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“When I was on the call with Delphi Digital, I regretted only one thing — that I spent too much time on it myself”: The Bemo case study

How Bemo, first LSD on TON, went through 30+ investors, 21 calls with funds, and 2 due-diligence processes
Full name
11 Jan 2022
5 min read

The story in a nutshell

Product: Bemo, TON liquid staking


  • Pavel Altukhov (CEO and Founder) — has been in the crypto world since 2016, bringing over 20 years of experience in asset management and trading, plus 10 years of founding experience. Previously managed the VLG Capital fund.
  • Antony Bryantsev (CTO and Founder) — before joining the Bemo team, previously worked as a CTO at Arrival and a CPO at Fanzee Labs, a TON-based company that develops Web3 fan engagement platforms and successfully raised $2 million.
  • Alexey Ivanov (CPO) — specializes in quantitative research and investing. Previously held the position of Lead Quant at VLG Digital and has also worked in various investment companies, including WorldQuant.

Time at HUMANS: 4 months

Calls with VCs received: 21

Current due diligence: 2

What were Bemo’s needs? They had:

  1. Two-year-old business that Pavel bootstrapped, with a good track record. And a need to raise funds to become a key player on TON.
  2. No pitch deck, only one for partnership purposes;
  3. Questions about go-to-market strategies with no answers;

With extensive experience in crypto and 10 years of founding background under his belt, Pavel does understand how to build products. But seeing other founders struggle to gain traction and secure funding, he feared facing similar challenges — after all, the bear market does throw its curveballs.

Quote by Pavel Altukhov
Previously you could pitch your product to 3 investors and secure funding. Now? This number has increased to 30, 40... You have to try a lot of things, and in the end, there's no guarantee you'll close a deal.
— Pavel Altukhov, founder of Bemo Finance
Web3 Investment Report
And that’s true: According to Crunchbase, investment in Web3 startups dropped by 76% in the Q2 2023 compared to last year, with significant funding deals slowing down. But early-stage startups still raise money — with pre-seed and seed rounds accumulating a total of over $1 billion in funding in H1 2023, as CryptoRank reported.

Why did he choose HUMANS?

Pavel came to the get-to-know-call with us, where we together clarified the goals and objectives and decided on what was important for Bemo. It was:

  1. Speed: They needed to quickly get a pitch deck and start pitching to investors for funding.
  2. Expertise: As experts with a vast experience in crypto, it made no sense for the Bemo team to approach people without relevant experience. The advisors at HUMANS do provide a comprehensive market experience all in one place.
  3. Guarantee: For Bemo, with the goal to raise funds, it wasn't just about the deck but also its guaranteed distribution and connections with investors.
Web3 Investment Report
Why do we conduct the get-to-know meetings: The first meeting is not about selling you all our products, but about figuring out the blind spots you have and understanding what you really need to get those calls from investors.

"After getting feedback from investors, I realized that the issue wasn't about the intros"

Bemo's growth began with the surrounding community — it's the “place” where we surround startups with the right advisors, investors, and other founders to help them achieve their goals faster. In the case of Bemo — get funded. 

Here are the opportunities available inside the surrounding that Pavel went through:

1-1 sessions with advisors & Networking

After receiving initial feedback from the VC network on my deck, I realized that the issue wasn't about the intros. The deck was, and it needed fixing. And I also had huge questions about the Go-To-Market strategy — something that I needed to fix somehow as well.

Workshops & Lectures

I attended a number of workshops with VCs in the speakers line-up: with Miki Mak (Outlier Ventures) who shared insights on what to focus on before making your pitch, with Tatiana Hirschler (Polymorphic Capital) on how investors make decision on investing, and more. Love that a huge part of the workshop is dedicated to the Q&A session, where you can ask your product-specific questions and get some real advice.

Demo Days

The Demo Day with investors awaited Pavel at the end — we’ll share more about it just a little bit later. Spoiler: it brought him a solid half of the meetings with VCs.

"I didn't know what the hell I should do with our Go-to-Market strategy”

Quote by Pavel Altukhov
The HUMANS team took my deck to fix it, and all the while, I thought I still couldn't pitch properly because I had no clue about how to execute the GTM for Bemo. I was pondering how the typical GTM works, where to find our audience (as it's highly segmented and specific), whether I should leverage the gateway to retail through Telegram or not, and many more questions were swirling in my mind.
— Pavel Altukhov, founder of Bemo Finance
Pavel and Valerie during the advisory session
Quote by Pavel Altukhov
Fortunately, Humans helped me find an advisor - someone with the perfect experience and expertise, who helped us get clarity on our product and strategy. It was Valerie Tetu, who previously was responsible for GTM strategy at Lido Finance.
— Pavel Altukhov, founder of Bemo Finance

During the session, Pavel, together with the advisor, worked on new ideas and strategies for Bemo based on their short, mid, and long-term goals. They came up with multiple alternative strategies for each potential target segment (Telegram users, crypto natives, institutions, etc.), focused on addressing the needs and requirements of each segment, and understanding how Bemo can uniquely serve each one. After a few sessions, Bemo was able to select the target segment that they were best positioned to serve, and started brainstorming ideas on how to evolve the product and GTM strategy specifically for them.

Advisors' Notes
Advisors' Notes
Instead of trying to get users to come to us, we should find ways for our product to go to them. For instance, by leveraging Telegram as a distribution channel, we could create a new category of DeFi products with Telegram chat bots for a new audience. It not only presents an opportunity for Bemo to stand out, but also to reach and own a new market that was not touched before.
— Valerie Tetu, GTM at Lido.Finance

Getting a fixed pitch deck

While Pavel was dealing with GTM strategy, our team of the project manager, storyteller, and designer worked on the pitch deck.

There was a lot to consider because the team had a product, but there was a lack of understanding on how to present it effectively: investors didn't understand the TON/Telegram ecosystem, and it was crucial to explain it to them. 

We strictly adhere to the approach that:

  1. We don't pull information out of thin air.
  2. We don't make assumptions for the client.

While working on the pitch deck, we leverage the feedback of investors, our own expertise, and the client’s vision of the product. In the end, we went through five iterations in Figma because, for us, quality is more important than speed — although we delivered the final version within a month.

Quote by Pavel Altukhov
I had no idea where I could personally get feedback on the deck from several investors and experts in a week. If I did it myself, I could only rely on one-line answers that come together with rejections.
— Pavel Altukhov, founder of Bemo Finance

Main challenges solved:

  1. No clear proposition => Easy-to-understand slides of product vision

Bemo came to HUMANS with an underdeveloped positioning and struggled to define what their product was about: they had several products on TON, all revolving around staking, but they lacked a clear product vision: they were Liquid Staking Labs, then they considered being an incubator, and so on.

Together with the team, we worked on refining the product proposition. Then gathered feedback from different VCs in our network to find the one that works best. It was TON Liquid Staking.

Deck iterations in Figma (you have endless access to it even after the work done)
  1. Overcomplicated problem => Breaking it down to be more understandable

Together with Bemo we collectively worked on the problem/solution formula, identified the key problem, and broke it down into several slightly smaller problems. Then, we realized it was too complex and reduced it to just 2 key problems that seemed most critical.

Web3 Investment Report
For the solution slide we took an unusual approach for pitch decks by showing the traction – where the project started (Bemo’s current version) and where it’s heading now (what Bemo would become after the investment).
  1. First in the market => Showcasing that Bemo’s able to own a new market that wasn’t touched before

Bemo is the first to offer liquid staking on TON. And while being the first in the market brings several advantages, it also raises questions among investors about the necessity of staking on TON. 

That’s why we highlighted that the team is actively creating its own niche within the ecosystem by introducing incentive programs and various perks to stimulate engagement and participation. Some simple graphics helped do that without overcomplication.

  1. Young product => Team-Market-Fit

As Bemo is still a young product, but with a strong team behind it, it was crucial to showcase how competent the founders and team members are and how they can genuinely address the stated problem. To show that they have the necessary experience and expertise for it.

Web3 Investment Report
Every second investor claims that for an early-stage startup without much traction, it’s the team’s competence they pay the most attention to: both members’ past experience and their ability to solve the current product challenge.

The pitch deck was ready. Now, we could move on to the main part — the intros to funds.

First intros to Delphi Digital, Consensys Mesh, Outlier Ventures & others: “Guys, we’re finally receiving calls with VCs. This is crazy!”

When the final version was done, our Head of Content prepared Pavel to effectively package the product story and emphasize the key points for publication on the deal-flow channel, where his pitch deck was presented to over vetted 250 investors. 

The result? Bemo immediately received the first 4 expressions of interest, which converted into 3 calls with different funds: Outlier Ventures, WWVentures, and ABCDE.

After gathering more feedback, we began making introductions for Bemo to tier-1 investors, such as Delphi Digital, Consensys MESH, and Shima Capital. Those are highly relevant and open to opportunities on TON.

Pitching the new deck to 30+ investors

On October 20th, we invited Pavel to pitch his product with the new pitch deck at our Ready-to-Raise Demo Day. There, we brought together over 30 active investors from various funds and angel investors, including Pantera Capital, Polygon Ventures, Delphi Digital, Consensys MESH, Fabric Ventures, and many others. Pantera Capital showed immediate interest.

Quote by Pavel Altukhov
I thought that was it (which was already cool!), but then HUMANS suggested participating in the Demo Day with 30+ investors from some pretty big funds. And now, instead of criticism or rejections from VCs, I got this — investors from Delphi Digital asking for an urgent call even before the Demo Day.
— Pavel Altukhov, founder of Bemo Finance
Tommy Shaughnessy, Co-founder @ Delphi Digital, booking a call with Pavel before everyone sees his pitch deck at the Demo Day.
Quote by Pavel Altukhov
As a result, after pitching at the Demo Day, my calendar was booked with another 4 meetings with investors.
— Pavel Altukhov, founder of Bemo Finance

About the results:

Bemo went through various products of HUMANS and achieved the following:

  • Had a working business, but no investor outreach => we’ve delivered calls with our VC network to bring initial feedback;
  • There wasn’t any pitch deck for fundraising purposes => the new deck now clearly shows Bemo’s edge and brought calls with big VCs even before the Demo Day;
  • Pavel had issues with the Go-to-Market strategy => sessions with an advisor from Lido Finance helped to solve them.
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