If you have been successful with your application, you will now go into the second step of the screening process: a direct meeting with the Startup Funding Club team. One of the most important parts of this meeting consists of you presenting your company. In this article you will find some tips on how to pitch your business.
You will be notified via email and you will receive more information and instructions on what to expect. Normally, you will meet 3 or 4 members of our team, depending on who is available on the day: our CEO or COO, Investment Manager, Investment Associates, one of the advisors from our network, and/or one of the investors from our network.
Our meeting will last only 45 min. First, you will be asked to present your business in 10 min using slides or talking us through your business. After this, the SFC team will ask you some questions. The form of your presentation is totally up to you, but you have to be prepared. We advise you to have your computer with you, so that you are in control of what you show us (you can plug it in to our digital screen via HDMI).
There are three main things that we evaluate at the meeting:
- You/Your team – what kind of people you are, how you talk about your business, how you interact with us and between yourselves.
- Your product – what it is, how it works, what it looks like.
- Your responses to our questions – how much you know about your business and industry, how well you cope with challenging questions, details of your business plan.
Having this in mind you should prepare the format that will work best for you. And remember:
ï Keep it simple: explain what you do in a simple way and be selective in what you say – it is really down to your business what is more and what is less important to present. Try to cover each point shortly – the details will come in questions.
ï Keep it visual: product demonstration, pictures, logos and diagrams speak a thousand words so avoid the common mistake of putting too much text on your slides that you then read.
ï Don’t make it all about the product: the demonstration of the product is essential, but talking about your customers, competition, projections etc. is equally (if not more) important for investors.
10 Essential Points to Cover in your Pitch
- The Problem
What is the problem you are addressing? Why is it particularly biting for your target customer group?
Tip: this is the justification of the existence of your startup.
- The Solution
How do you solve this issue?
Tip: this is where you describe your product/service. It’s best if you can include a demo (but be mindful of time!).
- The Business Model
What is your pricing / revenue model?
How do you justify that your customers will pay this price for your product?
Tip: for example how does it compare to current spending for similar services.
- The Opportunity
What is the size of your addressable market?
Tip: be realistic and don’t quote £bn figures. Successful startups target a niche that has been clearly identified and for which the product is specifically developed.
- The Customers
Who are the customers? How are you going to find them? What is your pipeline? Which distribution and marketing channels will you focus on?
Tip: most startups don’t mention their customers which is a big mistake! The more targeted the better.
- The Competition
What is the competition? What are your long term differentiating factors?
Tip: never say “there is no competition”. There are always alternatives and you should explain why your product is a superior solution.
- The Traction
Early sales / Partnerships / Number of users / Customer feedback / Press etc.
Tip: don’t hesitate to throw in logos, big numbers etc. Also be sure to communicate why these are not just early trying out a new product but a sign of a larger demand for your product
- The Team
What is the expertise/skill set that will ensure the company is successful.
Tip: careful not to put entire CVs on screen. Focus on key skills/experience. Also it’s a good idea to highlight any shortage of skills you think investors can help you with.
- The Projections
What are the key milestones over the next few years that you plan to achieve (e.g. Year 1 Revenue – including how many customers/transactions that corresponds to etc.).
Tip: focus on your key metrics. Make sure you don’t overwhelm the audience with figures and make sure you can justify every number you put on the screen. Numbers that can be evidenced are more powerful than pure guesswork.
- The Investment
How much are you raising? What percentage of equity are you offering in return?
(we strongly recommend you mention that it is up for negotiation)
What is your exit strategy? (please be as specific as possible)
What do you expect from investors? Where do you think you need help?
Tip: this part is often rushed through although it is essential. Keep enough time to talk through it
Hopefully the above will be helpful to prepare properly for a meeting with us. You normally have only one chance, so it is worth spending some time and doing your homework.