1. Digital product design is a robust part of your business strategy and can help you secure Series A funding.
2. Investors care for design aspects that prove your solution has the potential to convert users, compete, and make a positive ROI.
3. Critical digital product design areas to focus on include product-market fit, user experience, competitive landscape, and scalability.
4. A tested MVP helps startups looking to secure Series A funding mitigate the risks of wasting money and time on final development and provide investors with a real product.
You and your product already have been through a journey of seed funding, gained some traction, and are now ready to move up to the next level — Series A investments.
And you know how it is — the higher you aim, the bigger the hill to climb. At this point of your funding endeavor, it’s not enough to have a great idea — investors look for solid evidence that your great idea can make great profits.
That’s a challenge. Get this, according to CB Insights, only 46% of seed-funded startups raise a second round.
How to claim your place on this side of statistics? Business-focused digital product design can be your true ally.
Buckle up, because we’re setting out to discover how to leverage it and boost your chances to secure Series A funding.
Digital product design — do investors really care about it?
The short answer is yes. But to be more specific — investors look for digital product design aspects that prove your solution has what it takes to convert your target audience, scale, compete, and ultimately make a strong ROI.
And if you aim to secure Series A funding and see that your solution needs to reshape or pivot to get it, that’s when product design services enter the scene. Yes, they cover business goals, not just a pretty interface with show-stopping animation or appealing visuals.
Design is a strategy that with the right approach helps you refine your product and show investors its potential to be a robust market player.
Key digital product design areas that are must-haves for investors
You may have already heard of scary statistics that 35% of startups fail because there’s no need for their product. Investors probably know this number too. They love when things align and hate taking unnecessary and costly risks that jeopardize that. Product-market fit helps achieve the former and eliminate the latter. It proves you did your homework, validated your offer with the target audience, and uncovered a lucrative market need for it.
There’s no way around it. Either you build your digital product design process around users’ needs, or you lose. And investors know that well. They look for startups that create solutions without assumptions, but with people using them in their minds. Showing VCs that you know what your target audience expects, have a robust strategy to provide it, and generate profit catches investors' attention.
“Who are your competitors?” is one of the top questions investors would like you to answer. Why? Because they want to understand the competitive environment your startup operates in and assess if it’s feasible for them to fund your venture. VCs keep a close eye on potential risks that could impact your company’s performance, its chances to succeed in the market, and make a positive return on investment.
Plus, providing investors with the research of your rivals and clear steps to outpace them in the short- and long-term perspective ensures that you aim for a sustainable business model and scalability. On that note, let’s talk about the latter.
Series A funding is like the best digital product design, both aim for a long haul. Investors are all ears when it comes to scalability because it speaks to your startup’s potential to embrace big-picture thinking and grow. So they expect to see that you have a solid plan on how to expand your operations, customer base, and revenue.
Now that we established that the design process is far more than creating beautiful visuals and covered its aspects that help you secure funding, let’s segue into services that make it all happen.
Product design services for Series A funding startups
The digital product design process is an endeavor rich with phases and sprints. But one of the most important things is that it’s flexible and allows you to customize the flow according to your specific needs.
Unlock the power of MVP
А minimum viable product is a sound solution to mitigate the risks of squandering money on final development and save thousands of dollars, hours of extra work, and nerve cells.
On top of that, you get to validate your MVP with real users, give them a taste of key features and receive valuable feedback. That means you have a tested MVP that proves there’s potential for your solution to hit the market and be profitable, which is music to investors’ ears. VCs are ready to pay for solid data, numbers, and real products. MVP empowers you to provide them with all of it.
Digital product design flows to focus on when aiming for Series A funding
The way a digital product designer can approach your product depends on the product itself and its starting point. But there are core aspects to stick to above all.
It always begins with a discovery stage. This is where you need to leave no stone unturned to reveal how target users see and interact with your product, what they need, what other options on the market are, and how all of it aligns with your business goals.
UX research is a diverse product design service that includes surveys, user interviews, and focus groups.
You may ask: “What if I skip it and save time for more “designy” phases?” Well, I’d say that you turn against your venture. Overlooking such a basic stage exposes your product to some costly risks that can impact the next processes like a domino effect. You step into a zone of assumptions and bias with little to no data foundation under them and can deal with high numbers of churn rate, customer acquisition, and support costs.
Leveraging in-depth research, you show investors that you play no risky games and assure them their money will be put to good, but more importantly, profitable use.
What is a digital product design without a plan? Well, not a great one, that’s for sure. A roadmap is a must-have that outlines your vision, goals, and milestones for your product over a specific period of time.
It’s a solid plan of action you base on our tried and true UX research, which empowers you to make informed decisions. But at the same time, a roadmap is flexible enough to accommodate changes in user needs or market trends so that you’re ready to act or adapt.
It also serves as a robust communication tool, aligning your team, digital product designers, and developers, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and works towards the same vision.
Another superpower a roadmap has, it allows you to prioritize resources and focus on the most critical features and functionality of the product. This helps you avoid getting sidetracked and deliver your solution on time and within budget.
So, you have a plan, let’s move on to implementing it.
Concept design & Prototyping
The next digital product design stop is giving your product a general look and feel.
Concepts and prototypes go hand in hand as they are great for managing the creative process, defining your solution’s visual goal, and forming a basis for building the product.
These two also help you align the design choices with your business objectives, ensuring they connect with the overall strategy and vision. Plus, you get to establish a clear design direction early on, so that you avoid wasting resources on dead-end ideas, and instead focus on executing the one you aim to test with users.
Speaking of testing. Prototyping is a powerful solution that gives you a head start and empowers you to validate a product with real people before jumping into the full-scale design. And that’s our next stage.
Is your product viable or not? That is the question. The one testing and users will help you answer. By validating your solution, you get feedback from the people you aim to cater to, can refine the product, and make essential changes before launching it. Testing also allows you to reduce risks before they turn into real problems. Talk about time and costs you can save by nipping them in the bud.
Can you skip testing? Sure. But should you? It can result in a product your target audience doesn't understand. You’d need to go back to the drawing board and invest more time and resources to redo your project.
Besides, you already know that investors turn heads to startups with data-based offers, and testing is a robust way to help you provide one. This way you ensure VCs that there’s market demand for your product and that you have what it takes to meet it.
Instead of conclusion
Digital product design is both a crucial component of your business strategy and an ally on your way to Series A funding. But it can be the opposite. What matters here is how you utilize its power and what approach you go for. I’ve broken down the one that proved to be efficient for our digital product design company and the startups we partner with. Leverage it for your own venture too.