The best way to meet anyone is if you are referred to by one they are close to, additional points if they respect the person. The next best thing is to introduce yourself in person. As mentioned on multiple occasions these are busy people you are talking about and cold calling them or sending them an email might not make that much of an impact. Don’t forget the simple and short pitch that you have been working on.
Now for the details on getting in touch with them:
If you are going through investor platforms like AngelList or Gust, handle some research here and be proactive. You can go through some of the information and see who is investing in what and how much they spend accordingly. Profiles here contain social media links and contact details if required, once again, cold calling is not the best idea.
Learn about events where you can meet investors, meetup.com usually features a lot of fundraising events and other opportunities for fundraising.
3) Use your current connections
At the end of the day, introductions are still the best ways of meeting investors. If you find an opening, always strike up a conversation and see if you can sneak a link in the conversation where you would find a common mutual friend who would be able to introduce you to the investor better. Whenever you see a potential investor, the gears in your head should be working toward that end. The way you find that entrepreneurs like to deal with other entrepreneurs, investors like to do the same, especially when investing so they know they have someone they know in the same situation as them.
A few tips to handle before the meeting:
1) Do your research
Make sure you have read up on the multiple types of investments that investors make and the kind of opportunities the investors you are about to meet are looking for. You can find this on different websites, blogs and their personal investor profiles like the ones on Angel Lists.
2) Prepare like a Pro
Make sure you are thorough with your cases and have simplified them to the best of your ability. The investors should not have a tough time going through them and reviewing your content.
3) Waste no time
You should have a clear, credible, impressive and well thought out strategy to receive $ 100 mil in the upcoming 6 – 8 years even if you are at $ 0 on the day of the meeting. Make sure your minimum scalable product, a good strong team, or at least the first few to get one started and are heading in the direction of a reasonable hot market.
6 Steps To An Interesting Investor Pitch
HOOK | PROBLEM | UNIQUE VALUE | TRACTION | TEAM | CLOSE
As previously stated, angel investors and VCs are pitched to every day and they can barely remember all the content that comes in and out of their doors. If you are looking to do something that they will remember you by, make sure you steal their attention with something captivating and compelling. You can either add this to your pitch, or you can use this when you are talking to them. The main idea of working with a hook is to get their attention so that it remains.
The first step to solving any issue is realizing one exists and the best way to deal with your audience is to make them aware that there is a problem. After they realize that the issue you showed them is genuine, show them how your customers are willing to pay to have the problem solved.
3) Unique value
If you go through the list of ideas that an investor has to hear out, most of them revolve around, we are creating a product similar to something else. They don’t want to hear more of this and they have heard it all before. What makes you stand out and why are you better than the others out there, is what you should work towards showing them?
Create enough traction and your product is likely to start selling itself, traction is king in the market and that is what everyone should be heading toward. Groupon received multi-billion dollars in investment although there were so many other companies doing the same thing, and already in the market only because the market knew them better. They had a lot of traction already there.
At the end of the day, VCs usually put their money in the people behind something and rarely in the product itself. If you have the right type of people working with you, sell them based on their capability. Create a name than spells trustworthiness and integrity and most important the ability to get the job done.
Always wrap up, never leave anything open-ended. Ask for a follow-up meeting or if you should be calling back or at least for a business card, no matter how bad it does. Usually, by the end of the meeting, the nervousness starts settling and you forget the little things. Clarify the time and the date, and do not settle for an ‘I’ll get back to you’. They never do!
If you are looking to create the best 30-second elevator pitch this is an interesting template by Adeo Rossi who was the funder for a global startup accelerator Founder institute My company, _____(insert name of company)_____, is developing ____(a defined offering)___ to help ________ (a defined audience)___ ___(solve a problem)_ with _(with secret sauce)_
Business plan and/or pitch deck
The perfect business plan is an added benefit, however, most investors would lack the time to go through it and therefore a shorter deck would definitely be more beneficial. According to the general convention, 8-12 slides is the most preferred business plan structure that companies follow. This is based on a study based venture capital firms who have funded, Google, Apple, Cosco, Dropbox, and Whatsapp.
Here are a few things that you should make sure you cover when you are getting this done:
1) Purpose: Mention your company/business purpose in a single declarative sentence.
2) Problem: Describe the issues that the customer (or the customer’s customer) go through. State how customers address these issue today.
3) Solution: Showcase your company’s value proposition thereby improving the customer’s life. Demonstrate where your product physically sits, and provide all the use cases.
4) Why now: Set-up the historical evolution of your category. Explain recent trends that make your solution possible.
5) Market size: Identify/profile the customer you cater to. Calculate the total available Market, segmented available market, and share of the market.
6) Competition: List competitors as well as the competitive advantages.
7) Product: Product line-up (form factor, functionality, features, architecture, intellectual property), Show them a development roadmap as well.
8) Business model: Create a revenue model, add your pricing, and the average account size and/or your lifetime value, sales & distribution model.
9) Team: Always showcase your founders and the management, also mention the board of directors and your board of advisors. Sometimes connecting to one of these names might make all the difference.
10) Financials: Always add your P&L, balance sheet, cash flow, cap table, and most importantly, the deal.
Do’s & Don’ts of a good investor pitch
1) Work with clarity
Purpose: Mention your company/business purpose in a single declarative sentence.
The attention span of a fully grown adult is a lot shorter than that of their much younger counterpart. If you can give them a pitch that is as simple and to the point as possible, it will get you a lot further than you would think.
It is important to remember that although it takes more trouble to be clear, it is a lot better than struggling with persuading someone.
2) Make it simple
Work with content and text that is easy to read and use simple sentences. The easier the sentences, the easier it will be for your audience to read, understand and process what you are saying.
When you are working with your deck, think of the point of view of children and dial it down accordingly. Take out the detailed and technical terminology accordingly.
3) Practice your content
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, whether you have gone through your content in your head, at your mirror or with an audience around you, make sure you are not looking at the content for the first time during your presentation.
If you are getting the chance, practice in front of a bunch of people and be open to their feedback, or get someone to record you ranting away and give yourself the feedback needed. Work with the content and feedback you receive to better and rework your content for better presentation and delivery.
4) Show some passion
Just as we like seeing someone passionate about their work express themselves, the investors would appreciate some passion in the way you showcase your presentation deck, passion is infectious.
Passion is the one thing that makes sure your pitch is different, will hold attention and something that will stick in their minds for the next couple of days. Be as enthusiastic as you possibly can, this is the one thing that might get through to your investors