VC Insights: How to Make a Winning Web3 Startup Pitch

Startup pitching tips from VCs

The European Blockchain Convention is welcoming the Top 50 European early-stage startups to pitch on stage in front of their 5,000 attendees and VC investors. The startup pitch will cover topics from DeFi, crypto, gaming, NFTs, ReFi and sustainability, and blockchain infrastructure to security.

The 50 finalists of the Startup Battle can be found here đź’ˇ

To further assist the 50 finalists in crafting winning pitches and keep growing after the event, the European Blockchain Convention engaged in discussions with two experienced VC experts. These experts have generously shared invaluable insights on how to craft a winning startup pitch and what VCs really want to hear from startup founders!

VC Experts Profile

Jury member: Jeddi Mees

Company: Fabric Ventures

Expertise: Gaming, NFT, DeFi, Blockchain Infrastructure, Metaverse, Identity & KYC Solutions, Wallets & Security

Short bio: Over the past 6 years Jeddi has dedicated himself to his entrepreneurial journey having founded 4 businesses, and launching a sold-out NFT collection. Jeddi has bootstrapped 3 e-commerce projects whilst exiting on 1. He also has years of start-up mentoring experience, where he has mentored over 200 founders. Jeddi has been a Web3 user, investor, and growth advisor since 2019.

Jury member: Mahsa Doorfard

Company: coinIX

Expertise: Blockchain infrastructure and Sustainability

Short bio: Since January 2023, Mahsa has embraced the role of the Sales and Marketing Manager at coinIX; a blockchain investment firm based in Hamburg. She is one of the DLT and ReFi talents of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and her ambition revolves around fostering greater female representation within the Web3 ecosystem.

What are the key criteria that VCs prioritize when evaluating an early-stage Web3 startup pitch?

Jeddi thinks that the criteria remain the same no matter whether the startup is in Web3 or other industries. He raised three important points for early-stage startup founders to consider when making their pitches:

  • Do the founders have expertise in the domain they want to cover? This expertise allows them to have a unique perspective on a problem, known as founder-market fit.
  • Does the problem they wish to solve cover a sufficiently large and growing market?
  • The ability of the founders to focus on the right metrics and the right problems at each stage of the project’s evolution.

When presenting a pitch, it’s essential to articulate the problem clearly, emphasizing its longstanding nature and the team’s solution. The product section should convey the value proposition, supplemented by a demo and testimonials. The market discussion should be concise, focusing on the real target audience and the startup’s unique positioning.

Moreover, the pitch deck should also outline the business model and emphasize relevant KPIs, avoiding cumulative data. Sharing the company’s journey and the team’s accomplishments adds a human touch. Outlining the roadmap and concluding with a well-structured business or cash plan and a vision statement is also vital, ensuring a comprehensive overview for potential investors.

EBC co-founder Victoria and stage host Joe announced the start of the Startup Pitches at EBC8.

Mahsa proposed some slides for startup founders to include in their pitch decks:

Title slide

It summarizes what you intend to present and it should Include your brand name, logo, company slogan, and email address for investors who want to reach out.

Round Details & the Ask
  • How much have you raised so far? What is the goal? What is your cash burn rate? You can put a range to attract more targets but don’t keep it very wide.
  • Know your CAPEX, OPEX, & working capital.
  • Understand your milestones.
  • Calculate how much cash you need for the first 18-24 months
Value proposition

Problem Addressed & Target Audience
  • What gap in the blockchain industry are you filling?
  • The audience must be able to relate to the problem addressed.
  • Remember that you are solving just one problem. Not more!
Provided Solution
  • Link the problems to your solutions
  • List the already existing solutions and their shortcomings
  • Why are you launching now? Is the timing right? Being too early or too late is not good

Competition & Long-term Market Positioning
  • Your pitch deck should clearly state your methods and strategies for beating the competition. How do you stand out?
  • Use a graph outlining past market growth and potential future growth, so investors can quantify the ROI of their investments
Market Size & Potential

Business & Revenue Model & Tokenomics
  • Create a basic outline of your business model (pricing, who will be paying for the service? Options for cross-selling and upselling)
  • Focus on one or two main revenue streams. Don’t mention a lot. 
  • Show the possibilities for your future revenue, along with your reasoning for them. Try out multiple business models to see what might work best in your case.
Technology
  • Do you really need Blockchain? Why?
  • Which Blockchains are used?
  • Is the platform launched?

Image source: Unsplash.

What are some common mistakes to avoid during the pitch?

Based on her experiences in VC, Mahsa shared several common mistakes that she’s observed over the years.

Lack of catchy opening & coherent narrative

Mahsa recommends using a more attractive business story that can grip investors within the first few seconds.

Information overdose

Don’t dive into irrelevant technicalities and product features

Lack of vision & strategy

You should know where you see yourself in 5 years and summarize it in a sentence. Avoid stating you are the only one doing this or you are the pioneer in the industry.

Not understanding the market & why now

Not understanding the market & why now

Don’t forget to say why you are launching now. Timing is everything!

Bad Business Model

Don’t over-diversify revenue streams

Poor competition slide

Don’t focus on insignificant competitors!

Weak team slide

Just mentioning the name and role is not enough. Say why did you choose them! What makes each team member stand out?

Pitching to the wrong investor

Research the VC firm before applying. Who is the right person to talk to? In which areas do they invest? Does it include your project? Do they have a history of investing in businesses like yours?

The winner of the EBC Award startup pitches in February 2023.

How important is the team’s expertise and experience? What specific attributes do you look for in the team?

Mahsa stated that the team’s experience and reputation are very important. What makes the team unique? She suggested each founder highlight the two or three achievements and roles of every member which is relevant to the project in bullet points.

Jeddi also agreed that the expertise of the team is crucial, and it often comes hand-in-hand with experience. He believed that with both expertise and experience, the startup could spot unique problems and develop innovative solutions that others might not see.

Image source: Unsplash.

Pitching to VCs can be daunting for founders. How can startup presenters effectively convey their vision and value proposition when pitching to VCs?

According to Jeddi, to prepare a good startup pitch, preparation and understanding your audience are a good start. During the pitch, the presenters should demonstrate the product, showcase the team, and clearly share the company vision. Founders can also create a story about why they started the company and why they decided to tackle this specific problem, especially for founders with technical backgrounds.

The main goal of meeting VC investors is to secure a follow-up meeting since it’s rare to close a deal right after the pitch. It’s thus important to focus on potential investors and schedule several meetings. Listen attentively, establish a connection with the audience, and be open to discussions. Last, Jeddi shared that every meeting should conclude with clear next steps to avoid ambiguity.

After preparing the slides, Mahsa shared a few tips for startup founders to reflect on and examine their pitch deck:

  • Does the story make sense?
  • Is my opening gripping enough to make them want to continue reading?
  • Does the narrative have a consistent flow?
  • Is the storyline memorable? Does it elicit emotion?
  • Stick to what investors want to see, not what you want to say. 
  • Keep a minimum of 10 slides and make sure not to have more than 19 slides.
  • Show that you have a vision. You should know where you see yourself in 5 years and should be able to summarize it in a sentence.

Startup founders should also be able to answer these questions:

  • How will your company stand out in the industry?
  • What will your brand be recognized for?
  • What kind of growth will you achieve?
  • Will you become a leader in a niche?
  • What markets will you conquer?
VC experts gave advice to Web3 startups at EBC8.

Given the fast-paced and dynamic nature of the crypto industry, how can early-stage startups stay relevant and adapt to changing market conditions?

For Jeddi, the answer is simple: listen to your users. He thinks that users should always be the founder’s only focus while Mahsa also agrees with the importance of staying in touch with the community and the ecosystem.

Mahsa also thinks that in order for a startup to keep growing, the team has to research regularly and never stop learning. Founders should be willing to invest in the employees’ development.

Furthermore, the ability to pivot is also essential for startups in the Web3 space, and founders should keep their business models flexible to adapt to new technologies when needed.

What specific areas do you think will potentially grow in the crypto space? What areas is your company focusing on investing in?

According to Mahsa, coinIX invests in blockchain infrastructure and is focused on the Ethereum blockchain. Most of the projects that coiniX has invested in are either getting built on top of Ethereum or are offering Ethereum scalability solutions. Tokenization projects and the DePIN sector are interesting for them.

On the other hand, Jeddi from Fabric Ventures thinks open Loyalty and commerce graphs, collectively owned content, open finance, gaming, open payments, open-source/AI, open infrastructure, open work, and contribution economy are some interesting areas for Web3.

VC experts discussed the Web3 investing opportunities in 2023 at EBC8.

Can you share some examples of a successful startup pitch?

Jeddi recommends startup founders take a look at Brian Armstrong’s training for his pitch during the YCombinator demo day in 2012.

Read more about startup pitches, VC insights, and Startup Battle:

1a Blockchain Hackathon en la 9a EdiciĂłn de la European Blockchain Convention

EBC hackathon blog - Spanish

For the English version of this release, please refer to this link.

Barcelona, España – La 1a Hackathon de la European Blockchain Convention se llevará a cabo durante la 9a ediciĂłn del evento, que con 5.000 asistentes se espera que sea el evento más grande sobre Blockchain en Europa durante la segunda mitad de 2023.

La Hackathon juntará a 200 hackers para explorar las innovaciones de reconocidas Blockchains de primera capa (Layer 1), como lo son:

  • Coreum
  • XDC
  • Concordium

Este evento también representa una oportunidad y experiencia única de aprendizaje y networking para sus participantes gracias a la asistencia de inversores (VCs), desarrolladores, protocolos y proyectos multi-chain, entre otros líderes de la industria.

La agenda de la Hackathon estará enfocada en el desarrollo sobre la infraestructura de primera capa de Coreum, XDC y Concordium, a medida de que los participantes descubren las ventajas y características diferenciales de cada una de estas Blockchains.

“Debido a la demanda incrementada de talento en la industria, y la aceleraciĂłn que estamos experimentando en tĂ©rminos de adopciĂłn de la tecnologĂ­a Blockchain, identificamos la necesidad de ofrecer un espacio para los desarrolladores del futuro para ayudarles a iniciar sus carreras en Web3,” menciona Victoria Gago, Co-fundadora de la European Blockchain Convention. AgregĂł que “nos emocionan las oportunidades que esta Hackathon representa para la comunidad Blockchain en general, asĂ­ como el impacto que tendrá en esta y futuras ediciones del evento!”

Para saber más sobre la Hackathon de la EBC y acceder al formulario de aplicación, por favor visite la página oficial del evento: https://eblockchainconvention.com/hackathon/

1st Blockchain Hackathon Set to Take Place During European Blockchain Convention 9

EBC hackathon

Para la versión de este comunicado en español, por favor visite este enlace.

Barcelona, Spain — The 1st European Blockchain Convention Hackathon will take place in Barcelona during the 9th edition of the event. EBC9, with 5000 attendees, will be Europe’s largest blockchain event in 2H 2023.

It expects to attract talent and key industry actors, as 200 hackers discover the innovations behind renowned layer-1 blockchains such as:

  • Coreum
  • XDC
  • Concordium

This event will also represent a one-of-a-kind learning and networking opportunity and experience for all participants involved due to the high influx of VCs, developers, multi-chain protocols and projects, among other industry leaders.

The Hackathon’s agenda will be focused on building on top of Coreum, XDC and Concordium’s Layer 1 infrastructure while getting to discover the advantages and differentiating features that set each apart.

“Given the increased demand for talent in the industry and the acceleration that we’re witnessing in terms of Blockchain adoption, we identified the need to offer a space for the builders of the future to give a kickstart to their careers in Web3”, as pointed out by Victoria Gago, Co-founder of the European Blockchain Convention. She added, “We’re excited about the opportunities that this Hackathon represents for the Blockchain community at large, and for the impact it will have within the present and future editions of the event!”

To learn more about the EBC Hackathon, including the application form, visit the official event website at https://eblockchainconvention.com/hackathon/.

EBC Startup Battle 2023: Applications Are Now Open

Startup battle 2023

The European Blockchain Convention is organizing the EBC Startup Battle in Barcelona this October, and we want YOU to be part of it. We’re on the hunt for the best 50 early-stage founders to take the stage at our Startup Battle.

This is where innovation meets opportunity.

What is the EBC Startup Battle?

The EBC Startup Battle is the startup competition, part of the 9th European Blockchain Convention, that will take place on October 24-26 in Barcelona.

Drawing from 6 years of experience in bringing together blockchain and Web3 enthusiasts across Europe, we hope to give early-stage startups more opportunities to shine and expand their business while forging connections with our network of investor partners.

The 50 startup finalists will pitch their game-changing ideas to a crowd of investors and 5,000 attendees. Each team will receive 4 FREE General Passes to join the event. The company’s logo and information will also be listed on the EBC website for some killer exposure.

The jury members will select one winning startup, who will walk away with some seriously sweet sponsor perks and diverse marketing opportunities.

Prizes for the Top 50 Startups and Startup Battle Winner!

How to join the EBC Startup Battle?

The process is simple. Just apply here.

Companies that fit our Startup Battle profile should:

  • Startups must not have raised Series A funding
  • Total funding raised must be less than €8M
  • Startups must be founded in 2018 and onwards
  • Startups must have at least an MVP (minimal viable product)
  • Startups must be related to the Blockchain, crypto, Web3, NFTs, or Metaverse industry
  • Startups must be based in Europe
  • Startups must be a game changer in their vertical

đź’ˇ Make sure to include your previous pitch video to increase your chance of being selected đź’ˇ

It can be you this year to win the prizes and the confetti!

Is it Free to Apply?

It’s 100% free to apply and participate. EBC does NOT require any equity from any contestants or the winner. 

Important Dates


So, if you’re ready to seize the stage, get your game-changing ideas out there, and make connections that could change your business trajectory, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for.

Join the EBC Startup battle today!

The Potential of Stablecoins and the Impact of MiCA Regulation

The Potential of Stablecoins and the Impact of MiCA Regulation

Panelists in this stablecoins discussion include Yves-Michel Leporcher, lecturer at European Tech School, Ewoud Barink, Business Development Director at Worldpay, Avishkar Sharma, Head of Crypto Partnerships at Checkout.com, Teana Baker-Taylor, VP of Policy & Regulatory Strategy at Circle, and Radoslav Albrecht, Founder & CEO of Bitbond.

Stablecoins are one of the intense focus areas in the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) Regulation that just got approved by the European Parliament in April 2023. In spite of the restrictions that MiCA may impose on the issuance of stablecoins, experts at the 8th European Blockchain Convention still support the merits of stablecoins and express optimism about the unlimited financial potential that stablecoins unlock.

Not All Stablecoins Are Created Equal

In the wake of Terra’s collapse in 2022, Teana states that the term “stablecoins” is misleading. She prefers to use different terms to refer to this asset based on its stabilizing mechanisms, such as tokenized cash, e-money tokens, or asset-referenced tokens.

The term stablecoin is terrible. We should stop saying it. It infers that a lot of different types of assets are similar and I think last year has shown us that not all stablecoins are created equal.

Teana Baker-Taylor, VP of Policy & Regulatory Strategy at Circle
Teana from Circle shared her opinion on stabecoins at the 8th EBC.
Teana from Circle shared her opinion on stabecoins at the 8th EBC.

Stablecoins Are Here To Stay 

Stablecoins unlock endless possibilities for the financial world, especially for the unbanked that have long been excluded from the financial systems. Radoslav foresees a future where 40% of the total payments volume is very likely to be transacted in stablecoins. 

They believe that the adoption of stablecoins is not cannibalizing the current financial markets but creating a bigger ecosystem that brings in people that have long been excluded from financial institutions. It unlocks a more inclusive financial world, as Teana states, “This is new economic activities, it’s not replacing or eating anyone’s lunch.”

Due to its open-source characteristics, experts highlight how stablecoins provide access to a new rail that can easily integrate with traditional banking infrastructure while offering constant upgrades.

Yves-Michel, lecturer at the European Tech School, moderated this panel of stablecoins.
Yves-Michel, lecturer at the European Tech School, moderated this panel of stablecoins.

Regulatory Challenges and the Impact of MiCA

During the 8th European Blockchain Convention, the panelists discussed the challenges of regulations in shaping the future of stablecoins. The focus was on MiCA, which has emerged as a prominent regulatory topic. The concerns about the restrictions and market disruptions that MiCA may bring to stablecoins were also discussed in the panel “MiCA and the Challenges of Regulating Crypto.

MiCA aims to bring an end to the unregulated crypto market in Europe. Under MiCA, stablecoins are classified as either e-money tokens or asset-referenced tokens. While stablecoins are not banned, MiCA sets essential rules such as the requirement for private stablecoin issuers to maintain appropriate minimum liquidity as a reserve.

Teana emphasizes the value of establishing standards through MiCA. Sharma shares the aspiration for global consensus among regulators, even though it may seem like an ambitious utopian dream. Regulations provide clarity and comfort for institutions to step into the crypto ecosystem. However, Teana highlights that while MiCA exists as a regulatory framework on paper, its implementation is pending, leaving many aspects yet to be resolved. 

Dive into the TradFi and banks’ viewpoints on MiCA and stablecoins in this article: Decoding Banks and Laws in the Crypto Realm!

EBC panelists discussed MiCA and the future of stablecoins.
EBC panelists discussed MiCA and the future of stablecoins.

The Evolving Landscape of Stablecoins

According to Radoslav, the future holds a lot more use cases for stablecoins. Their usage will extend beyond payments and remittances as institutions will also utilize them to make transactions. Both B2B and B2C sectors are expected to embrace stablecoins in the years to come.

Radoslav also anticipates the increasing emergence of non-fiat-based stablecoins, pegged to a diversified basket of assets. This approach aims to safeguard the purchasing power of the currencies. He emphasizes the need for competition to determine the optimal combination of assets that form the basket.

Teana acknowledges the inherent unpredictability of the market’s future. However, she highlights that the introduction of asset baskets will introduce complexity to stablecoins. Ultimately, the success of stablecoins will come down to their use cases and under what scenario are they designed to be used. 


More EBC insights on the future of tokenization and crypto market marking:


Watch the full discussion to understand the potential of stablecoins!