Leverage early investors when raising a Series A, says DeepScribe’s Akilesh Bapu

Raising a Series A is a different ball game from raising a seed round, and for Akilesh Bapu, CEO and co-founder of AI-powered medical transcription platform DeepScribe, giving prospective investors a hard deadline while leaning on early investors for support and guidance made all the difference.

“We were at this trajectory as a company where we had a semblance of product-market fit,” said Bapu, reflecting on the summer of 2021. “We had proven our product. We had about 200 live customers on the platform… We were excited about bringing DeepScribe to more customers and looking for the best partners to us there — not just in the short term but also in the long term. We had a long-term vision… and wanted a partner that bought into that vision.”

Eventually, the company closed a $30 million Series A round led by Index Ventures partner Nina Achadjian, as the duo discussed on the latest episode of TechCrunch Live, our weekly program featuring entrepreneurs, developers and investors. The entire episode is available below, along with a portion of DeepScribe’s Series A pitch deck.

If not for the fact that Bapu and his team had set deadlines for the funding round, he said DeepScribe might have not partnered with Index — Achadjian was on vacation when she read their pitch and tried to push the meeting to the following week, but Bapu said the process was moving fast. They met the following day.

Afterwards, Achadjian was sold. “When I walked out of the meeting, I went immediately to one of my partners, and was like, ‘Finally, I found the company that is following the right approach,” she said.

When I walked out of the meeting, I went immediately to one of my partners, and was like, ‘Finally, I found the company that is following the right approach.’ Nina Achadjian

She added that this was a critical win for DeepScribe, as it’s essential to leave potential investors fired up and armed with a few bullet points, including on the team and market.

Prepare for due diligence

Since Index was interested in DeepScribe, the firm started conducting due diligence.

Achadjian said founders can expedite the process by anticipating questions, especially on market size and competitive landscape. Companies can also provide investment firms with summaries of customer call notes.

“Then we come up with a list of key questions we want to go deep on,” Achadjian said. “What’s the business model? How do you scale? References. I actually called one of Akilesh’s Berkeley professors. We do a lot of customer calls and check references on the entrepreneurs. Then, honestly, we like to spend time with the team and see them in different environments.”