Reno Minnema 'Five tips for successfully pitching to investors'
As Business Developer at NOM, I am mainly concerned with guiding startups to funding. Learning how to pitch to investors is crucial in such a process. Pitching is not easy, on the contrary. Therefore, in this blog I will give you five tips that can help you to be well prepared.
Almost daily, I have the privilege of working with startups. Young enthusiastic companies that want to solve a problem with an innovative idea, product or service and take the market by storm. With a deep-seated conviction to succeed in doing so. To make their plans a reality requires money. Money that most startups logically do not have. And so an investor, or multiple investors, must be found.
Quite a challenge, to be sure. Because as a startup, how do you get to the table with the right investors? And especially: how can you stimulate them with the right words to invest in your company? Flinc supports you step by step. For example, we organize the Flinc Pitch Camp, an annual event where promising startups from the Northern Netherlands can pitch their idea and plans to a room full of experienced and interested investors.
In the run-up to the event, the innovative entrepreneurs receive intensive coaching from us. Because giving a good pitch doesn't just happen. It requires thorough preparation. After all, you have to inform, enthuse and convince an investor in a short period of time. It is a core skill every startup must have.
Therefore: five tips for successfully pitching to investors.
1. Limit your pitch to no more than two minutes!
No more than two minutes? Indeed, a good pitch is short and to the point. That way, you can be sure that the investor's attention span will remain tense and he or she will get your message. Sure, you have a lot to say as an ambitious startup, but don't forget that investors are primarily interested in the big picture.
So you have to make choices, avoid too detailed information (we'll get to that later in the Q & A) and, above all, ensure a logical structure. And yes, that is very difficult. Because how do you come up with a clear, structured and convincing story in such a limited amount of time? At Flinc, we advise startups to use five to six slides at most when pitching. That way you challenge yourself to really get to the point in a running story.
2. Provide a good opening
A good start is half the battle and you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Great clichés, but certainly when you're pitching no less true. So grab your audience's attention from the very first moment. Preferably with a strong and provocative opening sentence, of course, so that all eyes are literally on you right away.
Not unimportant: start your story only when the room in question is quiet. If there is still some buzz, chances are that the first two slides will already be missed. That would be a shame. After all, you want maximum attention. That's why we recommend that after you stand up, you look quietly into the room until everyone is quiet. A short silence also helps your audience get used to you.
3. After the opening, talk about the why, how and what
After the opening, it's time to get specific and get the investor excited about your idea, product or service with a through story. Starting with the why. Why do you do what you do? Or more precisely, what is the problem you see and what need arises as a result? Then tell, briefly of course, how your product or service solves that problem and thus meets that need.
But yes, investors are rightly critical and also want to know what your competitive position is. Therefore, include what the market looks like and who your potential competitors are. Then convincingly justify why your product or service is better and of greater value than existing products or services in the market.
4. Support your story with facts and data
A strong idea and a good story are great, but an investor also wants to know whether the market is really waiting for your product or service. You can say that your product makes you work 20% faster or saves thousands of euros. But what is that really based on?
So a good pitch involves more than just showcasing your own vision. Where possible, the investor also wants to see proof. Therefore, show clearly that you have thoroughly studied the market and your target group and have researched the market potential. In other words, support your story with relevant facts and data.
5. Be up-to-date and honest
In addition to being concise and persuasive, your pitch should obviously be credible. So be constantly aware of the stage your startup is in. Investors demand a realistic picture of the future, realizing that there are also risks for them in investing in your company. They pierce through falsehoods at lightning speed.
Therefore, a little humility doesn't hurt. As does showing a healthy dose of self-confidence. In short, strike a good balance between reality and enthusiasm. That will only make your pitch more convincing and increase your chances of success.
Becoming Investor Ready
Do you need funding to turn your innovative plans into reality and are you looking for support in giving a pitch? With our knowledge, experience and extensive funding network, we can help you become investor ready. And in finding investors, of course.