Case Study: How Joe DeWulf Leverages Visible to Streamline Novel's Investor Communications

Belle Raab

About Novel

Novel is a Los Angeles-based software startup led by Joe DeWulf. Novel helps e-commerce brands easily embed shoppable short-form video content from social platforms like TikTok and Instagram on their websites. The result is an increase in the website visit duration and a 20%+ increase in webpage revenue for their customers.

Joe pivoted the company towards the end of 2022 and officially launched Novel in January 2023. The company is demonstrating exciting traction with the number of influenced sales for their customers growing from one million per month in September to over five million influenced sales in November.

Novel has been a Visible user since 2022 and during that time Joe has grown his engaged investor network from 100 to 500 investors and keeps them up to date using Visible.

Cumbersome investor management in Excel

Before finding Visible, Joe was tracking investor contacts in Excel documents which he noted was very cumbersome. He would manually keep investor records up to date and track basic information like ‘interested’ or ‘not interested’. Then Joe would send out one standardized email with his list of investors in BCC. This non-tailored approach wasn’t ideal because all investors received the same content even if their interests and characteristics varied. There was also no way to track open or engagement rates with the email.

Joe thought there had to be an easier way to keep his investor contacts more organized in different lists so he could tailor his communications and went searching for a fundraising CRM for startups.

Leveraging Visible to send regular updates to investors

Joe’s primary use case when he joined Visible was to start sending out regular, professional investor updates to current and potential investors to increase awareness about their company’s growth and fundraising journey. The first update was sent on Feb 15, 2022 to 104 people and had an open rate of 78%.

The content of the first update included:

  • Business timeline
  • Company overview & product in development
  • Highlights
  • Lowlights
  • Asks
  • Product

By using Visible’s Connect Database, asking for investor introductions, and organically growing his network, Joe has grown his list of engaged current and potential investors to over 500+ people that he keeps up to date with Visible.

Managing fundraising pipelines

In addition to being able to more easily send out regular communication to investors using Visible, Joe is also able to more strategically manage potential investors using Visible’s fundraising pipeline.

Joe commented that he’s now able to more easily keep track of multiple points of contact at an investment firm, typical check size, whether they are a lead or not. These criteria help determine whether the investor is a good fit before reaching out to the investor.

Novel has multiple fundraising pipelines in Visible which mirrors the fluid approach required to raising capital in today’s highly competitive fundraising environment. Joe started with a pipeline targeting traditional seed-stage VCs and then widened the approach to also targeting high-net-worth individuals as well as investors who back companies at an even earlier stage.

Joe commented that it was important to be able to quickly adjust his pipeline after paying attention to signals he was getting from investors that the prerequisites towards raising a seed round have changed.

Joe shared some advice for founders currently looking to fundraise --

“You need to be able to adapt, do research, create new contacts, and new pipelines, and manage them appropriately.”

The flexibility built into Visible’s fundraising pipelines lets startups quickly adapt to the feedback they get from the market and adjust their fundraising strategy accordingly.

Making an impression with professional deck-sharing solutions

Novel also utilizes Visible’s deck-sharing solution to socialize their company with potential investors. Joe said the deck-sharing solution is a major upgrade from his previous method of just sending a PDF because now he gets notified when investors are viewing the deck. He can also tell when the deck has been sent to other contacts and can understand which investors are spending the most time reviewing the deck.

Novel hosts multiple versions of their deck on Visible including a short version to pique the interest of investors with the goal of them booking a call and a longer more detailed version after he’s had initial conversations with investors.

Joe recently shared a popular LinkedIn post and in response was getting notifications that investors were going back and reviewing a pitch deck he had shared months previously.

Novel conclusions

Novel replaced disorganized Excel spreadsheets and lackluster investor communications with easy-to-use investor relations solutions designed specifically for founders. Today Novel uses Visible to keep its network of over 500 investors up to date about their company's traction and fundraising journey.

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