Congratulations on reaching a significant milestone in your business development journey – seeking out funding! Amidst the hustle and bustle of managing your daily operations, marketing your business, and meeting with staff, you’re likely researching venture capitalists and business pitch competitions to secure funding.
While there are numerous avenues to acquire funding for your business, pitch competitions have become increasingly popular in recent times. The rise in popularity can be attributed to the success of shows like Shark Tank, where entrepreneurs present their ideas to established business moguls in hopes of securing investments. This model has been adopted by accelerators and competitions across the country, providing a unique opportunity for businesses to showcase their offerings.
Are you preparing to pitch to a venture capitalist or participate in a pitch competition to secure funding for your business? If so, you might be wondering how you can craft a winning pitch that impresses potential investors and secures a partnership.
Although there’s no such thing as a perfect pitch, gaining insights from seasoned entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who have successfully navigated this process can significantly improve your chances of success. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five valuable tips from experienced professionals in the field to help you create an exceptional pitch.
Keep it Short and Manageable
Crafting a concise and engaging pitch is crucial when seeking funding for your business. While it may be tempting to create a lengthy presentation with dozens of slides, experienced venture capitalist and Canva’s Chief Evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, advises against it. Having sat through many long and uninspiring pitches himself, Kawasaki created a formula that covers all the necessary points while keeping the audience’s attention.
Introducing the 10/20/30 rule – a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation that lasts no more than 20 minutes, with each slide featuring a 30-point font for legibility. This formula allows you to discuss a manageable number of concepts in a concise and digestible manner, making it easier for investors to understand your business and make informed decisions.
Quickly Capture the Attention of Your Audience
In today’s fast-paced world, catching the attention of your audience is crucial, whether it’s a blockbuster trailer or a catchy new song. This principle also applies to venture capitalists who are always on the lookout for the next big thing. Even if you have a groundbreaking idea, you must make an immediate impact to pique their interest. According to Robert Herjavec, a well-known entrepreneur and Shark Tank investor, you have a mere 90 seconds to showcase your expertise and confidence and make an outstanding pitch. Therefore, it’s essential to craft a compelling pitch that captures your audience’s attention right from the start.
Do Your Homework
To succeed in fundraising for your business, it’s essential to do your homework on potential investors, just as you would for a job interview. Demonstrating a thorough understanding of their investment background and outlining how your business can benefit them will boost your credibility. David Selverian, a Bessemer investor, stresses the significance of researching investors, stating that “conducting thorough research enables you to explain why a particular investor is an ideal match for your business, ensuring that both parties possess complementary skill sets and interests.” By leveraging this approach, you can increase your chances of securing investment and growing your business.
Create a Connection
When pitching to investors, it’s crucial to keep in mind that they are people too. To make your business pitch engaging and relatable, consider incorporating elements that resonate with you personally. A warm smile or a lighthearted and humorous remark can help ease tension and nervousness. If you’re feeling anxious about the pitch, try to connect with a few investors beforehand to establish familiarity and ease your nerves. Michael Greeley, a board member of the National Venture Capital Association, suggests scheduling a breakfast meeting with one or two investors before presenting to the entire team, as reported by Forbes. By following these tips, you can enhance your pitch and improve your chances of securing investment for your business.
Think Like an Investor
To succeed in securing funding from investors, it’s essential to appeal to their logic and reasoning, in addition to connecting with them on a personal level. Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and owner of Khosla Ventures, recommends that entrepreneurs “pitch the way VCs think,” combining factual information with persuasive arguments. By applying Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule and narrowing down your pitch to three to five key takeaways highlighting why venture capitalists should invest, you can make your presentation more impactful. Khosla also advises entrepreneurs to address any potential investor concerns and provide compelling reasons to invest in their business, speaking directly to their interests. By following these best practices, you can create a successful pitch presentation and increase your chances of securing funding for your venture.
Securing funding from venture capitalists can be challenging, with VCs receiving up to 500 pitches in a year, and only a small fraction of startups advancing past the initial meeting. In such a highly competitive environment, it’s crucial to differentiate yourself from the rest. Conducting thorough research, preparing extensively, and empathizing with the perspective of investors are key strategies for standing out from the crowd and increasing your chances of securing funding. By following these best practices, you can position your startup for success and secure the funding necessary to bring your vision to life.