Scroobious helps underrepresented founders get pitch perfect
Allison Byers, Founder and CEO of Scroobious, previously raised nearly $10 million for a medical devices startup, where she realized the challenges underrepresented founders including women face during fundraising.
She founded Scroobious to solve this problem by training diverse founders to create short video pitches and connect them to relevant investors.
What inspired you to start Scroobious?
Before founding Scroobious, Allison Byers co-founded a medical devices startup which was acquired after five years.
While fundraising, Allison found the experience to be eye opening. The inefficiency of the experience for both founders and investors stuck with her. She found all the systemic barriers and blockers that existed for women was something traditional founders didn’t experience. She thought of the underrepresented founders who didn’t have the benefit of a network or background like her and started to research the statistics around funding, specifically for women and minorities. The percentage of funding for women founders has since gotten worse. According to data from PitchBook, less than 2% of venture capital funding went to all-female founding teams in 2021.
Allison had realized that there was a systemic problem and a huge untapped market with tremendous potential wasn’t receiving funding. Along with the founders, investors were also missing out. Allison recognised the need on both sides of the market, which led to her founding Scroobious, when her medical devices startup was acquired.
Scroobious is an online platform where early-stage underrepresented founders can learn how to compile a business plan, pitch successfully and create video pitches for more effective fundraising. It helps investors find founders that fit their theses outside of their current network with whom they can build a connection. Scroobious also connects service providers, vendors and alternate sources of capital to a world of founders.
Allison shares that there isn’t a pipeline problem, instead there’s a connection problem without any central resources. She is excited about the data that they will gather on private markets which will bring transparency to diversity in early stage investing. Scroobious will use the data to create behavioral change to increase funding for diverse founders.
How does Scroobious help startup founders?
Allison and her team are focusing on their Pitch It Plan (PIP) program for founders. PIP is an online platform where founders can access short video learning modules, narrated PowerPoints and templates. These tools help founders understand elements such as calculating a bottoms up market size.
All of their learnings and templates are meant to be asynchronous, so founders can work according to their own schedule. Founders receive feedback from a community of founders, which allows them to connect with and learn from their peers.
Allison shares that they are providing founders with an all-round experience that will enable them to tell their story in a way that is easy to understand. At the end of the program they would have worked on their presentation and feel confident about their pitch deck.
Scroobious helps founders create video pitches, which makes for a better first impression. When fundraising the first step is to send your pitch deck to potential investors. This is one of the inefficiencies that stuck with Allison. Most founders dread making pitch decks, there’s no standardization, but most importantly you can’t put yourself in a pitch deck. It’s difficult to communicate the characteristics of who you are and your passion. From the on set founders are unable to communicate what is critically important during early seed and pre-seed investing. This first impression is what investors use to decide whether you’re worth a first meeting with them.
They have found that video is the right medium to create a first impression. Scroobious pairs the founder next to their slides when presenting to capture an authentic pitch. This allows them to communicate their passion and characteristics with visual and auditory information, making them more than just a document.
How did you get your first set of founders?
Allison did a lot of one-on-one interviews and conducted surveys with founders and early-stage investors to understand their needs. This led to an inner circle of people who were happy to test out what she was building.
She has worked with over 140 founders from word-of-mouth, conducting workshops, actively taking speaking engagements and mentoring at startup accelerators.
On the investor side, over 30 investors have tested an initial prototype and shared excellent feedback.
How did you come up with the name Scroobious?
The poem Scroobious Pip by Edward Lear and Ogden Nash inspired the name based on the fanciful animal that couldn't be classified by other animals.
The poem tells the story of a creature made up of several animals, that enters the animal kingdom. The rest of the animal kingdom tries to classify him into one of their groups, asking where do you fit? At the end of the poem they celebrate him as he is and call him a Scroobious Pip.
This resonated with Allison, reminding her of those founders who don’t receive funding because they don’t fit the traditional classifier. Like the poem, our uniqueness should be celebrated.
What is your business model?
For founders it's an affordable flat fee to go through the whole program and get a pitch video at the end.
For investors, there will be a SAS model with a monthly or yearly subscription to the platform for diverse deal flow. Additionally, there are other opportunities like referral revenue for partners who are on the platform.