An open letter to Startup Founders,

(watch the video on the right, or scroll and read instead)

 

This is a straight shoot, honest, real talk, note.

Many of you already know me real well. Many of you don’t. So first allow me to introduce myself, Rajiv Nathan -- aka RajNATION.

I am a storyteller at heart.

I did a sweet TED Talk in 2014

 

 

I've worked in sales and marketing at a marketing tech agency.

I had a personal brand training and development company.

I've hosted the Discover Your Inner Awesome Podcast, a 5-star rated show on iTunes (48 reviews), for over three years, done a crap ton of public speaking -- literally getting people out of their seats at the conferences, AND been a rapper for over a decade.

 Photography by Homegrwn Creative

Photography by Homegrwn Creative

 Photography by: Fund Conference | Robotoaster

Photography by: Fund Conference | Robotoaster

Concert photo

Story is literally how my brain sees the world. I am obsessed with communication.

At the start of 2017 I officially launched RajNATION Innovation, using these branding and entertainment principles I had so acutely honed in to specifically help startups not suck at telling their story, in order to pitch investors and customers with a compelling, clear, and confident message.

I formed this business on the heels of mentoring over 20 different military veteran founders on pitching, messaging, and storytelling through the nonprofit incubator Bunker Labs, and saw some tremendous results from these founders including: Winning pitch competitions, grossing over $100k in sales, and going from scared as hell standing in front of a room delivering a 30-second elevator pitch, to absolutely crushing it.

In less than 1 ½ years, RajNATION Innovation has directly worked with 19 startups and small businesses.

I developed the Brand Communication Playbook process -- an end to end storytelling consultation to achieve success with all stakeholders -- investors, customers, and strategic partners.

I learned the needs nearly every company faces and culled down to the elements that not only met their needs, but created the best foundation for seeking investment, and running future sales and marketing.

I then took each company through the process and built their Brand Communication Playbook, so they came out on the other side knowing exactly what to say, and to who, in person and online.

In this time, 10 companies were looking to raise seed/angel rounds, and so far over $3.6 million has been raised, committed, or won in pitch competitions, with 6 top-three competition finishes, and 3 first-place winners.

14 of these companies are founded by at least one minority owner (woman, veteran, person of color, immigrant, or a combination of these).

 

In May of 2018, I was honored with the Bunker Labs Selfless Service award for my work their vetrepreneurs.

 Image source: Bunker Labs

Image source: Bunker Labs

It has been amazing to help so many companies put their vision into the world.

 

But why does anyone need help in the first place?

In working directly with 19 companies, and talking to over 100 startups and small businesses, I’ve learned that most companies are stuck on

The Messaging Treadmill. 

THE MESSAGING TREADMILL

Startups are trying to move forward with a better story, a better pitch, better positioning, but they keep getting pulled back to the same spot. It's like being on a treadmill.

This happens for one, or all, of these 3 reasons:

  1. “We’re too in the weeds of our own company, we can’t take a step back”

  2. “Our founder is technical and has never been good at communication”

  3. “I’ve been with this thing since day one, through all the different iterations, through all the ups and downs, and, oh yeah, I was up until 2am yesterday fixing an update, so I just have no idea what to say today, and I don’t even feel great about my own company.”

Any of those sound familiar?

Then factor in potentially having a multi-sided marketplace, needing to spend time actually building the product, the additional uphill battle if you’re a minority/woman founder, and dealing with the ongoing mental crisis of “Fuck -- what did I get myself into? Why don’t I just listen to my family and get a real job with a six-figure salary?”...and it makes it really damn tough to pitch your startup clearly, confidently, and with a compelling message.

 

THAT’S why RajNATION Innovation exists.

Now, common logic would say here that it makes a ton of sense to work with all of these companies going through this. However, there’s a huge caveat.

If you’re reading this right now, you are a PRE-REVENUE company. That means your pocketbooks, wallets, and bank accounts are slim.

I do really good work, and have a strategic end to end process to build your Brand Communication Playbook. And that don’t come cheap. I charge $6,500 - $8,500 for this stuff.

And I’m not some internet marketer in your Facebook ads making false claims about my rates to create drama. I can legit show you my contracts and you can talk to my customers.

If you’re pre-revenue, you obviously can’t afford that. AND I 100% GET IT.  You know this work is important, I know this work is important, but you can’t drain your bank account to make it happen. And I don’t want you to either.

No joke, in 2018 there have been three companies who were pre-revenue who saw the value in building their Brand Communication Playbook, who wanted to scrape together the funds to make it work, and I told them don't spend it on me. I would rather they protect their money now, and come back to me when their bank accounts are more cushioned.

 

I’m on your side on this, I’m an entrepreneur right along with you.

 

But most consultants/lawyers/freelancers who play on the startup playground don’t think like this. They only look out for themselves without considering the impact on their potential clients.

That creates The Startup Landgrab.

THE STARTUP LANDGRAB

In The Startup Landgrab, one of two things happen with consultants/lawyers/freelancers:

  1. They charge their high rates, and yes they do good work, but they hemorrhage money out of your bank account and you’re left financially crippled.

  2. They charge a reduced rate or provide services for free in exchange for equity.

Let's analyze...

Scenario 1: It sucks for you, but at the very least, money is an infinite, replenishable resource that you can always make more of.

Scenario 2: I know you might look at this and say it makes sense for you today, maybe you've already given some equity away. But while money is replenishable, YOU ONLY GET 100 POINTS OF EQUITY. So you better make sure it’s going to the right people, and you aren’t doling out ownership of your company because someone built you a website or drafted your LLC papers.

I’m not getting in on this Landgrab. But from talking to so many pre-revenue companies who know they need this help but can’t afford it, I’m tired of leaving you empty-handed.

 

That changes now.

 

Here’s what I have for you.

 

Introducing: The Startup Hypeman

Startup Hypeman is all about bringing your brand’s dopeness to the masses. Every great act needs a great Hypeman, but early on you need to build your own hype-- you need to be your own Hypeman.

Exclusively for you, the Pre-Revenue Startup, I have a brand new platform...

 

Hypeman Academy: Pitch Your Startup

Hypeman Academy: Pitch Your Startup (HAPYS) is your AFFORDABLE, self-serve DIY platform to build YOUR Brand Communication Playbook. This is the virtual accelerator you’ve been waiting for.


Want In?

Confirm for me you are a Pre-Revenue company. Fill out this form, and if it looks good, I'll schedule a quick Q&A call with you. Pre-Revenue = less than $10k MRR, OR less than $500k raised.

Name *
Name

Pre-Revenue = less than $10k MRR, OR less than $500k raised.

You want this if you are trying to raise money, and/or get your first 10 real customers.

You want this if you're serious about your company.

You want this if you're not kicking the tires and you're not fucking around anymore.

HAPYS combines step-by-step video walkthroughs to build your own Brand Communication Playbook, plus a powerful, intelligent community of other Hypeman Academy students--fellow entrepreneurs building their own empires.

The video course is to learn and build out your messaging, the community is your resource network to test it out, receive and provide feedback, and get help in other areas of your business like financial modeling, product dev, introductions, etc.

 

The HYPEMAN ACADEMY: PITCH YOUR STARTUP Curriculum

  • ACT 1: The New Way To Think About Your Company -- getting you out of the weeds, out of the technical mindset, and thinking more like a marketer and entertainer

 

  • ACT 2: The Superhero Strategy -- why and how you treat your startup as a superhero in your communication.
    • How to define your target market -- like, really define it
    • How to craft the core elements of your message

 

  • ACT 3: The Que PASA Elevator pitch -- The tried and true formula for crafting your elevator pitch
    • How to build your customer elevator pitch
    • How to build your investor elevator pitch
    • What to do if you have a multi-sided marketplace 

 

  • ACT 4: The Brand Origin Narrative -- the story behind your company
    • How to create the clean, end-to-end story of your company from inception to future growth
    • How to use your story as a tool for thought-leadership and expertise with customers and investors 

 

  • ACT 5: The Investor Pitch Deck -- Preparing for the room where it happens
    • How to tell a story and build a badass pitch deck that actually impresses investors (even if you already have a deck, this is how to make it better)

 

  • ACT 6: The Customer Sales Deck -- Getting your first 10 real customers
    • How to tell a story and build a badass sales deck that actually impresses customers (for B2B companies)

 

  • ACT 7: The FAQ -- Answering questions from investors and customers
    • How to answer the common questions you’ll get from investors and customers to sound legit as a founder
    • For women and minority groups: Spotting bias and how to overcome it. 

 

  • ACT 8: The Delivery -- Building up your presentation skill confidence
    • How to leverage your personality and personal brand to sound authentic, and naturally have a more compelling message.

 

  • ACT 9: BONUS: The Promotion -- Growing recognition for you and your company online
    • How to get 1,000+ views on all of your Linkedin posts

 

  • ACT 10 BONUS: The Gameplan -- Weekly mini-exercises from episodes of the Discover Your Inner Awesome Podcast to help grow your company.
  •  

And don’t forget the community of fellow founders.

Imagine having the formula and tools to craft your elevator pitch, immediately taking it to the group for feedback, and in less than a day you’ve already improved it.

Imagine getting help on your financial model from another founder also building a company like yours.

Imagine knowing exactly what to say when someone asks, “So what does your company do?”

Imagine finally getting out of the weeds, dropping the technical-speak, and being confident in your pitch, story, and message to impress investors and get your first 10 customers.

 

Like I said, this is the virtual accelerator you’ve been waiting for.

This is about putting your best foot forward. This is about getting out of your own head.

As many of my full-service clients have called it, this is your MARKETING STARTER KIT.


Want In?

Confirm for me you are a Pre-Revenue company. Fill out this form, and if it looks good, I'll schedule a quick Q&A call with you. Pre-Revenue = less than $10k MRR, OR less than $500k raised.

Name *
Name

Does It Actually Work?

We've worked with founders across 10 different industries and the formulas and strategies always pan out.

Check out what founders who have gone through the full-service Brand Communication Playbook have said:

Okay so we’ve established this makes a ton of sense.

How Much Does It Cost?

I already told you I’m not interested in The Startup Landgrab.

HYPAS, your DIY consultant, ain’t taking $8k from you.

HYPAS, your virtual accelerator, aint taking any equity from you.

 

Hypeman Academy: Pitch Your Startup is only $997

*(Pricing note for your own product you’re selling, I priced it like this because psychology says you’re more likely to buy if it’s not an even number that ends in a zero. Honest, real talk, I told you.)

For under $1,000, you get this badass course and community. You’ll get a window into how we built these Playbooks for other startups.

And unlike every internet marketer hawking online trainings, I’m not pulling that crap where you have to buy in the next 24 hours otherwise the price goes up. That’s bullshit, and it’s a sleazy pressure tactic.

Like I said before, I’m trying to help you protect your money while still giving you value.

It’s $997 one time. The only way the price changes is down the road is if I make it a monthly subscription model for new customers, and add more content.

 

You know if you need this, it shouldn’t take scare tactics to see the value.

 

My Vision For You And For Startup Hypeman

I told you upfront at the start of this letter that this was a straight shoot, real talk note. So now I want to share you with my vision.

Hype Man Academy is your entry point as a pre-revenue startup. Meanwhile, I’m focusing my full-service efforts on post-revenue companies doing at a minimum $10k MRR or raised $500k+, bringing in other smart brains and expanding beyond Playbooks into PR, content marketing, and creating unique customer experiences to Bring Their Dopeness To The Masses--like this Hype Video:

My vision is that you join HYPAS now as a Pre-Revenue company, and we grow together. Once you make it past $10k MRR / $500k raised, ideally you decide you’re done being your own Hypeman and want to go full-service, making your Playbook even better, investing in the right customer experiences, bringing YOUR dopeness to the masses.

Together we dominate the world.

9 out of 10 companies fail. Women and minority-owned companies get a staggeringly low amount of venture funding (2-8% depending on which publication you cite). In an environment designed for failure, the Hypeman goal and mission is to use the power of STORY to make success inevitable, not the exception.

Let’s create a new reality where the 3 inevitabilities and guarantees of life are: Death, taxes, and your startup making it.

 

You hyped yet?


Want In?

Confirm for me you are a Pre-Revenue company. Fill out this form, and if it looks good, I'll schedule a quick Q&A call with you. Pre-Revenue = less than $10k MRR, OR less than $500k raised.

Name *
Name

I hope you join Hypeman Academy: Pitch Your Startup

 

With real sincerity,

 

RajNATION