Like every great marketing and sales, the startup pitch ballgame starts before you dance– it’s inception is research.
But make it one memorable pitch, they said.
Well, memorable doesn’t always translate to profitable. Because, in reality, Venture Capitalists often hear plenty of pitches every week.
And, if you want to be on the front-page of their list, it is essential to learn a step-by-step strategy for pitching to VCs.
Let’s get started.
Go on a fishing expedition
Before you present, it is always essential to do some groundwork on the person that you are going to meet. Here are some tips:
- Decode their interests
- Enquire if the VC has any expertise in your area. And, improvise your pitch based on their background knowledge
- Find out their priorities–objectives, goals and roadmap
- Make sure that you are talking to the right people who’d invest in you. Understand the logistics and their fund size because if the firm is towards the end of their fund, they will be selective in handing out cheques
Don’t play by the rules
In the year 1976, Lynyrd Skynyrd was about to open for The Rolling Stones. Now the popularity of the Stones was way too much to handle for the lesser-known southern rock band.
As popularly said: “Opening for the Stones was like standing in front of a firing squad.”
Lynyrd Skynyrd was asked to complete their set within 45 minutes. Yeah, 15 songs altogether.
So they shortened their setlist and interacted with the audience–maddening guitar solos, callbacks, sing-alongs, crowd jumping and the infamous tongue walk.
This incident is a Rock n Roll Memorabilia. So before you walk into the room, improvise.
Or ask them: What’s that one important thing you want me to cover?
Depending on their answer, you gain an extra set of eyes on their interest. This is where you set the timbre of the conversation, and the chance to give them the best, most authentic impression of yourself.
You got that, right?
Don’t forget the numbers
Now that you have bought them their favourite seats, it’s time to sell your company’s philosophy with metrics. Most important, focus on traction metrics. Depending on the specifics of your business prioritise them.
Once you have figured out what to show the VCs ask yourself–do the numbers support each other? Because if a VC meddles around your stats, it muddles up things.
In case your numbers are weak, focus on the massive problem that you are trying to solve.
For example, I founded this company after realising that millions of people in the country do not have access to clean water.
If there’s no way out in the rumble then always use market metrics to show how high the ceiling is!
Draw the investor’s attention by showing the market share, convince them why your product is best suited for the specific scenario and why customers will vouch for you.
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Sell by not selling
Investors are people too. As human beings, we are all biased to favourable impressions.
To engage on a personal level, tell a story that everyone can relate to, without sacrificing the real pain-point that your product is trying to solve.
Pitch how your product will change lives, tell them how you crossed hurdles to be where you are, your ups and downs and everything that is directly related to your solution because the investors will evaluate the torchbearer of their expectations. That’s you!
Know when to stop
What makes a great movie? The music. At large, yes.
The protagonist? Very true.
But what makes it memorable? It is the ending.
This is where your organisation’s motto should reflect, a tag line that’d define your purpose.
Expect questions after you end, be confident, and talk to VCs as if you are talking to another founder.
And, always bring back the question to your company’s bottom line. Because in the end, what investors care about is the value.
Finally, practice, practice and practice because that’s all you need.
Also read: A Beginner’s Guide to Venture Capitalists