Introducing “Stripe-Checkout” for Startup Demo Days
At Stonks, we’re focused on building the absolute best demo day experience in the world. We host nearly 200 demo days a year with partners like 500 Global, Techstars, Tachyon & others. Over 100 Unicorns have come from these partners’ demo days in the past — startups like Uber, Dropbox, Canva, Sendgrid, Carta, and Paypal.
Watch this 10-sec clip from our one and only Jack.
Today, we’re excited to talk about our largest product release this year: Demo Day Vehicles (DDVs) — a “Stripe-like” Express Checkout for Demo Days. This is the world’s fastest checkout flow to invest in startups; now integrated into Demo Days on Stonks. 🚀
The Problem: Losing investors, lack of transactional tools
Investor excitement is at its highest during live demo days — but much of that interest is lost due to lack of integrated investing tools. Founders are stuck using a mash-up of 3rd-party tools to complete these workflows and this:
- Increases friction, hurting conversions.
- Takes weeks, not days. Time kills deals.
- Fails to strike “while the iron is hot” — when there is a captive, live audience of investors.
To maximize investor conversion, investments need to happen as fast as possible and be integrated directly into the demo day tooling itself.
Introducing: Demo Day Vehicles (DDVs) — “Stripe-Checkout” for Demo Days
We’ve created a “Stripe-like” express checkout for investors during Demo Days. It’s now possible for investors to fund and close their investments on Stonks in less than 3 minutes (i.e. instantaneously using ACH or next-day for Wires). If you’ve invested previously, your information is saved and it’s even faster.
This is the world’s fastest checkout flow to invest in startups; now integrated into Demo Days on Stonks. 🚀
Investors can sign docs, connect their bank account via Plaid, and fund their investment — all in less than 3 minutes. It’s like Stripe Express Checkout for Startup Investing.
Funds first, Documents later
Most other investment platforms require investors to go through a lengthy KYC process first before allowing them to send funds. It’s a terrible user experience for investors — one that is slow, manual, painful — it takes weeks!
We do the opposite: show the founder you’re committed by sending the funds first. Why? If an investor has already sent the money, they’re much more likely to follow-through.
We hold the money in a segregated DDV bank account until the investor completes KYC and accreditation verification (defaulting to 506c). If the investor fails KYC or accreditation, these funds are returned. Stonks is an Exempt Reporting Advisor with the SEC.
Instant Early Bird Discount
Investors can effectively get a discount by investing now versus later, in the form of reduced carry. We want to reward high-conviction investors for moving early and being first. In testing this over dozens of investments, we’ve found this nearly doubles the conversion rate of angel investors.
Shareable, private link for your network
Either before or after demo day, Founders can invite investors they already know into their DDV privately. These “invited” investors get to skip the waitlist, and can simply self-certify accreditation (506b) with an even faster investing flow (similar to RUVs & more traditional SPVs).
Founders can now use their DDVs to raise funds from their private network too. This reduces complexity and fees, and gets all your individual investors in one place regardless of where they came from.
Automatically-Waived Carry for Investors invited by Founders
Investors invited specifically by a founder pay 0% carry fees. Investors who come in through a Demo Day, and discover the deal from the event, typically pay some carry.
For Startup Accelerators
For the best Accelerators, getting your founders and startups the capital they need is mission-critical. If your startups are going to 100X and change the world, they need to get the capital to get started and get scaled. This is a key success metric for any demo day: Driving Dollars to Startups.
But how do you know you’re succeeding?
DDVs give you incredible reporting, analytics and visibility (down to the individual check and amount), for all the startups in your cohorts and demo days. You can track which Intros are turning into meetings or checks, and how much each founder has raised in their DDVs.
All of this is automated, built-in to your favorite demo day platform, and free for both Partners and their Founders.
👉 Starting in October, DDVs will be enabled for all Standard events on Stonks. To enable DDVs at your demo day, talk to your partnership manager and ensure that your event type is setup as a standard event.
DDVs cost $6K in one-time setup fees, including Blue Sky and other regulatory filing fees (~$2K). This is paid by investors from the capital coming in. Founders and Demo Day partners pay $0.
10–20% carry is charged only to net new investors via a Demo Day, outside of the founder’s private network. We handle tax-filings, compliance, accreditation verification, K-1s to investors, and all other administrative tasks associated with running a vehicle.
Feedback? How can we make this better? Tweet at @stonks_dot_com, comment, or shoot us a note at ddv [at] stonks.com