The Debut Sessions
For UK Startups Raising Their 1st Round
If you’re a UK based startup formed in the last 18 months and raising your first round of funding, pitch to a group of active investors, from the comfort of your study or sofa.
The Investor Group
Leila Rastegar Zegna
Finding investors when raising that first round of funding is
challenging for founders that don’t have a pre-existing
network of contacts to make a warm introduction. And finding
active investors that are willing to back pre-revenue / very
early-stage companies in the UK can be even harder. This is
why we’ve created the Debut Sessions, to bring together some
of the most recognised investors in the UK who can provide
advice, support and ultimately that first cheque for
We believe the Debut Sessions can help break down the barriers to access and give every founder / founding team seeking that first cheque, an opportunity to showcase their new startup to the Debut Sessions investors and the wider community via its open-source initiative. The Debut Sessions investors are friends, share similar values and opinions, and can add unique insights to founders at the beginning of their journey. And of course, we’re constantly looking for the outlier startups, and think this initiative is a differentiated way of doing it!
Applicants can decide to keep their applications confidential or make the data and video available for the wider UK investment ecosystem to access. If choosing the latter option, the Debut Sessions will be creating an open-source Airtable document that anyone can access, which includes everyone outside of the Debut Sessions investor group. It will be published across Twitter, Linkedin and the Debut Sessions site.
All participating investors have been actively investing at
the pre-Seed stage in the UK for a number of years now. This
is where the majority of our expertise lie and where we can be
of most value to founders who have just formed new companies,
hence the laser focus on companies formed in the last 12
months in the UK.
We also believe there are a new breed of startups being formed right now that will be tackling key themes around improving work, life and health, with distributed teams, new business models and differentiated go-to-market strategies. We’re here to support this new wave and provide that first cheque.
The Sessions will run once a month. Up to 4 companies will be selected for each Session, which will run on the last Thursday of each month. The first Session took place on Thursday 25th June 2020 at 5pm, with each company selected getting 5 minutes to pitch their business followed with a 10 minute Q&A (all via Zoom).
We believe a product demo is the best way to showcase how a founder / founding team thinks about their users and market and new platforms such as Loom enable the quick production of this content. We also believe that the barriers to building a minimum viable product (MVP) have drastically decreased over the past 10 years, so building something, however simple, before raising that first round of funding is generally expected.
has committed to backing at least two companies that make it
through to the Sessions over the next 6 months, so there is a
guarantee that the creation of the Debut Sessions will result
in at least two companies being funded.
However, there is no guarantee of investment for the Founders that get the opportunity to pitch and each investor will make their own investment decision.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.