YCombinator has a great article on what it takes to raise a seed round in 2018. In this article they outline the new and much higher bar for a first time founder to raise a seed round:
"For some founders it is enough to have a story and a reputation. However, for most it will require an idea, a product, and some amount of customer adoption, a.k.a. traction. Luckily, the software development ecosystem today is such that a sophisticated web or mobile product can be built and delivered in a remarkably short period of time at very low cost. Even hardware can be rapidly prototyped and tested.
But investors also need persuading. Usually a product they can see, use, or touch will not be enough. They will want to know that there is product market fit and that the product is experiencing actual growth.
Therefore, founders should raise money when they have figured out what the market opportunity is and who the customer is, and when they have delivered a product that matches their needs and is being adopted at an interestingly rapid rate. How rapid is interesting? This depends, but a rate of 10% per week for several weeks is impressive. And to raise money founders need to impress. For founders who can convince investors without these things, congratulations. For everyone else, work on your product and talk to your users."i
Parul Singh, an investor at Founder Collective, a Boston area seed stage VC, has a great article that outlines how to raise a seed round in 2018 as well.