Why have we created the Debut Sessions & #DSLive?

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 for #DSLive, who can provide advice, support and potentially that first cheque for founders.

We believe #DSLive 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 #DSLive and #DSOpenSource.

What is the #DSOpenSource initiative?

Applicants can decide to keep their applications confidential or make the data and video available for the wider investment ecosystem to access via #DSopenSouce. If choosing the latter option, the Debut Sessions has created an open-source document that anyone can access, which includes everyone outside of the Debut Sessions investor group. Additionally, as part of the Community Vote in advance of #DSLive, startups that opt in to #DSOpenSource will have their companies promoted across Twitter and Linkedin for everyone to view and access. Multiple investors have invested in startups they found through #DSOpenSource.

Why are we just focusing on UK startups raising their first round?

All participating investors have been 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 18 months in the UK. It also where we think #DSLive has the most value for both the startup and investor community.

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 via Ascension Ventures.

When will #DSLive run?

#DSLive 1 took place in December 2020 and saw its winner, Virtualtrips, receive a Term Sheet from Ascension Ventures for £100k. In 2021, The Debut Sessions is aiming to run 6 #DSLive events, with Ascension committed to backing the winner of the #DSLive with a £100k Term Sheet. There will also be the chance for attendees of #DSLive to participate alongside Ascension Ventures.

Should I record a video as part of my Application?

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. Additionally, The Debut Sessions Team believes that a video / product demo enhances a startups chances of being selected for #DSLive for the Community Vote (and its a free customer acquisition strategy, so why not record one!).

Any other questions?

Please email info@debutsessions.co.uk if you have any questions.