I've scouted 100+ venture-backed startups from my bedroom in Phoenix, AZ. AMA!

In 2018 after my 6th Y Combinator rejection, I started a podcast called Forward Thinking Founders to help me get more networked in the tech world. 700 episodes later, I have met many founders of billion-dollar companies when the ideas were only seeds. Here is a small list of companies I've met and how much they've raised since.

On Deck - Has now raised $23M
Deel - Has raised $204M
Fast - has raised $125M
Yotta Savings - Has raised $16M
And many more...

I've learned the characteristics of these founders and have created a company called Seedscout to find more of these founders around the world. We scout companies we think are destined for greatness based on our pattern recognition for it, and we display their information in an app for investors to view. We charge investors $20/mo to access this data. Right now we have about $700 MRR after launching last week.

The core motivation for this company is driven by something that doesn't feel right about the venture capital industry. I have also written dozens of articles on the perverse incentives of VC firms and why no one is incentivized to fund certain types of founders. Due to this, there is a widening gap between the founders who are getting funded but shouldn't, and the founders not getting funded who should be. I am on a mission to change how founders get backed through Seedscout , and I am excited to spend some time in Indiehackers to answer questions about my journey.

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    Hey Mat, I was curious about who some of your guests were on the podcast - also do you have a link to it?

    Also, with the companies you listed here - On Deck, Deel, Fast - did you help them raise $$?

    With SeedScout - who are some of your competitors in the market? What were some of the channels you used to get it to $700 this first week at launch and what's your plan to scale it? How far are you looking to take it $$-wise?

    Alot of questions I know lol thanks

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      Great questions!

      1. Check out the podcast here --> https://www.forwardthinking.fm/. You can see all of our guests there. All 730 of them! :) Top guests were Eric Ries, Austen Allred, Leah Culver, Etc.

      2. We do help companies raise money now, but we did not help THOSE companies raise money. Listing them really shows the world that we have good deal flow signal, and if they would have been a Seedscout customer when the startups were scouted, they could have had the chance to invest (not guaranteed of course).

      Note, we are inventing a new meaning for "scouting". Yes, for many firms, it means investing out of a small checkbook for a larger firm. But these programs are notoriously private. You can't really find anything online about them. For me, I thought this was a great opportunity to redefine what scouting means for the rest of the world. So far it's working!

      1. Competitors: Crunchbase, Pitchbook, and ZoomInfo come to mind today. But I am honestly not too worried about them. We are rethinking data from the point of access. They got big on scraping data and pushy sales teams. We are cut from a different cloth. The competition that will be more relevant over time is AngelList and Y Combinator's startup school. Tbh, I think AngelList is doing a pretty good job in this space and I hope we both win. But with them as the #2 ;)

      2. Launch week - I honestly Tweet way too much so I just tweeted my little heart out and it worked! I'm sure my newsletter and podcast drove some traffic too. But I do think that Twitter is my main channel for sales right now. My twitter - https://twitter.com/Mat_Sherman

      3. We want to organize the world's talent like Google organized the world's information. So we want to go the whole way and never stop. We'll do what it takes, capital-wise, to get there.

      Great questions, thanks for asking them!

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    Hey Mat - um, $20 seems incredibly low! If you're offering investors the chance to make a lot of money why are you charging so little? Just real talk :)

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    Interesting concept Mat - thanks for sharing and congrats on the monetization.

    I'm curious, who are the "scouts" for seed scout? Is it just you at this time?

    I work with early stage startups on all things growth related and I've been looking for ways to get more involved in scouting. As you've mentioned, becoming a scout for a big VC isn't really all that accessible to the layman like myself and I'm curious if with what you're building if it's going to be a bit of a "double sided marketplace" for scouts and early stage companies who're looking for early funding ops.

    Angellist just announced their new feature "deal partners" which allows anyone to receive deal level carry for a particular deal - angellist.com/blog/introducing-deal-partners - which is pretty cool but still I'd have to be affiliated with some VCs / angels in order to provide them with some deal flow.

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      I actually just found your YT video response to deal partners haha

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    Thats very interesting Matt, well done.

    I am working up a similar thing in a subset of your group (interviewing the 75% of VC funded startups that crash and burn AFTER incubation AND VC funding (and interviewing the VCs that funded them) - not the pivots, the ones that just ....... disappeared:)

    Initial research shows that the lessons that can be learned from this group (and can be useful to other founders and VCs) aren't so much about the product fit or the concept but all of the (boring to founders) other business bits that are needed for delivery at scale.

    Including founders not knowing when they need to get out of the cockpit and hand over the con:)

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    What's in it for the founders that you scout and whats the criteria you're using to define "greatness"? I get the investors get the data for $20/month, but whats their avg. investment? how many founders are already signed up on your platform?

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      What's in it for the founders-

      The founders get:

      • A podcast recording out of it that they can share + use to practice their story.
      • A slack instance with every other founder to meet others like them
      • Access to the Seedscout app where they can meet investors, get discounts, etc

      And all of this is 100% free for founders.

      What is greatness - The criteria for greatness is kinda a hack. The longer you stay in the market the higher your chance for greatness goes up. So any founder that stays in the game long enough has a chance of being truly great. There's other qualities we care about too but persistence is #1 and it's not even close.

      What is the avg investment - On the actual platform in the last week and a half, the average investment is about $25,000.

      How many founders are signed up - We've scouted about 1,250 founders at this point.

      Great questions!

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