How to Make a Successful Pitch to Investors


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Clarisse Molad

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How to Make a Successful Pitch to Investors

  1. 1. Dr. Clarisse Behar MoladBalkan Unlimited, President of the Board
  2. 2.  Professor of global business management with emphasis on technology entrepreneurship Over 15 years experience as an international consultant to start-ups, corporations, NGO’s and governments Began working in the Balkans in 2004 as Fulbright Scholar and USAID consultant Helped create Balkan Unlimited as a result of work with Macedonian Government on an Innovation Initiative in 2010-2011 2
  3. 3.  Business plans are useful in a world where analysis gives you control over the future, but in a start-up today, even the best-laid business plans often fall short! You can write a beautiful 50-page business plan without ever talking to a potential customer. This will NOT attract an investor… 3
  4. 4.  You need to persuade investors in a very short time that your company has the technical expertise, business acumen and potential to develop innovative products for a ready market. 4
  5. 5.  The overall objective of the pitch is to make a sound business case for your company. So… Outline the value of investment proposition and demonstrate how investors are going to benefit from the company’s progress through a handful of well-placed key messages that resonate with investors. 5
  6. 6.  Show the concrete steps you have taken to develop your proposed/existing business Always Identify a market opportunity or prove you have interacted with potential customers to demonstrate your start-ups viability! 6
  7. 7.  Make sure you do your research because knowledge is power! You have to know your audience, know your company and product and most importantly, know what you can offer your target market in terms of their need. 7
  8. 8.  If the pitch is in relation to a problem that your business/service/product will solve, then place it in that context. If the investors can relate to the problem, then they are more likely to put their money where your mouth is. So keep it relevant, interesting and professional. 8
  9. 9.  Its all in the numbers! Make sure the facts and figures tally. Any inconsistency will be picked on and picked apart by any shrewd investor. Do not give them a reason to turn you down. They have choices, make sure yours is the one that they choose! 9
  10. 10.  Practice makes perfect - most of the time… Practice allows you to feel more confident and prepared and will help you iron out any problems in the run- up. One of the ways of doing this is by pitching to your friends, family, teachers, etc. 10
  11. 11.  The pitch should flow seamlessly, using clear and assertive words that tell a compelling story to capture and maintain investor interest. The key is to simplify the story, limiting each slide to one take-away point, paring down excessive verbiage on slides and adding visuals to illustrate important points. Be sure to maintain a consistent level of disclosure, and tone down any blatant promotion. 11
  12. 12.  Arouse interest immediately by hooking the audience with your “elevator pitch” — a clear, 30-second description of the company and its investment attributes — along with a noteworthy accomplishment or milestone that establishes credibility at the outset. The entire presentation should be structured to support these key messages! 12
  13. 13.  Design your presentation so it’s easy to follow Succinctly explain your business, products and technology or your exploration and development strategy Choose key investment strengths and reinforce them Describe your target market, business strategy and management expertise concluding with financials and a strong, confident close 13
  14. 14.  Define the market opportunity in realistic terms. Investors want to know that you understand your company’s or product’s true market potential. Describe the market’s size, characteristics, growth potential and trends. 14
  15. 15.  Technology investors are looking for undiscovered companies with leading science and intellectual property that addresses an unmet need. Explain the technology in very simple terms. Where possible, use analogies to drive the point home. Focus on the novelty of the technology, how it works, proof of concept, how it compares to the gold-standard in the industry and the company’s product development and marketing plan. 15
  16. 16.  Whatever stage a company is at, you must be able to clearly articulate its goals and long-term business plan. If you are looking to sell or license rights to a product, development rights to a property, or enter into a joint venture, you should be able to confidently convey your strategy for doing so. 16
  17. 17.  Investors like management teams that can get results, ideally made up of professionals with a track record of successful discovery, expertise in taking a product or project beyond the feasibility stage, as well as experience forming partnerships and raising capital. Briefly highlight management’s track record and expertise by pointing out relevant past accomplishments. 17
  18. 18.  Given that few start-up companies are profitable, valuation may revolve around discovery, intellectual property, or management expertise Investors pay close attention to the progress of product/project development, partnerships and, in particular, the amount of money a company has on hand compared with its expenditures. 18
  19. 19.  Always end the presentation on a high note! When looking for financing, specify how much you need in this round and how it will be used, with emphasis on the company’s investment merits 19
  20. 20.  s6bU&feature=player_embedded David S. Rose on pitching to VCs on TED: “Investing in YOU: integrity, passion, experience, knowledge, skills, leadership, commitment, vision, realism” 20