Kal Deutsch

Kal Deutsch


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Chief Executive Officer at DealEngine

Make your calculations credible – Kal Deutsch

“One of the other important ingredients that startups are actually good at is doing more with very few resources and then being nimble and quick. “


Kal is CEO and Founder of DealEngine.AI, a company that is using data and diversity to make startups better for both founders and investors. Kal is also a partner at two Bay Area startup accelerators – Silicon Valley in Your Pocket, a global, virtual program, and Batchery, a Berkeley-based startup accelerator. He served as Batchery CEO and Managing Partner during the launch and scaling of the company. Kal is an international keynote speaker and startup coach, and has worked with entrepreneurs at global incubators and accelerators across Europe, Asia and Latin America. He has also served on the screening, diligence and pitch event committees for the Berkeley Angel Network, an angel investment group for UC Berkeley alumni. With a background in finance, strategy and product management, Kal has held a number of executive positions at companies ranging from Fortune 100 companies to early stage startup companies, including Visa, Wells Fargo, and Price Waterhouse. Kal holds an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in Management Science from UC San Diego.



Kal Deutsch

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to Ask An Angel! And today, very excited to have you join us Kal because we’ve been doing lots of other things in the background. So even more exciting to kind of dive in and explore more about yourself and the business, and things you’ve been doing. So to start off, the best way is to give us a little bit of background on yourself, kind of where you’ve come from, where you’re at, where you’re going, and then one thing about you that nobody would know.

Kal: All right, that sounds like fun. So I actually started my career more at big companies like Wells Fargo Bank, and Visa, and Pricewaterhouse, and so did the fortune 100 executive thing but midway through my career I realized, I think I would have more fun on the entrepreneurial track. So from that I went to several real estate tech startups for many many years and soup to nuts, did all kinds of things when I reinvented myself that I was doing product, and then you know online marketing, and strategy, and so forth. And just had a grand old time just being an entrepreneur at several startups and then later, in probably about seven years ago, I got involved with an alumnus- alumni angel group called Berkeley Angel Network which is, obviously as the name indicates, an angel group four oven by UC Berkeley alone, which gave me my first exposure to the other side. And so, I’m been doing some angel investing through them and through other organizations, and kind of learned from the ground up how to do, you know, the deal flow vetting, doing due diligence, working with the startups to get them ready for pitch events and so forth, and through that I basically got embedded in sort the angel investing scene in the bay area. Connected with a group from Santel Angels that started an accelerator in Berkeley called Bachery, which now is five years in 12th Cohort, about 150 companies graduated. So I started as a limited partner and then over time I became one of the managing partners, and then CEO, and then I helped develop the curriculum in the program which really just gave me a good feel for: ‘how do you coach and train startups to succeed?’, and handed off day to day operations on that a few years ago, and then switched to another accelerator where we had another analytical framework to assess startups and, kind of rambling here, but.. very quickly what I’m doing now is a company called DealEngine. DealEngine.ai, which does analytics on startup success. So basically, think of it as the turbotax for startups where we collect a lot of data, crunch numbers, give quantified feedback back to the startups, as well as generating deal scores and team scores for the benefit of investors, and basically our northern light is, you know, the the elephant in the room with VC is that overall the industry has something like a 90% portfolio failure rate. So if we can use data science to de-risk startups from the earliest stage, and even get the success rate from 10% to 20%, we have a chance to disrupt the industry. So we’re in beta now and very excited about working with startups and just using data to help them get better.

Jeffery: I love it, and one thing about you that we wouldn’t know.

Kal: Okay, let’s see. Believe it or not I am also a Sundance nominated filmmaker because I produced a mockumentary short. Again, I couldn’t leave my roots of startups. So I did a mockumentary about the worst possible startup in the world, called Icevan.com, and made it to a few film festivals including Sundance which, god, if being a filmmaker could be a little bit more lucrative, I might stand that. But, god, I had a lot of fun doing that.

Jeffery: It was called Icevan.com?

Kal: Icevan. So think about: way back in the day, there was web van, and then we said, “What’s even worse than, you know, the worst of the worst?” So delivering bags of ice guaranteed in an hour, we almost did it about cinder blocks but we basically created ice van for, you know, the the company that delivers ice.

Jeffery: And that was the worst?

Kal: At least that’s the time, the best thing we could have come up with that, this was you know, some 20 years ago. I bet if we kind of brainstorm now and get really into non-fungible tokens, we can say you know, let’s have some NFTs for ice-

Jeffery: Yeah

Kal: -and it can probably get exponentially worse with some of the later technologies we have.
Jeffery: Well, just popped it in my head because I remember I was going through, I think it was Vietnam, and there’s you know, like a tuktuk. But it was kind of like a buggy with a bike on the front, but it was carrying a buggy and it was an ice buggy, and they’d go along every morning and everybody would come out at 4 or 5 in the morning, and grab their big cinder blocks of ice, and they had a little chainsaw, and they would just zip through and drop these blocks out in front of all the stores because they had to keep their beer cold. So that’s how they would do that.

Kal: That is awesome!

Jeffery: Yeah. So this guy would just literally drive around the blocks and just drop off ice, and it would go on. I think a couple times during the day and it would just be big cylinder blocks of ice, and then they would sit there with a pick, and then they would put their beer on it and everything else. But that’s how they delivered it. I don’t know what they charge for it but I remember that specifically because I was taking pictures of it. I thought this was a you know, great little business run and yeah it was pretty cool.

Kal: Well, that’s awesome! That actually tells me, maybe there’s even hope still for iceman someday.

Jeffery: 100% yes! Especially these hot climates where they can’t- the streets are too narrow or they’re- and they’re really just made for, they’re doing this on Yonge street or they’re turning them into- they’re reducing it down to one and one lanes for a certain extension and that way they’ll have more sidewalk sales, more people walking on the sidewalks, opening up. It’s not going to be like as much as it should be. I think they should open up all of Yonge street and get rid of cars on the whole street but then it kind of breaks traffic going, obviously east and west. But in saying that, like you know when you’re in Barcelona, you’ve got all of these major streets that are just completely shut down and they’re just walkable, right? And you have that in a lot of Portugal, you have them everywhere, right? And those are big bomber streets, so when you don’t have that opportunity, you got to move things around and that’s the only way you could get ice around. So I thought it was a pretty cool business model back then.

Kal: So I- yeah, you never know. I mean there is a market need for just about anything somewhere in the world.

Jeffery: Yep. I always just say that was that, I was in the Philippines because I have a company there, this was again, this instance was probably 15 years ago and we were at a golf course, and I was meeting with some business executives with my business partner at the time, and we went into it was a golf range. So we were having a drink and just teeing balls off, and it kind of hit me that there is a job in this world for everybody. If you’re willing to do the job and get paid for it, you can do anything you want and then it’s your decision if you’re going to take it to something of a different level.

Kal: Yes.

Jeffery: And I learned that there because as right or wrong as the environment was which it bothered me the time because I didn’t really like it, but I was looking at it from the entrepreneurship side is that there was a lady that was serving drinks but then there was also a lady that was teeing up the golf balls. And they would build them like just by hand and that’s how they did it, and that was their job and then you paid them at the end of doing that. So they didn’t use tees. They used this granular soil they would tee up enough to hold the ball on it and then you paid that person at the end of the day for all the balls you teed off, and you had to pay a certain amount of money.

Kal: So there you go.

Jeffery: And I thought: well, it’s actually pretty clever because they probably thought, originally, I should charge you for the tees and/or I could use a plastic one or I can create a job, and this person will just own this whole front field, and make sure everybody’s taken care of.

Kal: There we go. Yeah, to reach its own and there is a, you know, just because it doesn’t work in one market, doesn’t mean that somewhere else in the world it wouldn’t thrive just like you saw.

Jeffery: Exactly. So but I love the concept. I want to actually look this up. I’m going to check this out because I’d love to see that-

Kal: Yeah. you’ll find the video if you just go to Icevan.com. Up until recently, it actually, believe it or not, was a post-revenue quasi-profitable company because I just turned it into an Amazon Affiliate Site and you know, it was post revenue making about 20 bucks a month and and at least paid for hosting costs, which you know better than a lot of star