It should be no surprise to know that startups need investors
to get funding to get their business off the ground. One of
the most nerve-wracking elements of finding investors is
having to pitch your idea and paint a compelling picture of
the benefits of your startup to persuade potential investors
to help you make your dreams a reality.
There are many types of investors that you can contact to help
fund your startup. Many investors will support startups in
exchange for a stake in your company or a percentage of the
profits after you reach a certain stage. Nonprofit investors
will fund your startup without expecting you to pay them back.
Investors are one of the primary funding sources for many
startups in the early stages. Understanding how to pitch
successfully can help you secure the early funding you need.
How to Pitch to Investors and Secure Funding
Creating a successful pitch begins with a robust business plan
highlighting what makes your startup unique and worth
investing in. You’ll only have a limited time once you get in
front of investors. You want to make every minute count. Here
is what you need to do to make your pitch successful.
1. Research Your Investors
– You will pitch to many different investors with different
interests. You want to research before you enter your pitch
meeting and know exactly what kind of startups they’ve backed
before, what makes them say yes, and what questions they may
ask. You may not be able to know all the details of who these
investors are, but knowing a little more about each background
can make you more prepared for anything they may throw your
2. Create an Elevator Pitch
– You will meet many people on your journey to funding your
startup. From visiting events to cold emailing potential
investors, you will need to introduce yourself and your
mission quickly within seconds. Creating a compelling elevator
pitch can tell people who you are, what you do, and why it’s
3. Tell a Story
– If you load your pitch with figures, statistics and numbers,
you may lose your investors’ interest early on. Storytelling
is a proven way to capture an audience’s attention and hold on
to it. Tell your story. You can start with a quick summary of
how you got to where you are, your inspirations, your journey,
or where you hope to be in the future.
4. Be Realistic About Your Target Market
– Develop a user persona or detail your ideal customer when
you touch on who your target market is for your startup.
Understanding your target market allows you to be more
strategic in your marketing plan and business rollout, and
investors appreciate these details. Investors can visualize
who your startup will serve and the problem you intend to
solve, creating a realistic idea of how profitable it can be.
5. Include Data
– While you don’t want to overload potential investors with
too much data, you want to include critical details about
projections and numbers. An effective pitch will provide
thoroughly detailed market research that is well organized and
strategically placed within your pitch to provide value.
6. Detail Your Early Successes and Milestones
– Depending on where you are in your journey. You want to
build credibility by sharing any successes or traction you’ve
made so far. Impress investors with your accomplishments thus
far and detail a complete snapshot of your startup. After
you’ve talked about your successes so far, touch on your
roadmap, what you believe you’ll accomplish, and how funding
will help your startup achieve it.
7. Practice Your Pitch
– Practice, practice, practice. You want to be able to speak
about every element of your startup easily. A successful pitch
is delivered with confidence. You can write down a speech and
practice it with your team, friends, and family. Practice in
front of a mirror and record yourself. Play it back and take
notes. Being prepared with practice can show investors that
you are in control and can be trusted to execute your vision.
8. Provide an Exit Strategy
– Often, startups overlook the value of providing an exit
strategy for their investors during the pitch meeting.
Although early in funding, most investors won’t worry too much
about the details of an exit strategy, it’s good to be
prepared if they ask. You’ll want to decide if you plan to go
public, get acquired, or focus on a management buyout.
9. Follow Up
– After you meet with potential investors, one critical step
is to ensure you follow up within 24 hours. Send a quick thank
you and be genuine. Even if they choose not to move forward, a
sincere thank you follow-up shows gratitude for their time
commitment and may even help you secure funding from them in
10. Create a Pitch Deck
– As you work through creating your pitch, you need to be able
to create a pitch deck that closely follows your speech and
provides clear and concise visuals and summaries of the data
you’re providing to your investors. Your pitch deck should
conclude with contact info.
What to Include in a Pitch Deck
Your pitch deck is essentially a presentation that compliments
your pitch as you seek funding to get your startup off the
ground. A powerful pitch deck will be clear, compelling, and
provide easy instructions on next steps. You can create pitch
decks with special software like Microsoft PowerPoint or
Canva. Here is how you create a compelling pitch deck that
will entice investors to move forward.
Choose a Professional Visual Style
– You want to keep your pitch deck simple and with a
professional layout. You want to think minimalism without too
many distracting images or text. Ensure your style is
consistent from start to finish, from the colors to the font
Include Information About Who You Are and Your Team
– Your investors will want to know your background and any key
players working to make your startup a success. Including who
you are will help investors and you decide if you will be a
good fit working together. You can provide contact information
at the end.
Start with a High
- Level Overview–Create a high-level overview of your product
or service. Keep it simple and include a few key points that
will likely encourage the investors to want to learn more.
This is where you would begin your elevator speech.
Explain The Problem What Your Product or Service Solves
– Create a slide that explains the problem your startup aims
to solve. Detail the problem and your target audience why the
problem needs to be solved in the first place, along with
supporting evidence that backs your details.
– Throughout your pitch deck, include data that adds to your
story as you tell it. Having one slide with all of your data
can be too busy and overwhelming. Including key points as you
move through your presentation will keep the information fresh
in your investor’s minds and relate it to the details in your
story where you included the data.
The success of your startup depends on your ability to conduct
the research needed to put together a comprehensive pitch to
sell your idea to investors. The better prepared you are to
present your pitch, the more likely you will succeed. With a
fully detailed pitch, you can be prepared at a moment’s notice
to speak about your startup via email, phone calls, or through