3 key takeaways for startups looking for investment during the pandemic, from execs who just raised $50 million

  • Livestreaming startup Restream raised $50 million in new funding amid the pandemic.
  • Executives at the startup told Business Insider that VCs asked for hard numbers, and wanted to know how the pandemic was impacting the business strategy.
  • "The pandemic has put a new lens on how everyone thinks about business and I think that's the same for VCs," said Morgan Schwanke, head of business development at Restream.
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Livestreaming startup Restream raised $50 million in new funding amid the pandemic.

Restream, which announced it closed the series-A round in August, started fundraising in earnest in April as many parts of the world were in lockdown and businesses were adjusting to remote work. 

Execs at Restream told Business Insider that they decided to raise money after VCs started reaching out to the startup. The pandemic was drawing more attention livestreaming, and Restream helps creators livestream to multiple platforms like YouTube and LinkedIn at once.

There were subtle differences in the VCs questions this time around, compared with Restream's seed round that closed in early 2018.

"The pandemic has put a new lens on how everyone thinks about business and I think that's the same for VCs," said Morgan Schwanke, Restream's head of business development.

The company spotted three main takeaways when pitching investors during the pandemic: 

  • VCs wanted to know how the startup's premise was holding up during the pandemic. Schwanke, the head of business development, said potential investors asked questions like: How was Restream's business strategy impacted by the pandemic? And, was the recent lift in livestreaming a fad or lasting trend? Restream, which was founded to help gamers livestream to Twitch and YouTube simultaneously, told the VCs that it was expanding its focus amid the pandemic to serve the other kinds content creators that were joining the platform, including musicians, politicians, influencers, publishers, non-profit organizations, and other businesses.
  • Potential investors were more interested in hard numbers than they were during Restream's seed round. VCs asked most about revenue growth and profit margins. The company said it was profitable as of 2020. "We started getting questions more about unit economics," said Alexander Khuda, cofounder and CEO.

  • Even in the pandemic, some investors wanted to seal the deal in person. Khuda said Restream wasn't able to close one deal because partners at the firm wanted to wait until it was safe for them to meet in person. Khuda said his livestreaming startup would have been a different kind of investment for this firm, which may have influenced their thinking. But founders might have an easier time accommodating these kinds of requests as things start to open up again.

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