Thanks to TV shows like Shark Tank and Dragons’ Den the world of pitching for business investment has lost some of its mystique. But if you’re an entrepreneur looking for funding, perhaps for the first time, how do you make a winning pitch? Four seasoned investors share some insights on how to improve your chances of landing a deal.
What does a great funding pitch look like?
A clear confident pitch goes a long way to demonstrating you can perform under pressure, says Tim Mills, investment director of the Angel CoFund. “Remember, you may be pitching to investors who lack familiarity with your sector and may be a little detached having seen countless other presentations. This is where numbers, a universal language, can help substantiate the business opportunity, but be mindful that numbers won’t tell a story on their own. They need context and should support what you are saying.”
Taylor Wescoatt, co-founder and partner at Concrete Venture Capital, adds: “We need to see a clear problem, with a smart, well-articulated solution, in a sizeable market with huge potential. Startups are all maybes, especially right at the beginning. Investors are backing the team at the start, so it’s good to see a founder carefully explain the path they will take to higher confidence.”
David Murray-Hundley, aka ‘The Grumpy Entrepreneur’, who has experienced both sides of the pitching process says media training can boost your prowess. “I spent years bumbling along before deciding that junior race drivers are much like entrepreneurs,” he says. “I went to the Oracle of this in motorsport, Louise Goodman, and let her tear me apart for four hours – four hours I have never forgotten.”
What should founders do to make an investor feel they are the one they really want on board?
Alberto Yepez, co-founder and managing director of ForgePoint Capital, says founders should do their homework to really understand why the particular venture firm they are meeting with will be able to help. “Researching their prior relevant investments can be useful, as is identifying common acquaintances in fellow entrepreneurs, co-investors, board members and advisors,” he says.