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You have a great business idea, but you need funds to get it off the ground. At this stage, your pitch deck to investors is a make-or-break for the success of your business. You are reading articles about companies that raise huge amounts of money in astronomical assessments. Great – how hard can that be?
Okay, let’s pause for a moment and take a breath. You are a dreamer and a pioneer, but still, it is important to start with grounded expectations. Most likely, investors will not throw cash at you as soon as you finish pitching. This is not a fairy tale. Those who raised money probably had the first few hundred meetings, and some of them went through it with one or two companies. Your goal is not to get out of a meeting with a fat test, but simply to keep your feet on the door so that the investor requests another meeting where you can go in detail. Your pitch deck is your chance to make a great first impression that can capitalize on your exciting journey.
The real problem is that 99% of the pitch fails to get funding. Investors hear so much pitch that it’s hard for them to stand up for you. Your strategy should be to make it as easy as possible for them to say yes in a meeting – and you can do this by making your pitch like a story so that you are memorable. People are hard to tell love stories, and enterprise capitalists are people too.
Related: 5 steps to creating a story that captures your audience every time
The story should always start with the need: what problem needs to be solved? A startup can’t be based on a great innovation if no one can buy it. Set the scene with anecdotes, ideally for yourself, a friend or family member. Even if you think it makes your point better, you can use something from the news or created story. Also, to highlight the truth of the problem, find the statistics to back up your anecdote and show that this is a much bigger problem.
Think about Amazon Prime and all the different stories you can come up with to explain why someone might need a delivery the next day. Maybe you tell the story of an elderly person who needs something urgent but is unable to travel easily or a husband who has forgotten his wife’s birthday. These examples immediately make it clear why someone would need a solution.
The cherry on top would use a statistic to show how common this problem is, as 75% of spouses tried to get a birthday present at the last minute.
2. Proposed solution
If “need” is the villain, the hero of your product or service story. This is the time to present your solution and show how it helps when needed.
You’ll be able to do this with a simple solution sentence: we’re doing Y by Z (for a specific audience) X (a problem solver) (in short, what are you? A platform, app, tool, etc.)
Make sure your explanation is simple enough for anyone to understand. (Try it on a baby to test for clarity). An investor will not invest in anything if he is confused about what your startup actually does. Yes, investors are very smart, but even they can be overwhelmed by highly technical terms. This is especially true for deep technology startups, as not everyone in the meeting will have a PhD. In computer science.
You can include a demo, you should. It’s much easier than showing an investor what you say. Steve Jobs introduced the iPad at a conference and immediately showed a prototype. If anyone struggled to imagine a use case for his new product, after the demo, he would be sure. It doesn’t have to be an expensive demo video – screenshots or a series of mock-ups showing the user’s journey can be just as effective. It shows the “wow” factor of your product while expressing your deep appreciation for your user base, ticking two important boxes with investors.
Related: As Steve Jobs once said, ‘People with passion can change the world’
Bonus points if you show it to a real user and with his story and with that impressive result you bring him or her, signed with a bright testimonial.
3. Business plan
You dive into all the details of where you are now to meet the needs of your future customers. You want to talk about your milestones so far, including the size and makeup of your existing team and whether you already have the funds, an MVP / beta or a launched product, revenue, IP, partnerships, etc.
You want to give a clear overview of the market – talk about how the market is working as a whole, especially if it is growing. You can choose top-down or bottom-up, but you must show that you have a huge potential market. A more powerful part is showing trends that give you a very timely investment opportunity; Behavioral, regulatory and / or investment tendencies can serve as an excellent hot meal of urgency. It is important to discuss your plans for entering and conquering these markets on your Go-to-Market-Strategy slide.
Be sure to touch on the competition here and what sets you apart from everyone else. It’s important not to say anything bad about your competition, because it makes you look bitter. Rise up instead. Use their success to show that you are doing it in a better way.
4. Vision for the future
The final building block of your investor pitch deck is the vision for the future. Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world of Earl. Whether they come on board and what milestones you want to reach you need to be told the right plan. You need to invest in them to kill the villains in the story.
But it goes beyond that. Your superhero has big and good horizons to conquer; Once this villain is killed, what’s the bigger plan? Investors want to see Munshot, the star of the North – what is your guiding force. Even if it sounds like a distant dream, don’t be afraid to take them on that journey into the future and show them how you plan to get there.
You should not leave any room for ambiguity about what you are asking. Use a clear statement, starting with “seeking $ XX million for …”, and include key allocations such as R&D and sales and marketing, team expansion, etc. Say your “round purpose” – you believe that money will help you achieve the deadline
Related: There is a difference between your company’s vision and its mission
And once your pitch is scripted, practice being expressive and enthusiastic about your delivery. You want to inspire them to work with you! Another reason they are looking is that they would be great to work with star people, who would give their heart and soul to work, who would work with good, bad and ugly. People flexible enough to take guidance and advice.
After all, they’re not just spending money, they’re partnering with you for the long haul – so make sure you’re a great travel partner.