The latest pitching season has just ended at KAYWEB Angels, during which we invited approximately 30 of 200-plus funding applicants to present their ideas in person.
We allowed these individuals and groups 20 minutes to go through their prepared presentations, before firing away with questions from our board members for another 30-40 minutes.
While we have made our selections, I thought I would share some of my key pointers for entrepreneurs and startups preparing to apply for angel or VC funding.
I will not go into grooming details, as one clearly has to be well-presented and eloquent when presenting. My tips are designed to ensure the content of a pitcher’s presentation are adequate in answering key investor questions.
Here is what we need to know to invest in your startup:
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Every business must be solving a problem. Your proposed business must be solving a problem. Whatever that problem is, you must define it clearly from the outset.
HOW ARE YOU SOLVING IT?
You must constantly refer to this problem as you pitch your solution, reminding investors that you are focused on solving your discovered problem.
WHAT IS YOUR MARKET?
Investors typically invest in many different categories, thus we do not know what the capacity of every single market is. You must prove your market case. If it is through third-party studies or surveys you have conducted, validating your market will go a long way to securing investment. Effort in this area will also show investors that you have already engaged with your potential market, which is a big plus.
WHO IS YOUR COMPETITION?
There is almost always competition. You never want the investor suggesting “have you heard of x” or “have you heard of y” as “these guys are doing something similar”. The deeper your knowledge of your competition, the greater an investor’s belief in your capacity to take them on.
WHY ARE YOU BETTER THAN YOUR COMPETITION?
Once identifying your competition, you must define how you are are better than it, or how your product differs from theirs. In some cases, you must also not overlook their capacity to replicate your product once they see it on the market. This must also be addressed if applicable.
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS MODEL?
No serious investor invests unless there is potential to make money. Your business model must clearly show a road to financial success. Monetization, staffing, growth opportunities, exit strategies, etc. must be explored and explained in this section.
WHO ARE YOU?
Advertise yourself, referring particularly to the startup idea at hand. Why are you the best person to steer this business to success? Investors will not invest in your idea if you cannot prove you have the ability to see it through to success, particularly if you are suggesting yourself as CEO.
WHO IS YOUR TEAM?
If you have assembled a team, present their credentials and explain what they each bring to the table. Also reveal what their share is in the business.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
Explain what you think you need from the investor, and how you arrived at this conclusion. Be prepared to negotiate if successful.
HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT IT?
Passion is a key ingredient when weighing up whether to invest in an entrepreneur or not. If you are working on a dozen ideas with the hope that one of them will succeed, I don’t want to invest in you – your time, skills and abilities are too divided.
If you show that you are really vested in what you are pitching, by declaring you are leaving your day job or investing your own funds, etc., these are all great signs that will translate into you becoming more investable.
Hope this helps… and happy pitching!