Up until now you’ve motored through the preparation for speaking to investors. Now let’s actually talk to some! In this Phase we’re going to focus completely around how to find inroads to the investor prospects you reached out to and how to develop the perfect email to send to setup your meeting.
Specifically we’ll cover the following topics:
Like most, you probably have never been through the funding pitch process before (why would you?) so we’ll give you the full tour. We’ll walk you through each of the critical steps of the pitch process from the initial Email Introductions to the Investor Pitches to the final Term Sheet and close – and give you advice for how to approach each step.
Chances are you don’t know any investors directly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to make different types of personal connections back to investors. We’ll start with how to find mutual connections from investors and then work toward other inroads including mutual interests that can make the difference between a cold introduction (read: no response) and a warm introduction that gets the discussion going.
Crafting the perfect email pitch is about distilling the elements of your overall pitch into just a few choice sentences. We’ll dissect each line of the pitch to give you a deliberate framework that you can build your own pitch against so that you hit each high point right on the nose.
Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to contact investors. We’ll show you how to take baby steps toward contacting investors so that you can reach out, gather some feedback, refine your approach, then contact more investors. The more you improve and refine your pitch as you go, the more successfully you’ll be in scoring meetings.
Short of walking you into your pitch meeting and giving the pitch for you (that costs extra!) we want to arm you with as much insight as to both the process and best practices so that you feel confident in your approach.
Some of these exercises will feel a bit obvious but a few will likely strike you as “Wow that sounds obvious now that you put it that way!” None of this is rocket science – but most Founders make the same mistakes that we’re trying to help you avoid, so please take some time to digest all of this so you can be as buttoned up as possible when you make that big ask.
Preparing to pitch investors is about having all your pitch material at the ready for each phase of the pitch process. It’s important to note that the pitch process takes months, not weeks (in most cases) and can easily consume 3-6 months if things go well. It helps to understand the steps of the process so that you can begin to triangulate where you are in the pitch process and potentially how much further you have to go.
A quick version of how the process works is this –
As we’ll discuss later, these steps happen in a fairly linear fashion however you’ll likely repeat many of the steps over and over until you get an opportunity to move forward to the next important step.
Requirements: Elevator Pitch, Email Pitch Template
Once you've got your list of investors ready, the first step is to reach out to them with a very well-crafted email. Your introduction should include both your Elevator Pitch and all of the elements of the perfect Email Pitch Template.
The goal of the email introduction isn't to convince investors to write a check - it's to get them interested enough to want to learn more about you. You're hoping they will do a little homework on your company, and if they like what they see, they will ask you for more information on the company.
Later on in this section we’ll talk about how to find the best inroad to an investor to develop a warm introduction.
Investor is asking:
Requirements: Linkedin Profile, Social Media
Depending on how you’re introduced (through a warm introduction or a cold email) an investor is going to want to know a bit about you personally. Ultimately, they want to know “is this person credible?” You can have an amazing idea but if you aren’t a credible Founder, their confidence that you can pull of the idea is fairly low.
Investors also realize there are lots of great ideas, but finding credible Founders is a harder search. Therefore you want to make sure what they do find about you is your best foot forward.
The most likely source of information is going to be your Linkedin profile since most people maintain this as a primary source of their business resume. Within the profile make sure you tweak your resume to highlight any experience you have that relates to this startup.
Beyond Linkedin, also consider what else shows up in a Google search for your name. Now might be a good time to make your Spring Break photos from college a bit more private. Also, if you have specific references that you’d like people to find, like a blog or Twitter account, do yourself a favor and point directly to those links in your outbound communications.
Last, if you have press that you’ve received that in any way either relates to this business or perhaps a meaningful past success, don’t be afraid to include that as well. That will help establish some 3rd party validation that you’ve done something meaningful.
Investor is asking: