Let’s talk: How to pitch to investors


pitching to investors

Featured | Let's Talk

By Loren Webb

A lot of businesses will need to pitch for investment from the likes of venture capital funds, banks or angel investors at some point on their growth trajectory. However, many founders and entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with the pitching process, as well as the pros and cons of working with different investors.

Today we are aiming to break down that process by asking our experts about the best ways on how to pitch your business.

You may have a fantastic business and a fantastic future plan for that business, but if you can’t convey that to investors in the right way, it’s not going to lead to capital that you need to accelerate growth.

Our experts talk you through their tried and tested methods for landing the right investment deal and their steps for leading a successful pitch.


 

Ben Lipschitz, MD, FoodByUs

  1. Take them on the journey – investors are intelligent but they don’t know the specifics of your industry or idea. Lay out the key themes for them and take them on the journey of why your idea solves a real problem. Jumping to the opportunity or implementation before you set the framework in place can quickly cause confusion.
  2. Be genuine – investors are not there to be ‘sold to’ – let them know some of your challenges, your concerns and your intended approach. No one has a crystal ball, but being open and genuine can help them see you’ll find a way even during unforeseen circumstances.
  3. Ask questions – don’t just talk about yourself – ask them about their portfolio, their investment philosophy, their process and more. You want to make sure that you’re getting more than just money, rather you want a partner for your business.

 

Melissa Haywood, Marketing Director of Vistaprint Australia

Your pitch may be the only chance you have to present your ideas in a short amount of time. Remember that confidence is key while executing your pitch. Your pitch could be a make-or-break opportunity.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts of a successful pitch!

Do

  1. Write your pitch down: Set aside time to sit down with a blank piece of paper and map out your business objectives and services. Keep in mind your skill set and what your reason for doing what you do is.
  2. Practice your pitch: The next time you are in an elevator or have a few spare minutes on your commute to work practice your pitch and envision yourself successfully delivering your key points.
  3. Keep it brief: Your pitch should last no more than 35 minutes. Be mindful of attention spans and make sure to hit your key points in the beginning of your pitch.
  4. Make it interesting: As upper management hears many pitches throughout their day, one way to stand out is adding a personal fact about yourself to make the interaction more personal.
  5. Exude confidence: If you don’t believe in yourself no one else will either. Confidence is the key to executing a successful pitch and making other’s trust you.

Don’t

  1. Come unprepared: It would be a shame to waste a unique opportunity in which you may not be able to speak to this person again. Always prepare beforehand!
  2. Tell your life story: An pitch should be short, sharp and snappy and leave a great lasting impression.
  3. Be too forceful and confronting: Be mindful of how receptive the other person is to your ideas. If they are not engaging with you, thank them for their time and be respectful.

You never know when your next opportunity will present itself. Be confident, be prepared and be enthusiastic towards the subject matter you are speaking to. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take so if an opportunity arises, seize it, you never know where it may lead!

 

Related:

 

Ben Rohr, CEO, Meluka Australia 

Raising awareness as a unique and competitive offering in Australia’s health and wellness space comes down to a resolute focus on getting cut through with investors at a time when capital constraints are affecting key investment decisions. A successful investment pitch is one that clearly outlines why you are seeking to raise money for your business and how this aligns with your plans for growth, product development and scalability. Other key considerations that you should address are what are your key target markets, who is your product for, how much funding do you really need to execute your commercialisation strategy over the next 18 to 24 months and what business continuity plans have you got in place to see your idea through, particularly given the current operational environment (in light of COVID-19).

 

David Holmes, CEO, Fergus

The best investment pitches are easy to understand and not too academic. A great tool for startups is the Value Proposition Canvas by Strategyzer to help formulate your pitch. Here are some key points to include in your pitch:

  • What is the problem you are solving?
  • How does your idea solve this problem?
  • What is the Value Proposition of the Company & the value to the end customer?
  • What is the business model? How you get paid.
  • What is the Serviceable Addressable Market (how many people actually want or need your solution) in the geographies you operate?
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Key team members and relevant experience
  • Financial Projections next 3 years.”

 

Weh Yeoh, co-founder and CEO of Umbo

The first point to assess about an investment pitch is what happens before anyone even opens their mouth. Are the values of the person doing the pitching and the person listening aligned? If not, this is already a recipe for disaster.

It is critical to know what the other party is looking for, and what perspective they are coming from. Are they interested in making a lot of money from an investment? Are they interested in creating social value? Once you understand their goals, check whether they align with your own and if so, you can then start tailoring your pitch based on your aligned intentions.

As a social enterprise, at Umbo, we seek investment from people who are interested in profit, but are more interested in purpose. We look for partners who align with our worldview. As such, we tailor our investment pitches to suit people who are driven to make a valuable difference. For us, a successful pitch has a strong narrative thread and explains why our work will actually make the world a better place.

 

Angus Dorney, co-CEO of Kablamo

Prepare. And prepare to be you. The most important part of a pitch is to be yourself.  No matter how great the idea, product or plan, people are going to need to believe in you. All these other things can shift or change down the track – but you will be the constant. So you need to be absolutely present. Trust your instincts on the idea/product/plan–you created it and no one knows it better than you. So turn up with of all of yourself. And, of course, be prepared. One good rule of thumb to measure your preparedness? If you can create material and then have the time to have a graphic designer look over and tweak. A professional eye can go a long way here, and also give you some critical distance and a shot of confidence.

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