The Secret to a Winning Investment Pitch.
A great pitch doesn’t just get you in front of investors. Or even just get you the money. It sets investor expectations of growth. Of confidence in you and your team. Of risk and reward. These are the cornerstones of the terms of your investment and equity agreements.
There are some really great resources out there to get you started and keep you on track. Guy Kawasaki’s ‘Art of the Start’ is a great foundation [look here link https://guykawasaki.com/the-only-10-slides-you-need-in-your-pitch/ ]. His ten slides keep your pitch pithy and to the point. Make you focus on the problem solving and the opportunity in the market.
But is there really one-size-fits-all winning pitch deck formula?
We think not.
Template formulas like Kawasaki’s help you hone your basic pitch. But they miss one critical point: your investor audience. We believe that shaping a business case around an understanding of who you’re pitching to is as critical as the business model you’ve created.
What types of investor might gain the most value from what you are building and the type of company you are? What are their needs, expectations, motivations? Prioritise the information you communicate according to what they value most highly.
It’s glaringly obvious when you think about it, but sometimes the simplest things are easy to overlook when you are focused on testing and iterating on your value proposition and calculating your market sizing.
When working with a startup on an investment pitch, one of our first activities at Think Plan Thrive is to research the most likely areas of opportunity for investment. Then we make calls. We speak to investors.
We also pick up the phone to other early-stage company founders that have been through similar rounds — to get another perspective (tip: it can feel like everyone’s competition when you’re starting out, but you’ll be surprised how happy people are to share their experiences, to advise and to make useful connections on your behalf).
We ask the most relevant investors a set of simple questions that equip us with crucial insight:
- Why do you invest in young companies? Do you have a specific focus?
- What is your priority when looking at a new investment opportunity?
- What do you consider to be common ‘warning signs’ that an opportunity isn’t right for you?
- How active do you like to be in supporting the success of your investments?
- Can you give us two examples of projects you have been most proud of?
We have learned from experience that there really is no one formula for a pitch deck and that in order to work out the winning formula for your pitch you must work hard to understand your audience right from the very beginning.
So what types of investors are out there and what are their profiles?
Each of the companies we work with is completely unique — each startup founder or startup team needs to take a different path to gaining funding.
Investigating the high-level categories of investor is a great way to begin to build an understanding. We’ve pulled together a few helpful articles to get you thinking about what type of investors are out there and where the opportunities lie for you and your business:
- How to Find the Perfect Investor: (**if you only read one of these — this is the one**) https://medium.com/swlh/how-to-find-the-perfect-investor-d12ce34c6f4f
- 5 Different Types of Startup Funding: A Primer for New Founders. https://www.inc.com/quora/the-5-different-types-of-startup-funding-a-primer-for-new-founders.html
- A Founder’s guide to working with angel investors: An entrepreneur’s perspective. https://medium.com/swlh/a-founders-guide-to-working-with-angel-investors-dec8619b50b6
- 5 Types of Startup Investor to Avoid: And one to help you avoid the nasties. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/287862
If you’ve made it to the end of this article, you’re most likely at the start of an exciting but fairly daunting journey. We’d love to help— send us an email with a little information about you and your ambitions and we’ll happily book in a free 30 minute call to offer our thoughts and advice.
We’re Think Plan Thrive, a London Based strategy and innovation company that helps organisations of all shapes and sizes to build strong foundations for growth.