Have you decided that you want to pursue investment from angel, or other, investors? Do you know how to reach out to investors and interest them in hearing what you have to say? I have written a fair amount on that very topic, but today I thought I’d share someone else’s perspective. Enjoy! – TCW
How to Pitch Successfully and Recruit Investors?
By Asaf Matyas
A small talk with a potential investor could lead to your dream investment. But how do you approach such a conversation? You are working day and night on your startup. You got a winning team and are doing your best to develop a great product. Now all you need is to find investors. You know that what separates you from your life’s dream is one phone call. Well, there are some good news and some bad news. Starting with the good – it’s possible! The bad news is that it’s going to take, apparently, a lot of time and effort to succeed. If it took Churchill one hour to write every minute of his speech, than writing yours, which presents your startup, generates impact and willingness to hear more, will be a much difficult task. By combining several tools and one simple solution, you too can transform the most complex product or service to be exciting, simple and valuable. Let’s get started:
Set a goal for your Pitch
Before you sit down to write your pitch, set your self a clear and defined goal. This goal should include a timeframe, clarity and quantity.
What’s your end goal? Getting funded? Another meeting? Cooperation? Advice?
It needs to be even more focused. For example, you would like to get funded: how much cash do you need? When will you need it? In stages or all at once? You need to know exactly what you are going to ask for. If you don’t have a clear goal, the chance of reaching it becomes a product of luck.
After you are clear about the goal of your pitch, you can sit down to write it.
Teaser: stimulate the investor
So you got a great opportunity and you are a sitting alone in a room with your potential investor. That doesn’t necessarily mean his brain and attention is given solely to you. Your mission, right from the beginning, would be to capture his full attention and have him completely focused on you.
There are several ways to generate attention in a very short time. One of them, is to present a big fact that is relevant to your product or market. This will generates curiosity and the listener will likely try to understand what is it about. The teaser could also be a personal story, an interesting article from a newspaper, a breakthrough research, anything that will skyrocket his attention. Your teaser will work best if the value in it will be “flooded”.
“Value flooding”: what’s in it for him?
As a way to turn your product or service to fascinating, you have to ensure, that the person sitting in front of you, understands the value relevant for him. Once we can connect between the teaser and the value, we are creating a “mental shortcut” and the level of attention grows significantly.
For example, when we walk down the street and see a scratch card Ad saying “scratch now and win 1,000,000$” – the Ad both grabs our immediate attention and floods the value – we want to win those 1,000,000$.
So even if our chances of winning goes against all statistical and logical calculations, our attention was already caught because we were immediately presented (“flooded”) with the value, even before explaining the general idea or logic behind it.
Make it Simple
After we managed to grab attention, it is time to tell the story of our product or service. Here comes the real challenging part: can you really explain, sometimes in a single sentence, what does your company\product\service does? The true greatness of really good or complex products is the ability to make them simple and tangible.
Make sure not to use extremely high or too complex language, which usually creates opacity and covers the inability to generate a clear definition. If you managed to do so, in a minimized form, it will leave you with more time to invest in the other parts of your pitch.
Towards the end of your pitch, it’s time to explain why you. Why you are the one who can turn this vision into reality. This is a critical point as you ask your potential investor for his trust (… and money).
Here is the point to emphasize your unique background in the field, winning team combination or previous successes. It is important to remember that most decisions we do are irrational, so it is imperative to use your attitude and presentation methods to strengthen your message, no less than the list of your titles or achievements.
Tip: we tend to associate self-confidence – and hence trust – when the shoulders are straight up. So straighten up!
Combining these ingredients, which builds a winning pitch, will require your time and efforts in order to sharpen your messaging. Sometime, using external consultants as well as using new technologies could upgrade your performance.
Note: apart from using the old PowerPoint, I can highly recommend Prezi and Bunkr.
Each year there are hundreds of new startups being founded, and with them grows the competition for investors. The first impression and effect you project at the beginning could be that critical point that would separate you from the rest, and will cause the investor to invest in you, over the other sea of startups.
Sometimes, this small conversation could make your life dream come true – don’t let it slip away.