Remember the days of going to a live pitch event and meeting investors face-to-face?
Remember when you used to get up on a stage and put on a big song-and-dance to wow an audience full of venture capitalists and angel investors?
In our post-pandemic world, those days are long gone.
Even if you’re a first-time entrepreneur or you’ve never attended a live pitch event, you’ve probably heard about the best ways to attract an investor’s attention with your pitch. But chances are those tips were based on the old model, not the new normal.
To attract early-stage investors in today’s environment, you need to adapt your pitch approach to the new ways that investors and founders interact. These 7 tips will help you succeed.
1. Be ready to pitch on Zoom (or similar platforms).
When COVID-19 hit, Silicon Valley had to pivot like any other industry. Overnight, live pitch conferences and networking events were cancelled or postponed. Then once it became clear that the virus wasn’t going away any time soon, those investor events migrated online.
There are still opportunities to meet and pitch VC firms and angel investors for early-stage funding. After all, investors are still in search of high-potential startups that can generate a strong return and founders are still in need of funding to get their ideas off the ground. Those opportunities just take place online now (primarily), using Zoom and similar video conferencing platforms. If you expect to meet investors, you need to be prepared to pitch using these tools.
2. Invest in the right technology infrastructure.
If you’re going to pitch investors online, you need to be confident that your presentation will go smoothly in terms of the mechanics. That demands reliable technology, including:
- A laptop or other device with good processing power
- A quality webcam (if the one that came with your device isn’t up to par, consider adding an external webcam)
- A reliable Internet connection
- An Ethernet cable for plugging directly into your modem (which creates a more stable Internet connection than wireless)
3. Don’t deliver a monologue; engage in a dialogue.
To connect with the investors whose money you’re looking to attract, hold their attention, and ensure they don’t get distracted by incoming emails and texts, you need a pitch deck that builds in opportunities to interact with them.
One of the advantages of Zoom and similar platforms is they have built-in features for engaging your audience. You can ask investors to answer a poll, reply to you in chat, or use the raised hand icon to ask a question. If you use the chat feature, it helps to have someone else monitor the chat window and alert you when someone posts a comment or question.
If your product is conducive to a demo, that’s a great way to get investors engaged. And no matter what techniques you use, it’s best not to talk for more than 5-7 minutes without stopping to do something or ask something.
4. Make sure you (and your background) look good.
Just like you’d want to make a good physical impression when meeting investors in person, you should take the same care when presenting online.
Be sure to dress appropriately and professionally (business casual is typical) and find a clean, uncluttered space to set up. If you don’t have a relatively blank wall to position yourself in front of, use a stock background that is unobtrusive and won’t distract attention from you and your presentation. Some presentation experts discourage using blurred backgrounds because they can create an awkward view as you move.
Don’t forget to pay attention to lighting. Natural light is best, and ideally it should be in front of you. If you have no choice but to stand in front of a window, close the blinds to reduce glare.
5. Rely on your voice instead of gestures.
When you make an investor pitch in person, you can use hand gestures and body language to convey enthusiasm about your idea, but that’s much harder to do online. In this environment, your voice will need to do much of the work. Vary your inflection and tone of voice as you deliver your pitch, to convey energy and to avoid falling into a monotone.
6. Have a backup plan.
Whenever you rely on technology, it’s wise to have a solid backup plan. That includes having a secondary laptop or other device (in case your primary one crashes) and a backup Internet connection like a hotspot (in case your Internet service provider experiences an outage just as you’re about to start presenting).
7. Practice, practice, practice.
Just as you’d practice a live presentation, always practice your online pitch several times before the big day. Use these dry runs to check that your technology is working, your audio quality is good, your video is streaming smoothly, and you’re comfortable with the flow of your pitch.
Of course, all these tips assume that your product or service offering is well-suited to a post-pandemic world. If your business model is outdated given the new way business is conducted today, your odds of getting funding in a competitive environment will be significantly lower.
Securing early-stage funding for your startup business is a complex undertaking—one that requires expert guidance. That’s why many founders turn to the finance and accounting professionals at Scrubbed!
Scrubbed has deep experience helping founders ensure their financials are in order before they seek early-stage funding. Before you embark on a fundraising effort, contact Scrubbed to learn how we can help.