Fundraising for a tech startup is far easier said than done, especially when it comes to presenting to seasoned investors. With thousands upon thousands of high-tech startups competing for a limited pool of funding, only inspiring and achievable visions stand out. As notoriously high-risk investments, high-tech companies need to demonstrate a broad set of skills and a range of tools, to pitch themselves successfully.
In the earliest stages of building a product—hatching an idea, conducting market research and developing a business plan—pitching is naturally in the back of most entrepreneurs’ minds. However, if you want to turn your idea into a reality, pitching your company and building the proper messaging need to be treated as central components of your company. As pitch coach David Beckett puts it, a pitch “is the last component needed after a smart founder creates a great product and is ready to take that idea to the public.” A good funding pitch is what brings your solutions from the theoretical into the actual.
So, what do you need to do to pitch effectively? How do you convince an investor that they want to be a part of your team? Below are 5 things your tech startup should know when pitching to investors.
1. Sell your story - Good presentations do more than give their audience information, they share a story and bring their audience along for a journey. Along the way, facts and figures will be important, but not memorable. Compelling stories are almost impossible to forget. Be sure to emphasise your company’s strengths and position the story accordingly. What makes your company stand out? Is it the team, or is it the technology? Understanding your angle is very important in terms of positioning your story. In the context of your broader vision, people are only likely to remember two to three main points from a presentation. Choose them wisely and make them count.
2. Use the best design and visuals to help deliver your message - Even the best ideas can get lost without proper design. Choose a presentation software that allows content to be packaged in beautiful and dynamic visuals. If you cannot convince someone to invest their attention into your presentation, how can you expect them to invest in your company? Use a presentation platform that has the tools you need to get your point across, that’s easy to use, and as versatile as your company. Investors also tend to put more faith in your efforts if your points are backed up with factual evidence. However, it will be easy to distract or lose your audience with lengthy reports with technical jargon that’s hard to follow. Alleviate your audience’s workload by creating your own unique infographic with a tool like Piktochart. You can be sure to please your audience’s eyes with enticing pre-made templates from a variety of graphic styles.
3. Adjust to your audience - Think about the last time you spoke with your significant other and the last time you spoke with a new business partner. Was it the same conversation? I hope not. Just like you use a unique approach to speak with the people in your life, you need to adjust your pitch to your audience. If you’re trying to reach everyone with the same message, you’re not going to reach anyone. Particularly with potential investors, it’s important to know what else they have invested in as well as how they like to develop relationships with their portfolio companies. You should also be aware of how their assets can help your specific company or product. Know your investors’ professional background and fields of expertise, and demonstrate how they match your startup's. This brings us to our next piece of advice….
4. Master your market - Tech investments are high risk so having an understanding of where you fit in the market is crucial. Know who your competitors are and be able to clearly differentiate yourself. Your product and services need to be unique. Investors look for proprietary features that can distinguish you from potential competitors and provide some sort of an advantage such as intellectual property protection, exclusive licences and exclusive distribution relationships.
5. Know how to flow - When sharing your story with your investors, start with something that will grab their attention. That can range from the case study that spawned the idea for your startup, or the fallout created by the gap in the market your company is seeking to fill. The point is to appeal to their emotion--if you fail to engage your audience with an evocative opening, you most likely will never win them back. Structure your presentation with the most impressive, appealing information. From there, you can transition to your story’s most organic beginning, or logical progression, and provide the rest of the essentials. When you move toward the finish, aim for something that leaves your audience wanting more. Your conclusion should not give your audience some final answer about your market or product - it should give them a desire to come back to you, whether as an investor or a future business partner.
Motti Nisani, presentation expert and CEO of emaze
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Miriam Doerr