Happy new year to all of you!

We came back in January refreshed and ready to roll ⛷️ .

Before I jump into the newsletter, I would like to start by wishing Anurag Agarwal – who is family before he becomes a colleague – all the best in his future endeavors. Anurag has decided to join Oman Tech Fund (OTF).  Anurag was a star at ArzanVC and his departure is a loss to the team and to me personally. He will continue to be one of ArzanVC’s family members and a reason why ArzanVC is what it is today. OTF, you’re lucky!

Back to our scheduled programming…
This month we kicked off construction on Blender, our coworking space. We’re renting out licensed office spaces as well as individual desk passes. Our founders get extra perks as well, which we’ll be sharing soon 💃 💃.   If you are looking for a space in Kuwait or know someone interested, hit us up here for more details.

We’ve also been looking at a couple of interesting companies and follow-on investments, and expect deals to pick up this quarter. In 2018, we are specifically interested in Saudi based startups! This is in line with our strategy to launch our KSA office in the next few months. In light of that, this month, we’re sharing our piece for founders on organizing documents.

Get your “house” in order

We’re beginning a new year and I’ve asked AVC Venture Partner Anurag to share his tips for founders on organizing documents ahead of a due diligence round…

📢 PSA for Founders: Time kills deals.  If there’s one surefire way to slow a deal down, it’s not having your data ready for investors when you approach them. Get yours in order asap, at least before Ramadan when slowness kicks in.

I have seen startups with well-structured data rooms close their deals faster and more efficiently.  In general, a data room can mean a physical room with your data, virtual data rooms or data centers. What I’m referring to here is a due diligence data room. A shareable folder where your company aggregates its legal, commercial and financial documents for review by a potential investor.

Let’s take a look…
First, this may sound straightforward, but make sure to put your company’s name on your folder. Otherwise, things get messy with your investors receiving 20 folders titled “Due Diligence.”

What goes in there?
Good question. Here’s what we consider our DD checklist at ArzanVC. You can keep it as a reference to help you structure your data room. We organize our checklist into 5 parts:

1. Corporate, Shareholders’ Information, & Legal Matters
This is all your incorporation related documents, copies of licenses, CAP table, previously signed term sheets and shareholding agreements.  If you’ve had several financing rounds, create a folder for each one, and make sure to include the term sheet and signed agreements.

2. Management & Personnel
Your organization chart, summary bios of founders or LinkedIn accounts. Got an ESOP already? This where you keep it.

3. Material Contracts for the Company
Which contracts are important will depend on your business. This doesn’t need to be all your confidential contracts and agreements. Use your judgment on what can be shared and what you consider ultra-confidential.  You can share contracts for leases, housekeeping services etc.

4. Product / Services / Competition & Intellectual Property
I can’t stress enough the importance of this folder – this is where the juice is.  Things we look for are:
–    Product roadmap;
–    market research information & market sizing;
–    list and analysis of competitors;
–    metrics and KPIs that you use to track performance.

5. Financial Information
Yes, for an early stage company, there might be minimal financial history and information. Still, this information should at least be included in an orderly manner. Build a proper business plan and forecast for at least 2 years ahead.

TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)

A data room is a reflection of your existing file structure. If you’re organized and on top of your record keeping, setting up a data room is a quick and simple exercise. Don’t leave it until the end, or you’ll be scrambling to put something together and it won’t look good in front of your potential investors.

🌟 BONUS: Tools of the trade
Continuing with the organization theme, here are tools we use every day:

Pipedrive: For our deal flow management. Very convenient to take the deal from receiving it to the final decision stage. We can integrate all email communication with the startup, have all our notes in one place, and upload all information and documents.

Slack: Streamlines communication between the team, with separate discussion rooms and topics.

Asana: Our tool of choice for task management, but there are many others you might prefer.

Our startups ❤️:
Tableau:    Measuring KPIs
Chartio:     Interface to your database and get data analytics
MixPanel:  Business analytics for mobile and web
Intercom:   Customer messaging apps & live chat
New Relic: Server monitoring and DevOps tools
Segment:   API integrations, especially analytics
Crazy Egg: Heatmaps, usability testing, and optimization
Sketch:       Design and prototyping
Invision:      Design and prototyping

Family Postcard
On the list
Artificial Intelligence startup Cognitev, was selected on the SAAS 1000 list, an index of the world’s fastest-growing SaaS companies.
Bring on the drivers
Careem is expanding to Iraq, reopening in two Palestinian cities, and hiring female drivers in Saudi Arabia.
It’s true: hardcover to your door
Online bookstore, Jamalon,  launched Jamalon Express, a service to deliver books to your doorstep within 48 hours.
Till next month, keep it real…
Hasan Zainal