in its own In words, Front is a customer communication hub that focuses teams on what technology can’t replace: every conversation that strengthens the customer relationship. The company recently raised $65 million in a funding round at a $1.7 billion valuation. Notably, the company has actually published all of its past funding decks publicly, meaning it’s a rare opportunity to follow a company’s journey from its first growth funding round to the present.
From round to round, company CEO Mathilde Collin explains the evolution of the company and how it is positioned in the market. She wrote one of the clearest breakdowns of how the purpose of each round evolved:
- the seed: “We are a good team with a big market opportunity.”
- Series A: “We have proof of product-market fit ($1M ARR)” — see the company’s Series A pitch deck.
- Series B: “We have leverage (we know how to spend money to grow faster)” — see the company’s Series B pitch deck.
- Series C: “We understand our market, which unlocks new levers of growth (outbound & upmarket)” — see the company’s Series C pitch deck.
- Series d: “We understand what makes our position unique in this market and why our mission is more important than ever.”
So, let’s see how knowledge of the market position translates into a pitch story.
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Slides in this deck
The front’s pitch deck is pretty tight, an 11-slide deck that opens with a mic drop, and, well, these must be some butter-slathered microphones, because it’s definitely slippery — the company keeps dropping mics as the slides progress. On the first skim, I panic as I realize that I need to find things about these slides that I need to improve.
But! I’m brave, so let’s give it a go.
- Cover slide
- “Introductory Key Numbers” — Traction-summary slide
- “Innovative, growing, next-gen companies use Front to align teams, execute faster & deliver world-class services” — Social Proof Slide
- “Customer Communication Hub” — Product Slide
- “A Huge Market Opportunity” — Market Description Slide
- “Typical Usage in Our Main Use Cases” — Solution Slide
- “A better product, at scale” — scaling slide
- “Strong fundamentals continue to grow stronger” — Metrics/Traction Slide
- “An ambitious vision that few companies can deliver” – Vision Slide
- “Built to Last” — summary slide
- “Thank you” — closing slide
Slide Deck is very close to what was pitched by the company’s founding team, with a few minor modifications. The company blanked out the revenue data on slide 2, hid some customers on slide 3, and placed the graphs on slide 8, removing the numbers from the company axes.
Three things to love
First of all, this is one of the best slide decks I’ve ever seen. It tells a tight and compelling story without using too many words.
How do you start a pitch!
When you’re raising angel funds or your first institutional money, you can mobilize with a vision, a dream, and a small hope or two. By the time you raise a growth round — typically your Series A and beyond — you need more than a wing and a prayer. And if you’re raising at a $1.7 billion valuation? Forget about it. Hard data that proves you’ve discovered what your market dynamics are non-negotiable.
Although slide 2 has been edited somewhat, you get the picture: the company came out of the gate showing that it knew why it sat across the table from a venture capital firm: traction, baby, and a plan for what comes next.
If I were an investor in this space, slide 2 alone would be enough to bring the company to a second meeting.
When you get to your Series D, if you don’t have traction, you’re dead in the water. That means unless you’re raising money for something new and exciting (a new product or a brand new market expansion), you can open with your traction.
So yes, the front has arrived that Right, but it also shows that it knows what metrics matter. ARR, ARR growth and retention is critical. The rest of the figures are eye candy, but, I mean, look at that eye candy! If I were an investor in this space, this slide alone would be enough to bring the company to a second meeting.
Owning the market
Call me ignorant, but until Front submitted its pitch deck for teardown (which you can do too!), I had never heard of the company. Slide 4 is really elegant: it shows a screenshot of the product with callouts showing what its customers love about it. But slide 5 shows the company’s product and its position in the market brilliantly. It also does a really subtle job, which I’ll come back to in a moment.
I love a good two-by-two graph in a pitch deck because it really helps show how a company positions itself in the market and differentiates itself from its customers. Front’s fifth slide can be read a few different ways, but when I looked at it, I immediately noticed this: “If it’s inbound and important, use Front.” That means the platform can be used for high-priority customer support interactions, inbound sales, inside sales, and general customer communications.
It is a the hell A slice of the market. It also shows that Front cannot compete with a large number of low-impact customer support tools. Whether that’s a good idea can be left as an exercise for the reader, but it’s elegant, clear, and shows that the company has great discipline.
The other good thing – the subtle part of this slide that I just mentioned – has to do with market expansion. One important thing that comes to my mind when I look at this slide is how the company can expand its market. There are two logical options: inbound everything (take even the low-value inbound communications currently covered by more generic support tools) or everything valuable (to enable outbound sales and marketing communications and take Salesforce at its core business. )
Either way, it’s a clean slide that does a lot of the heavy lifting, and I can see it sparking a lively discussion in a pitch meeting.
Flexing your customer use cases
Slide 6 Shaking my head and muttering “yes” under my breath. Besides having more text than I’d like, the company does a few things right here.
First, it showcases some of its most famous customers. Pilot, Shopify, Lead1 and Lydia are well-established brands and seeing them on this slide is a reminder of how far Front has come in its market penetration. It’s genius to explain how each company uses the platform, because the four use cases are very different, and it shows both the value and flexibility of the tool.
The real stroke of genius, however, is the final sentence on each of these use cases. Avoid the temptation to talk about front features or use cases. Instead, it talks about the value proposition that each of these customer groups offers. Perfect, and Exactly Here’s what you need to do on a slide like this. 75% reduction in SLA violations? 10% off on back and forth cams? Reduce response time from 13 to five hours? Anyone who handles inbound customer requests knows how monumental those results are, and the front-end tools bring tremendous value.
This is beautifully done and I have bookmarked this slide in my “how you do this” folder. You wouldn’t believe how many companies get this painful mistake.
In the rest of this teardown, we’ll look at three things the front could improve or do differently, along with its full pitch deck!
Three things that can be improved
With a $1.7 billion valuation and all the incredible praise I’ve already showered on this slide deck, it’s worth celebrating. But, as always, there are one or two details.
How do you make a contest slide?
As much as I liked the market positioning slide (Slide 5), I was struck by the lack of competitors listed. Yes, Front is likely to dominate its market. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other tools out there that cover aspects of what Front does, and it seems a bit presumptuous not to include them as part of the story.
I don’t care how old you are, I just want to know what competitors you’re watching. And (perhaps in an appendix) I’d like to see a SWOT analysis of what poses an active threat or may do so in the future.
So, what are you going to do with the money?
Front raised $65 million. That’s a lot of leverage for any business, and my immediate question is: “What are you going to do with the cash?” I was hoping for an operating plan in this deck, but instead they’re likely to have long- and near-term financials in spreadsheets. I don’t like it, but it’s okay, I get it.
The only excuse I can think of for not including near-term plans is if the fundraising is earmarked for an IPO, and the money will mostly go toward preparing the company for a listing.
However, I didn’t realize that the deck was almost completely backwards facing. I understand that traction is crucial and impressive, but you raise money because you need cash to change anything. the future Your company is visible. There is nothing in this deck about this. Is the company going to expand its market? Recruit more staff? Is it pivoting products? Is there going to be a marketing push?
The only excuse I can think of for not including near-term plans is if the fundraising is earmarked for an IPO, and the money will mostly go toward preparing the company for a listing. If that’s the case, you’ll want to play your cards close to your chest until that happens, and it makes sense not to include it in the pitch deck.
Since this is the only reason I can think of not to include future plans, I’m 70% certain the company will file an S-1 and go through the IPO process next year. Front, if so, you don’t have to accept it; Send me a postcard or something with a smiley face on it after your S-1 drops. I called ;-).
You can do better on the market side of things
As much as I like the market outline slide, it says nothing about the size of the local or global market. This is unforgivable, because for a company to grow aggressively, it wants to know how much it can grow before taking its entire serviceable obtainable market (SOM) and how it can expand its addressable market (SAM).
There’s no way Front hasn’t spent a lot of time thinking about this, and there’s no way it won’t be challenged on this during the fundraising and due diligence process. You can grab that particular bovine by its horns, lead the conversation and put it front and center on the slide.
Full pitch deck
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