional chapters in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, DC and, soon, Miami.
Shopping app Temu is using TikTok’s strategy to keep its No. 1 spot on App Store
Temu, a shopping app from Chinese e-commerce giant Pinduoduo, is having quite the run as the No. 1 app on the U.S. app stores. The mobile shopping app hit the top spot on the U.S. App Store in September and has continued to hold a highly-ranked position in the months that followed, including as the No. 1 free app on Google Play since December 29, 2022. More recently, Temu again snagged the No. 1 position again on the iOS App Store on January 3 and hasn’t dropped since — even outpacing competitor Shein’s daily installs in the U.S.
Offering cheap factory-to-consumer goods, Temu provides access to a wide range of products, including fast fashion, and pushes users to share the app with friends in exchange for free products, which may account for some of its growth. However, the large majority of its new installs come from Temu’s marketing spend, it seems.
When TechCrunch covered Temu’s rise in November, the app had then seen a little more than 5 million installs in the U.S., according to data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, making the U.S. its largest market. Now, the firm says the app has seen 5 million U.S. installs this January alone, up 19% from 4.2 million in the prior 22 days from December 10 through December 31.
According to Sensor Tower estimates, Temu has managed to achieve a total of 19 million lifetime installs across the U.S. App Store and Google Play, more than 18 million of which came from the U.S.
The growth now sees Temu outpacing rival Shein in terms of daily installs. In October, Temu was averaging around 43,000 daily installs in the U.S., the firm said, while Shein averaged about 62,000. In November, Temu’s average daily installs grew to 185,000 while Shein’s climbed to 70,000 and last month, Temu averaged 187,000 installs while Shein saw about 62,000.
The shopping app’s fast rise recalls how the video entertainment platform TikTok grew to become the most downloaded app worldwide in 2021, after years of outsized growth. The video app topped 2 billion lifetime downloads by 2020, including sister app Douyin in China, Sensor Tower said. Combined, the TikTok apps have now reached 4.1 billion installs.
Like Temu, much of TikTok’s early growth was driven by marketing spend. The video app grew its footprint in the U.S. and abroad by heavily leveraging Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat’s own ad platforms to acquire its customers. TikTok was famously said to have spent $1 billion on ads in 2018, even becoming Snap’s biggest advertiser that year, for instance.
By investing in user acquisition upfront, TikTok was able to gain a following which then improved its ability to personalize its For You feed with recommendations. Over time, this algorithm became very good at recognizing what videos would attract the most interest thanks to this investment, turning TikTok into one of the most addictive apps in terms of time spent. As of 2020, kids and teens began spending more time watching TikTok than they did on YouTube. And earlier this month, Insider Intelligence data indicated all TikTok users in the U.S. were now spending an average of nearly 1 hour per day on the app (55.8 minutes), compared with just 47.5 minutes on YouTube, including YouTube TV.
While Temu is nowhere near TikTok’s sky-high figures, it appears to be leveraging a similar growth strategy. The company is heavily investing in advertising to acquire users, which it uses to personalize the shopping experience. One of Temu’s key features, in fact, is its own sort of For You page that encourages users to browse trending items “Selected for You.” In addition to gamification elements, Temu also puts heavy emphasis on recommending shops and products on its home page, which is informed by its user data.
But the app’s growth doesn’t seem to be driven by social media. While the Temu hashtag (#temu) on TikTok is nearing 250 million views, that’s not really a remarkable number for an app as big as TikTok where something like #dogs has 120.5 billion views. (Or, for a more direct comparison, #shein has 48.3 billion views.) That suggests Temu’s rise isn’t necessarily powered by viral videos among Gen Z users or influencer marketing, but rather more traditional digital advertising.
According to Meta’s ad library, for instance, Temu has run some 8,800 ads across Meta’s various platforms just this month. The ads promote Temu’s sales and its extremely discounted items, like $5 necklaces, $4 shirts, and $13 shoes, among other deals. These ads appear to be working to boost Temu’s installs, allowing the app to maintain its No. 1 slot on the App Store’s “Top Free” charts, which are heavily influenced by the number of downloads and download velocity, among other things.
Of course, having a high number of downloads doesn’t necessarily mean Temu’s app will maintain a high number of monthly active users. Nor does it mean those users won’t churn out of the app after their initial curiosity has been abated. Still, Temu’s download growth saw it ranking as the No. 1 “Breakout” shopping app by downloads in the U.S. for 2022, according to data.ai’s year-end “State of Mobile” report. (Data.ai calculates “Breakout” apps in terms of year-over-year growth across iOS and Google Play.)
Because Temu’s growth is more recent, the app did not earn a position on the Top 10 apps in 2022 in either the U.S. or globally in terms of downloads, consumer spend, or monthly active users, on this report. Instead, most of those spots still went to social media apps, streamers, and dating apps like Bumble and Tinder. The only retailer to find a spot on these lists was Amazon, which was the No. 7 app worldwide by active users and the No. 8 most downloaded in the U.S.
Temu’s marketing investment may not pay off as well as TikTok’s did, though, as other discount shopping apps saw similar growth only to later fail as consumers found that, actually, $2 shirts and jeans were deals that were too good to be true. Wish famously fumbled as consumers grew frustrated with long delivery times, fake listings, missing orders, poor customer service, and other things consumers expect from online retail in the age of Amazon.
Temu today holds a 4.7-star rating on the U.S. App Store, but those ratings have become less trustworthy over the years due to the ease with which companies can get away with fake reviews. Dig into the reviews further and you’ll find similar complaints to Wish, including scammy listings, damaged and delayed deliveries, incorrect orders and lack of customer service. Without addressing these issues, Temu seems more likely to go the way of Wish, not TikTok, no matter what it spends.
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