How Content Helped Starday Set the Stage for Investors

Starday Foods is building the next great CPG conglomerate, using data science to predict product-market fit and create food brands. 

Through testing, insights, and machine learning models, they track shifts in consumer behaviors to detect pent-up demand and build brands and products that meet consumers' needs. By leveraging SaaS best practices, data and software are used to drive efficiency, repeatability, and scale that competes with legacy incumbents. 

Starday was an OG Verbatim client that we helped build specific, venture-focused content aimed at awareness and credibility in investor circles to help raise funds. We sat down with Chaz Flexman, Starday CEO and co-founder, to get the rundown on:

  1. How content lays the foundation for better conversations
  2. Why Starday specifically targeted an audience of investors
  3. Finding the right content partner to craft the Starday narrative
“Content provides a base for multiple conversations; you can internally apply it to ramp up your team and externally apply it when fundraising and hiring.”

Why Starday Built Content Aimed at Investors

Long-form content dispelled the confusion around Starday’s purpose. 

Starday’s initial content use case was as a jumping-off point for pitching to investors, who were then teed up to understand that Starday isn’t just another DTC food business.

To be clear, Starday is anything but run of the mill – it’s a software business disguised as a bunch of food brands that are sold omni channel. 

Content was vital in building the initial awareness of that fact. 

The initial push for investor-focused content came from existing investor and board observer Will Quist at Slow Ventures. His content emphasis for Starday was based on the idea of consensus and nonconsensus bets. 

(For example, a PM at Stripe leaving to start a FinTech company is a consensus bet.)

As VC has generally doubled down on consensus bets, there are more and more reasons for companies to show how they fit into a mental framework that people already understand.

People always assumed Starday was a food and beverage company when it’s really a data science and software company in the food industry. Chaz was sick of trying to define his brand’s actual niche to every new person he met. He needed to get Starday’s story out there. 

Will’s suggestion helped Chaz see that long-form content was the best way to accomplish this.

“Whether it's through partner meetings or investor pitches, developing a series of logical steps showing the opportunities around what you're doing is the goal.”

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How Verbatim Kickstarted Starday’s Content Engine

Chaz was dogged by a set of questions– tactically, how do you refute arguments against you? How do you tell your own story in the most unimpeachable manner?

The answer is it’s a matter of distilling the main things you want to explain about yourself and then telling the company story in a way that leads people to those points.

While Chaz is very good as an orator and a pitcher, he admits that long-form writing is not his strong suit. He’d rather hop on a call than write an email because it matches his strengths. The issue was phone calls don’t scale, so Chaz needed great writers to produce his editorials.

Investors could provide recommendations and intros, but neither freelancers nor content agencies struck the right tone for Starday’s early content engine. 

Enter Verbatim – our interviews, tone, and content prioritization solved Chaz’s problem.

The Verbatim team stepped in to guide the content development process from end to end, kicking off with independent research and expert sessions – then shifting into a workflow of distilled nuanced arguments and drafting the final content assets for Starday.

Chaz points out that this synthesis component – Verbatim’s ability to distill nuance and industry context – was particularly valuable to him and his team.

Creating a Seamless Drafting Workflow

The content workflow is complex. It moves from the idea stage to a content calendar, to recording, drafting, pulling investors, doing edits, and reaching a final cut.

Having high-profile folks as editors and collaborators developed a pool of Starday evangelists. 

It was a sort of exercise in social proof and co-amplification – getting in front of the right investors to ensure they read the content, thought about it, and understood it.

“Verbatim had a core understanding of the ideas and thesis behind Starday. This meant they could tell our story without me having to fill in every single gap.”

The Role of Content in Priming New Investor Conversations

Chaz thinks about pitching, like taking someone on a ride on the freeway. 

There are a bunch of different exit ramps, and you're trying to block off as many exit ramps as possible to keep them on the freeway and heading in the direction of your choosing.

Content was the shortcut to skipping past the first ten exits, which are questions like:

  • “Why are you building software? I thought you were just launching brands.”
  • “Wait, I thought you were just building Pattern for F&B?” 
  • “What about your economics?”
  • “Why are you selling wholesale?”

Chaz could send articles instead of re-answering questions that distracted from Starday’s core underlying thesis. Content launched him to the point of an informed conversation, so Chaz could spend more time on topics that actually furthered Starday.

When he started talking to investors and sending Starday content as a primer beforehand, investors began the conversation by saying, “I get it now.”

Because Starday was having a very different conversation with investors than the classic DTC brand, where investors are basing diligence on just performance metrics, Chaz leveraged Verbatim content to differentiate against the assumed competition.

“We're saying, ‘No, no, no. What we do on the back end is quite different.’ Content helped investors look past their surface-level perception of us.”

The Outsized ROI of Content in Storytelling

A great content engine can sweep away the cobwebs around a brand’s core message.

Chaz gives an example of a company he referred to Verbatim: Vividly (formerly Cresicor). 

Few people understand the space they operate in, promotion management, hundreds of billions of dollars category that relies on antiquated processes and platforms. Vividly shares the space with some unsexy, tired companies. 

In this situation, how do you prime someone, so they understand the space before showing them the problem and your solution? Chaz emphasizes that “Vividly needed to tell their story.” 

The best way to go from non-consensus to consensus and help people understand your foundational points is long-form content. He suggests working directly with Verbatim, who:

  1. Deeply understands the space, industry, or ecosystem you’re building in
  2. Are great operators and writers that can nail the end-to-end editorial process
“It's not just, ‘Hey, let me dress up these words you're saying out loud.’ It's, ‘Here are the concepts and a thesis to pull together the elements into a real story.’”
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