Over the last seven years, since I set up Freeagent, I have pitched to a number of investors in rounds of funding. Overall, it has worked: to date, we’ve raised more than £4m.
Here is what I’ve learnt – here are my do’s and don’ts on pitching to investors:
1. Do your research
Identifying investors and convincing them you have a strong business model is almost a full-time job in itself, but there are ways to make the task easier.
Online communities, such as AngelList can help you locate investors who are interested in your sort of business.
By far the most effective introduction is a ‘warm’ one – from another entrepreneur or investor that they trust. Do you know entrepreneurs who have already raised finance? Perhaps the first step is asking for their feedback – most entrepreneurs are delighted to help out.
2. Do put yourself in the investor’s shoes
You are looking for somebody who is willing to part with meaningful sums of hard cash but your proposition may only resonate with a handful of individuals.
Your potential investors are looking for a significant financial return, which means they need to share your vision, agree there’s a big opportunity and that you have a good chance of winning those customers.
3. Do keep it short
You don’t need long, detailed documents – you need a convincing story.
Be enthusiastic about your company’s potential but don’t waste time talking about details that are of no particular interest to investors. Make sure your presentation attracts attention and focuses on the information that investors need.
If you need more than 10-slides to support your case, perhaps you need to distil it down. If your investor has not taken the bait by then, you will never get them hooked.
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