Seemingly out of nowhere, the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world and sent most of us to our homes to work, full-time, where many of us still find ourselves today. If you are a startup founder in need of investors, you might be wondering how you will find funding if you can no longer meet with potential investors face-to-face. Luckily, as fast as the world changed and shifted to working from home, the world has adapted, and remote pitching has become commonplace among startups and investors.
While many of the tactics you used for in-person pitches remain the same for remote pitches, there are some tips that you should know to make the most out of your remote pitches. Read on for our top tips that will give you the best chance of success when pitching a potential investor.
Prepare Well in Advance
Prepare for the call well in advance by educating yourself on the potential investors.
First, you should know exactly to whom you are pitching. Are there specific types of startups in which they invest? What are their specific industries of focus? How much capital do they generally invest? Consider factors that will give you insight into whether you might be a good fit for them and to show you where you might have a weakness that you will need to overcome to receive their backing.
Second, once you have prepared your presentation materials, share the deck with the investors ahead of time. Ask them to take a look and let you know if there are any specific topics for which they would like more information or how they would prefer you focus the presentation. If you involve them in advance and tailor the presentation to what they are looking for, they will be more likely to be engaged during your pitch.
Lastly, set a clear agenda for the pitch. This way, you will have enough time to cover everything you need to cover during the remote meeting.
Prepare Questions and Ask for Questions
During your pitch, you should ask questions to make sure the potential investors are a good fit for your company. While you might think an influx of cash to your company is a good thing, you want to be sure that the investor is aligned with your vision for the company, too. Prepare a few questions to ask during the remote pitch to determine whether the investor will truly add value to your company – beyond the initial influx of capital.
Likewise, investors will probably have many questions for you, the founder. In addition to asking for questions at the end of the presentation, if you share your deck with the investors well in advance, you can encourage them to send you questions ahead of time so you can either cover those questions during the presentation or be prepared to answer them at the end.
Check (and Double Check) Your Technology and Practice Your Pitch
The last thing you want during a remote pitch is for something to go wrong with your technology. While you can never be 100% certain that your technology will not fail you during a remote call, by preparing well and checking all of your technology ahead of time, you will cut the chances of error down considerably.
Some things to look out for include:
- Ask to use your own conferencing platform, as opposed to the investor’s, so that you know you are comfortable with it.
- Do a few test pitches to make sure you can share your screen, click through your deck, and use all of the functions correctly.
- Check your wifi’s speed and bandwidth to make sure it can support a video call.
- Set up your desk to minimize distractions and make sure your space looks professional and neat.
- Position your camera and computer so that your shoulders-up are showing to simulate an in-person meeting.
Know Your Story and Articulate It Well in Your Slides
The story you tell about your company’s mission, as outlined in your pitch deck, will be the most important part of your presentation. If you cannot capture the investor’s attention with your story, you are unlikely to land the funding.
Once you sketch the story you want to convey, take the time to set it out in a compelling way in your pitch deck. You want each slide to elicit a certain response from the audience (your potential investor), so make sure each slide does just that. This is even more important in remote settings, as it is harder to capture an audience through a screen. Do not be afraid to make your visuals catchy and eye-popping, so long as they tell the story you want to tell. You want to be someone that investors remember, not just another face they saw across the screen.
Post-Call Best Practices
End your remote pitch with a clear call to action so that everyone understands what the next steps will be. Do not be shy to ask for what you want – if it is funding you are pitching the investors about, ask for it. They may offer you just that, or they may need more time to make a decision.
After the call, follow-up with a short email summarizing the key points and takeaways from the pitch. If there were any questions you were not able to fully answer during the call, answer those. Otherwise, thank the investors for their time and let them know you look forward to continuing the dialogue and that you are available to answer any additional questions they might have.
Remote Pitching May Be Different, But it Does Not Have to Be Difficult.
There is no one right way to do a remote pitch, but, hopefully, with these tips you will be better equipped to face the unique challenges startup founders face when facing potential investors across a screen instead of across a room.
At Wilson Ratledge, our attorneys regularly assist our clients in preparing pitches to investors and securing their initial rounds of funding. For questions, or to set up a consultation with one of our experienced North Carolina business planning attorneys, call 919-787-7711 or reach out via our contact form below.