Tweener Fund Resources (September 2023)

September 12, 2023
Scot Wingo

(Periodically we'll repost the email we send to our Tweener Fund portfolio CEOs minus some of the "CEO exclusive" material left out)

It's been 2 weeks since the last set of resources and we have 5 things to update you on, so no pre-amble this time, let's get into it->

Contents: (<8 min read)

o Free Students from Duke - (3mins)

o Free Rent* - (1 min)

o Two amazing IPO roadshows - the Olympics of pitching, see how the best pitch - (1min read, 90mins to watch both - time well worth it)

o Free+Friendly Pitch event - (2 mins)

o Startup scaler available - (1 min)

-------- Free students from Duke -----------

One of the best things about building a biz in the Triangle is our three core universities.  All three have programs where you can give students experience, they get credit and you get 'free interns'. Duke's always had one of the top programs in this space and I've utilized it probably ~15x over the years.  Duke recently consolidated all their Innovation + Entrepreneurship into this I&E center with a new leader, Jamie Jones . They have a very cool new space, you should go see it- always makes me wish I was a student again, then I remember test stress and snap out of it.

Ok, I&E has a new Mentor in Residence + Adjunct Professor, Frank Pollock, who is running the program.  These students (mostly undergrads, some masters, some PHDs) are in their cornerstone class for I+E and this is a big part of their grade.  Pro tip, I always like to give folks a project with a start and stop that matches their timeframe and has an output at the end (usually a presentation or short paper type thing).   Another pro tip, you can't use these folks for smiling and dialing, so no sneaking them into BDR roles disguised as 'research' (umm, call 200 fleet managers and find out what vendor they are using and suggest they use Spiffy - don't do that.). Frank has some suggested projects here, and if you are interested, reach out to Frank directly and be sure to tell him that Tweener Fund sent 'cha!  


  • Market sizing: What is the current market landscape, size, and opportunity for [potential new product]
  • Product launch: What should my go-to-market strategy and considerations be for [potential new product]?
  • Partnerships: Who are potential key customers in [potential business segment], how much potential business do they have, and who are potential key contacts?
  • Competitive Analysis: What are other companies doing in [potential business segment]? What can be inferred about their strategy?
  • Fundraising: What VCs align with my story or my company’s product or industry?
  • Talent & Culture: What benefits are other series [pre-seed, A, B, etc.] providing? What are the best practices for [organization practice]? What types of vendors and services are available to provide [potential employee benefit]?
  • Brand Strategy: How do customers perceive my brand today? Does that align with my target brand voice goal? How might I plan for my brand to meet the needs of future customers?

They are open to other ideas too, but no BDR/SDR/inside sales ;-)

-------- Free rent -----------

Tweener Fund CEO exclusive....

-------- Two IPO Roadshows (ACT FAST) -----------

The corollary to my ABP philosophy is ABWP - Always Be Watching Pitches.  I learn so much from watching others pitch, some things I love, some things I see that I don't think work so know to avoid them.  You can sometimes get this exposure if you go to a pitch event or the local CED Venture Connect pitch event.  But what if you want to watch the best of the best?  When you take a company public you go on this grueling pitch marathon for a week or two called the IPO Roadshow.  You hit 10-20 cities, doing 5-10 pitches a day, some groups, some 1:1, and you have to nail it every time.  To prepare for this you spend an incredible amount of time and effort crafting your story, making the graphics perfect, etc.

It's a little known fact that due to Reg FD, each company is required to release a version of their roadshow online at this not well known site. The videos are only up for 7-10 days, so you have to act fast.   The two companies are Instacart and Klaviyo (SaaS email marketing software - MarTech, built on shopify).  Both are excellent. CART has more of a video and sep presentation whereas Klaviyo has a unified video.  Each is about 40mins long and they are the top 1% of pitches you will ever see.  They make it look easy, but what they are doing is extremely hard.

How to watch:

1. Go to

2. In the left you will see 'current shows'

3. Pick Instacart or Klaviyo and watch them.  Note for bonus you are obviously free to watch the ARM pitch or the other biotechs on there.

(for instacart I recommend watching the video only first, then the slides second.  I'm super envious of a couple of the instacart slides, they are next level.


-------- Triangle Pitch Event -------------
The Founder Institute (FI) has a cool event coming up 9/19 - it's a pitch event with 4 great judges.  My philosophy is ABP - Always Be Pitching and you can fill out a pretty simple form to see if they accept you into the pitch competition.  4 friendlies for a pitch with a bit of pressure as it's a competition-ish thing, sign me up!  Details here.

-------- Startup Scaler available -----------

Startup executive looking for next gig. Details exclusive to Tweener Fund CEOs...

Thanks everyone, we hope you enjoyed this issues set of resources!


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