I'm speaking with a graphic designer to create a nice logo and then I'm speaking with developers to create a prototype and possibly a minimum viable product. My app idea can't be found on the app store or play store, so I'm confident that with great marketing I could bring in an abudant amount of users. How do I get the funding I need?
I'm not usually big on crowdfunding, but this is the sort of thing that it was created for. I would think that if you made your pitch compelling you'd be able to raise a fair amount that way.
I would also suggest that you really pear down your app so as minimize expenses. Use only one developer, making something with just enough features to get people interested and signing up. I wouldn't spend too much on the logo; a good logo is nice, but the question is, how much will it really help you in attracting early adopters?
World around People With Disability (PWD) is fast changing. There are many app for helping people with disabilities from dyslexia to hearing impairment. To begin with the funding process, you will investors to show interest in you. There have been several inventions which you can draw inspiration from. At National Technical Institute for the deaf they have pulled up UNI which converts sign language to text and speech. The prototype will be rolled out to the airports soon. The company name is Motion Savvy. The key idea here is to reduce the communication barrier.
Every year 85 million rail journeys are made in UK by disabled people. West Midland Railways did come up with an app called passenger assist.
The new Passenger Assist app, developed by Trans report for the rail industry, will:
a) Enable customers to book, change, and cancel assistance quickly, which can currently take up to 40 minutes over the phone.
b) Allow customers to create a user profile, specifying their personal details and the type of assistance they need, so that recurring bookings are quicker.
c) Provide staff with live information, including key details about the customer and their journey, so they can provide a better service and accommodate short notice requests;
d) Ensure better staff communication so staff can anticipate and deliver changes in planned assistance.
The app, currently being trialled by four train companies, will be rolled out across Britain this year to revolutionise passenger assistance, making it easier for customers to book help at stations and get a more consistent and reliable service.
People with wheelchairs do have accessibility issues as well, this was addressed by Maayan Ziv to counter her own disability. She was wheelchair bound and created an app called Access Now. It starts by selecting a place and describing it as accessible, partially accessible or inaccessible for wheelchair people and people are allowed to provide short description about the place as well, so the information is all crowd sourced. Access Now is sharing accessibility information about places around the world. Search for specific places like a restaurant, hotel, or store, or browse the map to see what is nearby with the accessibility features disable people require.
I believe now you do have an idea what your disability app may look like. For investment part you will require investors who are really interested in your project. So, we will talk about these one by one.
Business Angels are investors in generally small unquoted companies with very high growth potential. But why are the opportunities there at all? If the rewards were attractive enough, surely established sources of money would be competing to invest instead? The answer lies in part in the cost of doing relatively small investments. There are good reasons that larger institutions can’t afford to take the risk, while individuals can. And there are several aspects to this. Firstly, Business Angels must be capable of having their money tied up for years. Of the businesses that need Business Angel funding, even with the best will in the world the biggest potential winners are unlikely to provide the investor with any cash returns for some years. Institutional money comes from institutions. That is hardly surprising, but it means is that there is a hierarchy of employees, all earning wages and needing cash flow to pay them. So even small institutions have great difficulty in absorbing the cash flow requirements of small scale investing, whereas an individual with independent income has no such concerns. A second major reason is the cost of doing the deal. An individual with independent income can take whatever time he likes to find deals, make sure they are what he is looking for and that there are no unacceptable hidden frights lying in wait (“Due Diligence”), and negotiate terms. He can probably do most of the work himself at no or little actual cost. Institutions, on the other hand, do not have this luxury. They have to pay everyone all the time. They are also responsible to their owners, the shareholders, so they can not afford to cut corners or take uncalculated risks. Effectively, this means that there is a minimum real cost for every deal that they do, and in order to achieve an acceptable return this cost has to be factored in. Which inevitably means that there is a minimum and relatively high economic deal size. A third reason also involves the cost of deals, this time the cost of supervision. An individual is answerable only to himself for his time, whereas the institution’s employees have to justify how they spend theirs. Supervising a portfolio of investments is time consuming, so again economies of scale are important, and the institutions will focus on larger deals.
It is estimated that there are around 20,000 Business Angels in the UK, of whom 90% are male, aged 50 plus, with entrepreneurial or senior company officer background. Every year they invest some £800m to £1bn in aggregate, with individual deals ranging from £2,500 to £150,000, occasionally much larger: £500,000 is very uncommon but not unheard of. Of the funds invested, about 10% originates from Business Angel networks while the balance comes from ‘Friends and Families’. But there is great difficulty in claiming any authority on these figures, as the main source of figures is Inland Revenue feedback on those claiming tax relief; but the rules for such relief rule out any family involvement. Besides, most Business Angels share a desire for anonymity and are unwilling to divulge information about their investment activities, while most Angel Networks will want to stress their size and success. Thus all estimates about the true and potential size of the UK Business Angel market are based on informed guesswork.
In the United States, Business Angels fund 30 to 40 times as many ventures as institutions and are by far the most important source of funds for entrepreneurs. There, groups of Business Angels tend to team up for both formal and informal collaboration, and these collaborations are better at filling the funding gap than are Angels on their own. Informal statistics suggest that there are some ten times as many Business Angels per head of population in the US than in the UK. Clearly there are cultural differences that explain some of this gap, but that doesn’t explain why the US seems to have so many more good investments opportunities. And, frankly, the qualitative difference is illusory: there are not more or better reasons in the US.
Investors tend to feel ‘been there, done that’: they have already in their business lives done all the hard work, possibly several times. While most will still be able and prepared to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in, the investor is more interested in business strategy and growth. Rather than ‘entrepreneurship’, think of ‘grandparentrepreneurship’. The investor will advise, mentor, help in any way that he can, and then disappear for a week while the management get on with doing the job. He wants to get the results of his 30% share of each of a dozen or more able entrepreneurs, without having to break into a sweat himself. The next thing to note is that the Business Angel investor is not investing for income. He will already have enough to cover whatever his lifestyle requires, as Business Angel investing does not generally produce income in the short term. Over the longer term, however, a well structured Business Angel portfolio will generate excellent investment returns. Here, longer term means getting exits by selling his shares in invested businesses and re-cycling his Business Angel money, so there is a minimum of five years and probably ten years to wait; but thereafter a Business Angel ought to be able to expect a very profitable and often tax free cash flow. So the implication of this is that the cost of investing for a new Business Angel is the early lack of cash flow, of keeping their money tied up. They should never tie up more than they can comfortably afford. So, a well-managed Business Angel portfolio will provide generous returns both of money and of lifestyle, and on top of that there is often tax relief. A knowledgeable Business Angel, however, will not invest primarily for the attractive tax breaks, but he will consider all such tax advantages as part of his risk management.
Now, once we have got the Angel investor the next step is the approach. You must approach your investor, so that he can be satisfied with what plans you have in your mind. Business Angel investment may be risky, but does that mean it is also dangerous? To achieve a perceived reduction in risk, people are frequently advised by experts, both genuine and ‘down the pub’, to invest in ways that are intuitively sensible. The biggest problem with using this approach exclusively is that success in many fields is often not intuitive, or everyone would be doing it. This is especially true in Business Angel investing, where a successful strategy often arises from things which on the face of it go against ‘received wisdom’ and intuition.
Before you both face each other have a clear way to approach him keeping his and your gains in mind.
For the investor, it:
1) Helps assess relative merits of different business opportunities
2) Helps assess dissimilar investments
3) Helps build balanced portfolios
4) Helps judge where to make what investment of how much time and/or how much of money
5) Helps define meaningful performance milestones
6) Helps optimise portfolio performance
7) Helps optimise and speed exits
For the entrepreneur, it:
1) Provides a results-oriented planning tool
2) Provides insights into shareholder thinking by making entrepreneurs ‘reward aware’
3) Provides a simple vehicle to make entrepreneurs ‘risk aware’
4) Focuses management thinking on weaknesses and controls
5) Helps businesses become investment ready.
Another thing that will keep you in track during your fundraising initiatives is a model which uses very simple formula Return = Risk × Reward, where Return is the likely financial profit for the investor, Risk is the chance of the profit being realised, and Reward is the projected profit from any one investment. In this way, if the Reward from an investment is projected as 3-fold and the Risk is assessed as 1 in 5, then the overall Return would be 3 in 5, which is not worth doing as it is less than one. But if the Reward for the same Risk were to be 15-fold, the overall Return would be 15 in 5, or 3 to 1, and a worthwhile bet.
The several Risks associated with a business are identified and dealt with practically, in the same order as happens in practice. First, a business plan is read and analysed: the named risks are
Vision: (Concept, Marketplace, Evolution/Revolution, Focus, Size, Scale, Scope and Timing)
Business Model: (Marketing and Sales, Operations, Resources, and Finances)
If the plan is sufficiently encouraging, the principals are met. The risk factors associated with them are
People: (Character, Experience, Capability and Knowledge)
Each of these is analysed subjectively but consistently and given a score out of ten based upon both the written plan and the competence of the management. This is combined and weighed against the potential Rewards, which are calculated separately using several different approaches.
The method provides a degree of objectification when making comparisons between such disparate opportunities as a new burger chain, a new mobile app, novel fuel injection and a new film production company. Combining these Risk assessments with the Reward calculations really does provide investors with a tool to use when appraising different investments, and it gives entrepreneurs an insight into how best to structure and present their plans.
Next thing you must understand is the concept of Uncertainty present in your fundraising. Uncertainty is not at all the same thing as risk. Use of Uncertainty gives us the confidence level we need to ascribe to our judgments and calculations. In ordinary use the word ‘uncertainty’ does not inspire confidence. However, when used in a technical sense as in ‘measurement uncertainty’ or ‘uncertainty of a result’ it carries a specific meaning. It defines the range of values that could reasonably be attributed to the measured quantity. It is often stated by giving a range of values which are likely to enclose the true value. This may be denoted by error bars on a graph, or as value +/- uncertainty, for example the debtor days above could be expressed as 40 days +/- 10 days; or a business valuation could be shown as ‘The value is £1,000,000 +/- £400,000’. When uncertainty is evaluated like this it shows the level of confidence that the value actually lies within the stated range and is often calculated to a confidence level of about 95% (for the statistically minded, one standard deviation). This means that in the above examples the debtor days will be between 30 days and 50 days 95% of the time, or in the other example that 95% of the time the valuation of the business will be anywhere between £600,000 and £1,400,000. The impact of using the principle of Uncertainty on valuation of Reward, and on Risk Management at both investment stage and later, is profound and more than merits getting to grips with it.
Now we will talk about risk. Many people do not properly understand the nature of ‘risk’. Risk per se is not dangerous; it is the consequences of what happens should the risk occur that might be. When given the choice between a high risk or a low risk occurrence, most take the low risk option; a few, possibly suspecting a trap, take the high risk option; only a small minority ask “risk of what?”, and of course they are right. The original question is fundamentally flawed, because it does not give any information about the consequences of the occurrences: but it very frequently catches people out.
The factors that allow unpredictability to creep into an outcome are risks. Each risk has two components:
• The likelihood of it happening, and
• The impact it has should it happen
In a business environment, these are most easily distinguished by considering two simple situations.
Risk in a venture like yours can be divided into various subsections. These are as follows:
i. The Business Plan: Vision Risk
ii. The Business Plan: Stage Risk
iii. The Business Plan: Model Risk
iv. Model Risk: Sales and Markets
v. Model Risk: Operations
vi. Model Risk: Resources
vii. Model Risk: Finances
viii. People Risk: The Entrepreneurial Temperament
ix. People Risk: Character
x. People Risk: Experience
xi. People Risk: Capability
xii. People Risk: Knowledge
xiii. People Risk: The Team
xiv. Motivation Risk
Keep in mind that these risks are real, and once an investment begins and any of these risks pop up it can ruin your idea completely. Make sure that you sit with your team that will be working on your project and try to eliminate these risks.
Once all these is done that is:
1. Found an Angel Investor
2. Worked on your approach
3. Created a Model for your product
4. Dealt with all Uncertainties
5. Tackled all possible risks
Now we will discuss how can you get funded. Getting Funded begins with:
1. What a Business Plan is for: There are four main reasons for writing a superb Business Plan. Perhaps not so obviously, if a Plan is superb then it must by definition be describing a superb business opportunity. This is clearly exceptionally good news for everybody involved, because it is going to make a lot of money for everyone. Secondly, a superb Business Plan is a reflection on the author. It shouts out loud in technicolour (to mix metaphors) that the author is someone highly capable, who knows his business inside out and back to front. Any investor reading a superb Business Plan is going to want to back the person who can produce such a compelling business, such a superb opportunity.Thirdly, a superb Business Plan adds a great deal of value to the entrepreneur’s proposition. No longer is he an applicant seeking someone – anyone – to back him, he is dictating the terms, inviting investors to make offers. Superb plans can even prompt competition between investors to be allowed to invest. The entrepreneur can demand a ‘beauty parade’ of potential investors, taking his pick of those who offer the most and demand the least in return.And last but by no means least if you are serious about raising funds, your plan simply has to be superb for if it is not you will almost certainly fail. No ifs or buts, no excuses. We have never seen a superb Business Plan fail to get investment on advantageous terms, but it has to be admitted that we haven’t seen too many superb Business Plans. But we have seen maybe thousands of plans, some good, mostly dire, and roughly one percent actually manage to get any funding at all. So the effort of writing a superb Plan, of making your business into a superb one, has to be worth trying. But, inevitably, there is a downside: first you have to write your Plan. And writing a superb Plan is not easy, it takes a lot of effort and research, and maybe taking some difficult decisions about your team. But it really is worth it.
2. What a Business Plan Is: This is about how and why you need to put into your Business Plan what you do. Your business sells widgets. Your Business Plan sells investment in your business, not widgets. That is even worth repeating: your Business Plan is not to sell widgets. Your plan is specifically to help you sell a share of your business to an investor at a meeting: widgets are just the way your business makes profits. And the first step in the process is to persuade the investor that he simply has to meet you. It’s not what you sell, it’s how you make money, why you make money, when you make money, and how much money you make by selling it. Your Business Plan is a sales document that sells you, it advertises you. In our context, it is aiming specifically to raise money from someone you have never met who has the money you want, and you need to meet him to explain why. That is what your Plan is.
3. How a Business Plan is Read: Most Business Angel investors are professionals, or at least they behave professionally when it comes to investing. Typically, each Angel might see up to ten or fifteen new Business Plans every week. Some will see many more. Please note that we said ‘see’, not ‘read’, and there is of course a major difference. Reading a plan properly will take upwards of a couple of hours, while many investors will spend only two or three minutes on each plan. Does it appeal? Does it make him want to read further? If not, it won’t be read properly. So it’s not worth even wasting paper and postage unless you take writing your plan seriously and make a serious effort to get the investor to read it. The reader will first of all try to understand what is in it for him. Does it excite? If so, he’ll want to see if he thinks it is deliverable: can he visualise who wrote the plan. Was it the principal, or an adviser? If the latter, who owns the ideas? Was it written as a strategy for the writer to give him a road map, or is it little more than a wish list? Are the principals knowledgeable or do they come across as ‘winging it’? And which audience was it written for: a bank, or management peers, or was it targeted at an investor? Once it is read properly, and if you are still on his radar, it might join a pile of other plans that the investor has read and thinks interesting. If so, what will make your plan stand out so that when he revisits his ‘interesting’ pile he comes back to your plan? It must be memorable, both in content and in presentation. That need not mean expensive, simply visually memorable, as otherwise it could get overlooked. The investor may make only one or two investments each year so you have to make your plan compelling and memorable, from the first word on the front page onward. Don’t give the reader any excuse to put it down.
4. What Kind of Money: It might seem as if ‘money is money is money’: that there is only one kind, and you get to spend it. But for those people who have enough money to invest, either of their own or on behalf of others, it can be a very different story. They often have very specific requirements as to what happens to their money, what conditions are attached and what they expect in return. And if an entrepreneur doesn’t appreciate the differences, he is unlikely to succeed in persuading someone with money to part with it. It is critical that when writing a Business Plan you understand the nature of money. You need to have a very clear understanding of how much money you need, why you need it, what you will use it for, how long you need it for, what is the risk profile, what returns are you offering, and what you have to offer in return. What do you need the money for: short term survival while customers pay you, or to cover quarterly VAT; longer term finance of capital equipment or plant; investment in people to make something happen which is currently under-resourced…or what? Deciding correctly what ‘kind’ of money you need is essential because approaching the wrong type of funder is embarrassing, and certainly a waste of everybody’s time. Any investor will want to reduce the downside of his perceived risk as far as possible, so it is essential that every entrepreneur fully understands where the investor is coming from. For example, acting as a manager for an institution that has money to lend or invest has its own problems and issues, not all of which relate to the decision whether to back you. It is quite different having your own money. But trying to deal with an independently wealthy investor, answerable to no-one, brings its own set of problems.
5. Know your target: All interested investors will say they offer expertise, experience, contacts and hope, and some of them will be right. We have previously seen that investors can assist and add value through providing capital, introducing other funders, introducing and selling to key customers and strategic partners, advising on strategy and exit, attracting or introducing new talent, mentoring, acting as a sounding board for industry, function and experience, and raising the business’ status and profile by adding presence credibility and personal reputation. You will have to decide if the things they promise to bring with them are both deliverable and things that you actually need, and if the things they want from you in return are worth it. Which means you will have to know what you have to offer in return that is going to match with what they are likely to want. What security can you give, what income are you likely to be able to offer and when, what capital returns are likely and when, what involvement will you be looking for from your investor, and what wider benefits might there be if he should go ahead and put his money with you? You must decide if the cost, both financial and in terms of restriction and control, is worth it to you. Paradoxically, the plan for Business Angels should not give everything away. You need to explain in more than enough detail to get your target’s juices flowing and keen to meet you, but not everything. If you try to answer all his queries in the plan, and he’s not quite understood so he doesn’t ask to meet you, you’ll never have the chance to put him right. You must make the target want to meet you so you can persuade him of your credentials and abilities. He might be missing out on the best deal ever: you owe it to him as well as yourself to get the plan right, and to tempt him into that meeting. One final point to make, which impacts on many observations that follow, concerns your company if you have set one up. Unless there are compelling reasons to keep it, it is quite possible that an investor will choose to set aside anything you already have and set up a new, clean company, a ‘Newco’. Any assets such as intellectual property will be assigned to the new vehicle, leaving any potential hazards behind. It will make a difference to you only if there really are hazards in the original set up, such as losses you can not recover or minor shareholders who might take umbrage. It is certainly worth keeping this in mind before spending much on a business vehicle of your choice and might need to be factored into some of the following considerations and calculations.
6. Preparing the Business Case: Preparing a Plan can also be compared with a journey. If you are starting out on a journey, you will have a very clear idea of where you want to finish. It is probably an address somewhere, so you start the journey by putting in your finish point. If you start out without knowing where you want to finish, you could end up anywhere. The best Business Plans are written in a similar way: backwards. You know how much money you want to make and by when, so you know where you want to be when you exit. To get the exit price you want, you know what your earnings will have to be and what your Balance Sheet will have to look like. Of course, these will only be projections based on current comparables and multiples, but you must be aiming at something definite. So you know where you’ll be in, say, five years, and clearly it is easy to produce current Profit and Loss accounts and Balance Sheets for your business, so you also know where you are starting from. Given where you are starting from, what resources do you need now to get there? A Business Plan fundamentally is financial: it’s what the Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and cash flows will look like at various times in the future. You must work out in detail how you are going to ensure your journey does go from your ‘now’ to your desired ‘then’. Think it through risk, uncertainty, reward, vision, stage, model, people, motivation.
7. Writing a Business Plan: Great entrepreneurs do not have to be great writers but keeping it simple and clear is a must. Make sure you do not blind anyone with jargon. Jargon is not clever, it is confusing. It can also be counterproductive as it could well hide your brilliance. Do not let bad writing obscure your brilliant ideas, and do not give the investor any reason to put it down. Be incredibly careful: go after the money and the man will run a mile; go after the man and he will bring his money with him. The plan is written and expressed specifically to address the issues that the target might have, and to appeal to those of his instincts that will motivate him to say ‘Yes’. So, a plan for target A may well be inappropriate for target B, and so forth. It has to be written with cunning. You would not make a sales pitch to any company using a different company’s data and branding, would you? And, because the investor does not exist who does not want to reduce his exposure to risk, he will almost always try to share the risk with other funders. Inevitably this means you may have to write two or more versions of your plan, each appropriately tailored. Understand your target, understand how much detail he will need, and what detail. Consider your target’s personality and concentration span, so write to appeal, not bore, or overpower. Treat your target as highly intelligent but ignorant. This means that you must explain everything clearly, but also that he is very quick on the uptake so do not labour any points and explain just once, briefly. Remember that every Business Angel will be looking at dozens, perhaps hundreds, of plans so it is essential to keep it as short as possible without leaving out anything important.
8. Presenting a Business Plan:
Front page: is for a sound bite summary addressed to the investor with “What’s in it for You”: it is designed to make him want to read on. Don’t use the front page for just a title, because the target can forget a title but he won’t forget ‘What’s In It For Me’. If appropriate, indicate potential returns both gross and net of tax.
Page 1: heads off with the executive summary of 2–300 words explaining the investment opportunity (not the business!): who, why, what, where, when, how, IPR, how much is needed with what returns.
Pages 1 to 9: The text explains What (Vision), Why and Where (Sales & Markets), How (Operations), Using What (Resources), How Paid For and controlled (Finances) and by Whom (People). The commentary needs to excite the target in the way you intend hit his hot buttons, whatever you have decided they might be. Your analysis of strengths weaknesses opportunities threats should ideally be simply part of the text, where you explain how you arrive at both the assumptions and the Uncertainties shown in your spreadsheet printouts, and how you manage the variations things are not on plan.
Page 10: CVs of Principals
Page 11: Single spreadsheet page detailing all the assumptions and Uncertain variables in the forecasts, as above
Pages 12 to 14: Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow are each a single landscape spreadsheet page forecasting by year/month for 12 months around the minimum, as above in the second table.
Appendices could be omitted in the first introduction of your plan to the target investor, and if not omitted should be as short as possible; but if you have a ‘thorough’ type of personality – high in Steadiness and Conscientiousness, see the section on People Risk: The Team – and are targeting a similarly styled investor you should include Historical Accounts (if relevant), any Technical information and what Market Research details add substance to your proposals. Other investors will ask for the appendices if they want to see them.
You will need several, especially short summaries if you are going for Business Angels. Business Angels will ask to see various lengths of your plan: some will want the full works, while others will not want to read all that but ‘please just send me a 2-pager’. So you will need a 50-words ‘sound bite’, a 200 worder, a 500 worder, a 1-pager, and a 3-pager as well as a full plan. Make them all exciting to read, full of interest and potential, without being over the top.
9. The Pitch: There are three kinds of pitch. The first is wholly informal, which you never know can lead to surprising new contacts and networking. Remember that you are selling a share in your business, not ‘widgets’.
a. The informal Pitch: Most of the time, you will be unprepared for a pitch. Why?
Because, most of the time in some unexpected situation someone will innocently ask you ‘What do you do for a living?’ and you will blather on for a while, then give up, probably when they lose interest. And not merely is that not very socially clever, it is a real waste of an opportunity. So put as much effort into your pitch as you do into your plan. Prepare and practice sound bites, so you are never caught off guard if someone casually asks. It’s what you will be measured on: how you present. Practice, feedback, think again, again and again!
b. The Formal Pitch: Then there is the highly formal prepared Pitch which must last for exactly so long in front of an audience of Business Angels. These are always worthwhile, and several Networks organise formal Pitching events. Even if you don’t raise money there, the practice is invaluable. This main Pitch is when you are trying to interest someone who has not yet read your plan, or at most a brief synopsis put about by the Network, and the purpose of your Pitch is either to get the investor to want to read it, or better still to get him to a meeting. The Pitch should not be a verbal repeat of the written plan, because people respond differently to speech, but it should, of course, be based on the written plan with these important variations:
i. Tell them what you intend to say (introduction)
ii. Tell them what you’re saying (main Pitch)
iii. Summarise with what you just said (summary)
iv. Keep it simple, cover the essential points (“What’s in it for Me” what how much when why how where and who)
v. As with the written plan, work on various versions. Get your ‘sound bite’: ‘I do ‘XX’ and I need £YY to do it. And I’m looking for someone who can add more than money: I need a ZZ guru’
vi. Do a 5-minute, a 10-minute and a 15-minute version.
vii. And do a version that allows greater flexibility, for when you are talking with your funder target informally.
If you want to do a PowerPoint presentation, please do not simply reproduce on your slides what you are saying. Use fewer slides than you think ideal and put the main salient points in big letters. Your talk is to explain the slides, and your slides are to illustrate your pitch. Use pictures, graphs, diagrams but as few words as possible. And whatever you do, do not read them: you should be facing your audience and wowing them, trying to get the odd eye contact for feedback and to initiate relationships. Remember that when you are talking, you are saying what you think you should say. When you are answering questions, you are addressing what your audience wants to hear. There is a big difference. So never take up more than half of your allotted time on your Pitch: then invite questions from the floor. In your Pitch, leave details unanswered: leave that for the questions. When answering questions, answer fully but briefly: solicit more questions, don’t go on and on. Aim to get as many questions as possible, so answer each as briefly as you can without being rude or incomplete. If you can do this, you will impress the audience and you will have a queue to talk with later.
c. The Speed Pitch: And finally, there is the pitch you will need if you attend any of the ‘Speed funding’ type of events that are often arranged by Business Angel Networks. Investors sit at tables and entrepreneurs join them in turn for a set time depending on how strictly the event has been arranged. You usually have, say one or two minutes in front of each investor to make your case, then swap tables any number of times. This tends to be a combination of a very brief formal Pitch and the meeting, in that you use some of your available time to make a set pitch, then have an equally brief informal chat to establish human contact. The idea here is to get the investor to want to follow up the introduction with a lengthier meeting.
But even though pitching comes in three types, they are the same in principle: they need practice, and more practice! Remember you want to give him the information he wants, so be ‘coy’ and solicit questions, rather than telling him what you think he wants. Keep your pitches short, keep away from detail and work on several versions.
The Meeting: Finally, we come to the Meeting when you meet your target investor in more-or-less informal surroundings when he will try to find out what it is that makes you tick. This is similar to the Pitch, but informal: keep to the point and do not bore with lengthy answers. The investor may well try, possibly quite subtly, to put you off. Don’t be surprised if he refuses to listen to a prepared pitch in a meeting: he may well simply say ‘Yes, I understand all that. But I want to find out if you understand it too without notes or prompts. Remember that he’s not trying to find out about your business, he’s trying to find out about you, and if he likes what he sees, he’s going to decide if he can both trust his money with you and work with you. It’s worth repeating you are not selling widgets, you are selling yourself and your ability to make money from widgets, especially when it goes wrong. Which it will. To get across the right message you need to ensure that the investor really understands that you understand not just your business, but the business of business: you want him to back you and not your idea. He will pick out something to ask you about, it doesn’t matter what, to see if you really understand your plan. He will test your case to destruction, and not wholly to see if it does destruct but to see if you self-destruct too when under pressure. Know the business inside out: and if you need your right-hand man with you because he’s the one who understands the money side, or whatever, take him with you. No investor of any colour will put his money your way if you even look like you are not on top of your game. No excuses. Do your rehearsals before the meeting, and not with the investor. Do not even think about ‘winging it’. You won’t get two chances. Remember that everyone else who is looking for money is muddying your waters. To have the best chance of success don’t spread your plan around: do research and target only likely takers, and if you use funding intermediaries make sure their brief is specific: there’s nothing quite so damaging to a plan than for an investor to receive multiple copies from different sources. Make sure you manage investors’ expectations and especially do not hide surprises; only ask for a confidentiality agreements if essential, and you will find that larger companies and Institutions may be unable to sign them because of their size.
Once you get all the pieces of the puzzle in proper places, you will get your funding!
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath
I am assuming you have validated this with your target audience? That being said, I believe you will need at least 2x that much to build and market the application effectively. Crowd sourcing may be a route, but it will be combined with some boot strapping, personal savings and investment from your network as few investors will put anything in until you have an MVP.
We'd need more information to provide a answer to your specific needs, but on top of the most well-known fundraising options (angel investment, self-funding, crowdsourcing), you may want to consider govenrment grants (depending on where you're incorporated, for example NHS in the UK provides significant support to Healthtech startups), or grants and fundraising support from nonprofit foundations whose thesis matches yours. You can also look at partial investment solutions, such as venture builders. Creatella Ventures (disclosure: I'm its founder) is a Venture Builder that can finance half of the costs of all the design and development efforts (which is usually the highest costs) for the first years, until you're able to reach series A.
I'd recommend a blended approach, wich a bit of self-funding (to show skin in the game), 1 or 2 angels (FFF), hopefully grants and venture building. Don't try VCs though, it's at a later stage.
Best of luck!
I agree with many that it's very important to have done your customer validation thoroughly to understand the desirability - do this before you even speak to a developer.
Even before you develop the prototype and spend money, there are many small, inexpensive experiments that you can run to identify the must-have features and experience that your app will require (the painted doors, A/B testing etc). You can even build a paper-based app that walks through the customer journey.
See it as extra validation that will help you build your value proposition and better solidify the "build". This way you'll also maximise the dollar spend on the eventual prototype as you will know what customer really NEED and want.