Tips to Refine Your Investor Presentations
Colorado’s startup economy is booming. How can you get your share? As an operations consultant for The Impact Angel Group, I’ve had the privilege of attending several pitch events and have seen about 40 startup pitches in the last 60 days, almost all from Colorado companies. I’ve also talked day and night with entrepreneurs, investors, and the business community about new ventures. My tip series for successful startups is built of those discussions.
Below is Part 1: Nail Your Pitch to Investors in 10 Minutes or Less.
Colorado is buzzing with new energy and new money. Incubators, accelerators and funds are emerging. Best of all, angels are investing.
Blackstone Capital, Boomtown, Galvanize and the Colorado Impact Fund are leading the way to bring new companies to Colorado. The environment reminds me of my days in Silicon Valley in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Now it’s happening in my hometown. I couldn’t be giddier. But even with all of this activity, not every startup walks away with funding. How can you increase your chances? It begins with a good opening to your pitch session.
Most investors will tell you that they’ve decided whether they want a second meeting with you after the first 10 minutes. The pitches I’ve seen range from 8 to 20 minutes. The bottom line: No matter how long your pitch is, you need to nail it in the first 10 minutes, or you won’t get to first base.
Let’s face it: If you have a good idea, it’s YOUR idea. You are so passionate (crazy?) that you quit your job and mortgaged your house to start your company. If you are that passionate about your product (and you should be!), knock that off when you start your presentation, and move on quickly.
I’ve seen entrepreneurs spend too many of those valuable 10 minutes trying to suck us into the passion of their pitches instead of showing us your business acumen and persuading us that you can run the company.
Yes, establishing an initial connection with the audience and letting them know what lit the fire in your heart is extremely important! Just do it in 2 minutes, and move on.
Never forget: Practice, practice, practice! A lot of would-be entrepreneurs stumble here. If you can’t speak comfortably to an audience WITHOUT reading from your slides, you look as if you can’t run a company. Suck at presenting? Have someone on your leadership team do it, but set up opportunities to chime in. Investors like to see how teams work together. Your pitch is a good opportunity to do that.
Out of the 40 pitches I’ve seen, many them have secured some sort of funding. It’s true that I’m seeing companies that are in their later stages of fundraising, but Built in Colorado stats agree: “the amount of funding raised in the first half of 2014 totals $281 million, a 56 percent increase over the first half of 2013”. I hope you’re next!