April 29, 2020
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So you have this idea, right? And it could totally change the world. It’s based on some seriously complicated science and involves a lot of concepts and data that most people (including sophisticated angel investors and VCs) will struggle to understand. While you’ll be tempted to get into the finer nuances, what’s going to get you funded is developing a pitch that delves into the what, the why, and most importantly the so-what! How to pitch for Investment? This matters because this is what your audience cares about.
Know Your Audience:
First thing’s first: know your audience. Investors are people who want to be at the forefront of innovation but also want to hear a business case — not a scientific-treatise. Focusing solely on equations and a deep dive into theory won’t help get your idea across. Your story, however, and how you plan on turning your idea into a thriving business, will.
This slide may be the most difficult part of an investment pitch because it requires extreme brevity. Briefly state what you do. Try to do this in one-sentence
- Slide: The Elevator Pitch
Introduce your team. We can’t overemphasize this enough. We recently conducted a survey of angel investors and found that 75% of angel investors reported that management team was the most important factor when deciding to invest. Angel investors are investing in you as much as in your idea, so make sure you share enough information about your all-star team.
- Slide: Team Members and why you are the group to get the job done!
The Problem You Solve:
Talk about how you came up with the idea and, more importantly, why you came up with the idea. You want investors to know the problem you are tackling and the business opportunity tied to your solution. Pitch decks are meant to give a brief yet compelling explanation on how your startup has the potential to make an impact. In deep technology and science investing, tackling major problems through scientific and technological innovation is what investors are looking for.
- Slide: Introduce the problem
- Slide: Current alternatives to this problem and why they are not sufficient
- Slide: Introduce your solution and explain your technology in depth
The Business Case:
When laying out the business case make sure you address the following questions for investors. What is the economic opportunity you are going after? What is the size of the market you are addressing? How much of it do you anticipate capturing? Who else is competing for this market? Do your numbers accurately represent the current market as well as your startup’s place in that market?.
- Slide: How big is the market?
- Slide: Who are your competitors?
- Slide: How much money do you expect to make? A high level overview of revenues — just 2 or 3 data points of revenues in 2, 3, 5 yrs. (Note: Do NOT get into detailed financials in the presentation — even though many VCs ask for it. Keep detailed financials for the Appendix.)
- Slide: What has been the history of exits in this market? What are likely exit options?
- Slide: What does this mean for investors — how much will they make?
The Challenges You Face:
With that in mind, your investment pitch still needs to be transparent. Don’t bury numbers or leave out information that is relevant to investors, including the not so great stuff. Be upfront with any problems that your invention might face, and then explain how your company will be proactive in overcoming this difficulty. As a deep technology or science startup, your attention to detail and data is vitally important. Your company’s data and numbers should be enough of an argument in your favor, so be sure to make them clear and easy to follow.
- Slide: Risks and hurdles
The Impact You Will Have:
You don’t want to merely address what your product is and how it functions. You want to present it as a relevant, game-changing piece of innovation.
Don’t be so focused on the product itself that you leave out one of the most important aspects of your pitch: What does this mean for the future? If your product is commercialized, what will the world look like in a few years? Decades? Make sure your audience knows there is not only a market, but a market that would be majorly impacted by your invention.
- Slide: What does this mean for future customers? How will society be positively impacted?
- Slide: (Appendix) Details of technology, financials, any potential answers to questions asked in Q&A
In the end, you want your investment pitch deck to cover these main points in the most direct, informative way possible. Allow the strength of your team, idea technology speak for themselves, and don’t let wordiness or complicated slides distract from getting your company’s story out. You can geek out on the technical stuff once you’ve secured your investors.