Pitching to Win: 10 Essentials for Winning Over Investors


As a startup trying to secure funding, the investor pitch is paramount. It is your first (and if done right, not your last) shot at winning over potential investors. While stepping into the shark tank can make even the most confident business leader or CFO sweat, preparation and a perfect pitch deck can set you up for success.

Capture-2In April 2018, Mindy Barker, CEO of Mindy Barker and Associates, and steering committee member of our Jacksonville chapter, led an engaging discussion for our members on this very topic. Mindy taught us how to win over investor confidence and we learned the following:

It is important to:

  • Identify the right investor. Who is the best match for your company and its product? At this early stage, family and friends might be a risky choice. Instead consider angel investors, venture capitalists, private equity, or family offices

  • Select one presenter to lead the charge. Choose someone from your team who is enthusiastic and well prepared. In order to maintain a flow and command attention, a single presenter is key. However, the rest of your team can be in the room to provide support and answer questions.

  • Prepare like a superhero. Superman always saves the day so you shouldn’t be any different. Set the tone by arriving confident, knowing your audience and being ready to take on the world in your best business attire.

Now that you have identified the appropriate investors and prepped your team, it’s time to ensure your pitch deck is on point. Consider this pitch like a first date; you’re aiming to woo your investors, but you’re not married and comfortable just yet.

First, check to see there is a required template and if so, do not deviate and stay on the clock. Follow the rules on their playing field. Second, in order to ensure your pitch deck is a roadmap to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, include the following 10 essentials:

  1. Cover page: Include the company logo and name, as well as your title and position. By keeping the opening page simple, you ensure that the room is paying attention and not reading into the finer details of the pitch too soon.

  2. Business overview: Identify the problem your product and/or service solves for and don’t get too technical. Be concise and speak to the layman.

  3. Team introduction: Share high-level facts and experience about your team, including a photo for each person (and skip the selfies). You may even want to add the logos of previous employers that hold industry weight, for example Google, Amazon, etc.

  4. Market opportunity: Lead with a brief overview of the size of the market from the top down, but delve deeper into the bottom-up analysis. This information is what your investors are really after. Come prepared with data, statistics and similar company comparisons to instill real investor trust.

  5. Product overview: Include your product name, along with its logo or label. Clearly and powerfully explain what it is, how it’s going to make money and how it is used.

  6. Business model: Include it all here—product, administrative and marketing costs. In addition, show proof that customers will use the product and it will create revenue.

  7. Competition overview: Never say no one. Because if you can’t identify the competition, it simply means you haven’t done enough research. Name them and callout what they are good at, but end strong with the unique value proposition that sets your company apart.

  8. Financial overview: Include clear revenue, expenses and net. Make sure to identify the measure used (thousands, millions, billions?) and round to the nearest dollar. Save the ten-year financial projection for the next meeting and opt instead for a five-year forecast during this pitch. Remember, right now you’re simply on a first date.

  9. A specific ask: Avoid asking for a dollar range if you don’t want to lose credibility. Request a specific amount of funding and clearly explain how you plan to use every dollar. Break it down with a pie chart or a graph to gain investor trust. Also, don’t throw terms around. It’s not a winning negotiating tactic so instead wait for your investor to provide a terms sheet and respond accordingly.

  10. Q&A: The last slide should open up the discussion to questions and include your contact information, including phone number and email address. While you should always have business cards on hand, paper is out and smartphones are in. Give investors the option to take a photo, enter your contact details into their mobile device or grab a card if they ask. And most importantly, this is the time to maintain your composure and remain professionalism as the questions come at you fast. Don’t have the answer? Let the investor know you’ll get back to them and use it as an opportunity to keep the conversation going after the winning pitch.

Ready to Get Started?

To listen to an archived recording of our members-only discussion, as well as download a copy of the slide deck, click the button below.

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