Evan H Fisher is a Capital Raise & Investor Pitch Expert. He is the Founder and CEO of Unicorn Business Plans (UBP), a boutique consulting firm which develops ultra-premium pitch decks, business plans, cap-raise strategies and investor materials for founders and entrepreneurs raising $5-50m USD or exiting their businesses. He also manages Minimal Capital, an investment fund that syndicates investment from successful UBP alumni, for future superstars. Previously, Evan ran European Strategy for a VC-backed UK advertising business he helped fund, and before that he was Vice President of a Swiss boutique investment bank. To date, Evan’s work is responsible for over $2.2B invested in SMEs and funds. Evan speaks several foreign languages, including French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch, and in his spare time he enjoys scuba diving and playing tennis with his family.
What is your business and what do you do?
Unicorn Business Plans is a boutique consulting firm which develops ultra-premium investor pitch decks, business plans, cap-raise strategies and investor materials for founders and entrepreneurs raising $5-50 million or exiting their businesses. Our team includes EY, McKinsey and PWC alumni, and we deliver better investor decks than what you’ll get on Wall Street, for a fraction of the price – and our clients are successfully raising their entire rounds over 80% of the time. We’re a little different from the rest, in that we probably focus on working with later-stage & more mature businesses than others out there. Our sweet spot is the “Late Seed / Series A – and later” level that are about to approach a new cohort of potential shareholders that have different expectations from those who invested last round. Major industries we operate in are Biotech, Medtech, SaaS, AI/ML, Fintech (insurance / remittances / lending), Funds (LP Decks for VCs / PE / Hedge / RE funds), Alternative Medicines and Consumer. And our clients are putting their decks in front of the hottest VCs and Strategics out there, including names like SoftBank, Sequoia, DFJ, Index, Khosla, Matrix, Netflix, LVMH and Sir Richard Branson.
What sparked your vision to launch your business?
One day, a former client was telling me about how he was so frustrated with “the investment banker special” pitch deck: “How is it that investment bankers these days think it’s OK to give me a pitch deck that is black-and-white words on a page, not convincing, too much financial detail… if I were the investor receiving that, I’d throw it out. As a business we spend so much money on our brand, clearly defining our competitive advantages, and streamlining our sales process – why don’t those things come through in our pitch deck, when we’re literally asking someone to write a check for 8 figures into our company?” It was at that moment that I realized: I can do a better job than those guys, so why not give it a shot?
What has been your favorite failure and what did you learn?
The one that sticks out most in my mind is one specific startup I was consulting with many years ago. I started off with a very small role, but gradually got more involved with the business, to the point that I was de-facto CFO, COO and CEO negotiating a deal with a publicly-listed company. The main difficulty was that the deal would require the startup to swallow an elephant in one bite – and the prospect of agreeing to swallow that elephant was just too much to take on in good conscience, so in the end I stepped aside and let the team decide what they wanted to do. It ended up being the right decision, but the lesson was Start Small and Grow Profitably – because there’s a much greater chance you’ll make it to the finish line.
What was your most memorable day of your career and why?
We’ve had a lot of “firsts” in our journey, but I think the biggest one in recent memory is when Cybin (NEO:CYBN) went public. This is an innovative psilocybin play, operating in both the D2C and biotech verticals. The market went super-hot for these guys, and they ended up raising the largest pre-RTO raise that the industry has ever seen (and to top it off, they closed the raise within just weeks of us turning the deck back to them – amazing job by their team!). It was a wonderful $45M raise for Cybin, and now they’re public on the NEO with a super-bright future ahead.
How do you continue to learn so you stay ahead in your industry?
I read – a lot. And I also regularly do professional development courses. It’s not only that I enjoy upskilling, it’s also extremely helpful to stay up on current developments that might end up provoking the next multimillion dollar idea for you. The best investment you can make is in your own skillset.
How do you manage stress from running a successful business?
I try to keep a healthy work balance, and keep my priorities straight. Family is most important, so maintaining healthy family relationships will always take precedence over anything work-related. Even though I’m no poster child, I try to keep physically healthy by regularly working on my tennis game and eating right. If you make sure the rest of your life is in order, business success is much easier to achieve.
What is some bad advice you hear in your industry or with entrepreneurship that people should avoid?
In recent years, there has been far too much emphasis put on hustle. “Hustle Culture” is good, but only in moderation. Too much hustle causes burnout. I break it down to two things: Work Hard, and Work Smart. Work Hard has a limit, and you’ve got to define your own threshold based on what is healthy and sustainable for you. Work Smart is limitless though. So in order to maximize productivity, I’d rather be the smartest-working person, than the hardest-working.
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