Any presentation made by a company or an individual to a venture capital investor must capture the investor’s attention quickly. It must also serve another important purpose – it must get the investor enthusiastic about the company’s product or technology. The strength of the company’s management team, the opportunities identified within the market and the potential return on investment must all be compelling information.
The information a company provides to the investor must be well organised, reflect the investor’s criteria for investing, and must be backed by sound scientific, marketing and financial data, wherever possible. All too often, poor investor approaches lead to lost opportunities for funding and a slow spiral into obscurity.
There are five key ways to impress a venture capital investor.
- Present the investor with a well-thought out business plan. This document takes time to prepare and will evolve as your business does. It doesn’t have to be a really lengthy document, but it does have to be packed full of vital information.
- Clearly communicate what you want from the investor. This is not limited to how much cash you want in your bank account. Do you want the investor to be involved in the day-to-day running of the company? Do you want them on your board? Do you want connections and resources as well as cash? Do you want cash more than once?
- Understand and respond to the criteria the venture capital investor uses to invest. Do some research and talk to other people who have approached this investor. The better you understand what they are looking for, the better your chances.
- Have someone introduce you to the investor. If someone you know and who believes in your vision can introduce you to the investor, all the better. This is not essential, but if you can organise it, it will help.
- Prepare. Practice your pitching and do your research. Write your business plan carefully and understand what your investor wants. Know your industry, know your stats. Practice your pitch again. If you can walk in there, speaking fluently and knowledgeably about your business and your industry, not only will you feel more confident and less stressed – the investor will be much more likely to listen to what you have to say.
We have said it before – no-one is going to give you money for free. Investors are not there to hand out donations. They are running a business too! They want to see solid returns for their investment and they want to be 100% confident in you and your team’s ability to deliver. Do everything you can to make sure your business idea is viable and profitable, your presentation is practiced and smooth and you don’t waste the investors time. Good luck!