Aaron DeBevoise took his first two companies full cycle through an exit. He’s now building something even bigger, with a startup that has already been valued at $1.7B.
On the Dealmakers Podcast, DeBevoise talked about enduring 200 plus pitches for a series A round, before successfully selling the company. Plus, raising over $1B, and the superpower you want as an entrepreneur.
Listen to the full podcast episode and review the transcript here.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
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Entrepreneurship & Economics
Aaron DeBevoise was born and grew up just outside of NYC. While he enjoyed playing sports, what really inspired and stuck with him was the entrepreneurial family he grew up in.
He comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Where the dinner table was always full of conversation about starting companies, the challenges of running a business, and what worked, and didn’t.
That gave him the bug of wanting to build things and businesses since he was a kid. As well as learning about data and history, and how things are related.
For college Aaron chose to study economics. Again combining math, data science, and history. Learning how variables can impact the outcomes of different decisions, and using data to drive decisions.
For one winter break he got to go work with his uncle in LA, who was an entrepreneur in the media and entertainment space. There he got to see the inside of business for himself. Including seeing the ups and downs, and evaluating your team.
Wanting to learn even more about data and finance he went to work for JPMorgan after graduating. There he learned to apply work ethic, and work hard.
There he also had the unique opportunity to get involved in film finance as an investment.
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Taking Two Companies Full Cycle
Even from the day he started at JPMorgan Aaron DeBevoise says he knew it wasn’t going to be for the long run. It was a stepping stone to where he wanted to go.
During this time he kept on learning about the media business. So, he started a documentary film business focusing on action sports. He learned just how hard it was for creators, and was able to experience being in their shoes.
Then he and his uncle set out to disrupt cable, much in the way cable had disrupted broadcast TV by introducing niche programming.
Together they started Machinema, creating content for gamers on YouTube. Much like MTV had once done for music fans.
After a 12 year marathon, including making more than 200 pitches just to raise their Series A round, their focus paid off, and the company was acquired by Warner Brothers.
Even though this one chapter was over, Aaron was already incubating the ideas for his next two ventures.
First he teamed up with another cofounder to launch StyleHaul. A new brand channel on YouTube for the fashion and beauty industry. That company was acquired in just four years.
Empowering The Creator Economy
Next Aaron dug into the content trends and changes in YouTube algorithms he had been seeing happen.
On one hand he saw how incredibly well some videos were doing at ongoing popularity and generating cash flow. On the other he saw how Youtube creators were struggling to invest in themselves and grow their businesses.
While many people were being attracted to quitting their jobs to become full time youtubers, he saw the potential for a company that could help them scale quickly, by providing them with more capital. Funds that they could use to invest in things like hiring writers, editors, and producers. All of which didn’t scale if they were just trying to do it themselves.
This gave birth to his latest startup Spotter.
Raising $1B For Your Startup
After digging into the data, proving their concept, and educating creators on not only the availability of capital, but how to use it well, Spotter went out to raise funds to grow the business.
Since a modest $15M Series A round, they’ve gone on to raise $1B, through a recent Series D. That round with Softbank gave them a $1.7B valuation.
To date their funding includes $755M total , the Series D round of $200M followed $555 million across three previously undisclosed rounds of financing
This combination of funding has enabled them to scale and acquire a sizable portfolio of content on YouTube. Which provides a more consistent stream of cash flow. Even through disasters and wild card events like COVID.
Storytelling is everything which is something that Aaron DeBevoise was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
The Superpower You Want To Have As An Entrepreneur
Aaron says that focus is incredibly important when starting and building a business. Instead of that limiting you, it can actually help you innovate even more within that initial idea and business.
Though, if there is one superpower that he says benefits entrepreneurs it is being able to think through many scenarios, and be able to embrace them, instead of letting them overwhelm you.
Being able to think well can trump grinding it out and sleeping on the office floor overnight. If you are thinking ahead, and juggling all of the potential scenarios you will be far better prepared to ace dealing with them, if and when they arise.
Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- The future for online content creators
- Working smart versus harder
- Scaling your team at the right pace