Entrepreneurs

How To Create A Pitch That Gets Attention From Investors

Pitching investors can make or break your business. It’s one of the best ways to secure funding, raise capital, and grow your company, but to be successful it has to be done right. Your pitch has to be well-crafted, compelling, and relevant to the investor if you hope to close the deal.

I spoke with Vino Jeyapalan, Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree and Co-Founder of Kabo, Canada’s largest direct-to-consumer fresh dog food brand, to learn more about his pitching process and how he’s been able to raise nearly $4 million in funding, including landing a deal on Dragon’s Den.

Personalize your outreach.

It’s important to truly get to know who you’re reaching out to so you can personalize your pitch. Social media makes it easy to find out a bit about the investor you’re pitching. Jeyapalan started by looking up the investors he was reaching out to on social media. “We did a lot of back channel research through Instagram, to see if potential investors had a dog in their family. We knew there’d be an opportunity to tie in a connection there, and that they could understand and put themselves in the shoes of a pet parent,” he explained.

If you can find something that an investor does or likes that’s tied into your product or service, lead with that. If not, there are plenty of other ways to create a connection. If they live in a city that you also live or have lived in, that’s a connection. Look up their education history, perhaps there’s a connection there. If you look hard enough, you can always find a way to build a connection.

Tailor your pitch.

You need to know your audience to be able to tailor your pitch, because different types of investors will have different priorities when it comes to investments. Think about the key information you’re going to present. Are you going to share your vision and passion, or are you just going to focus on data and numbers? “If you’re talking to a larger institutional firm, maybe you want to start off by talking about the fact that you just blew past four million in annual recurring revenue before you even talk about the mission or the vision,” advises Jeyapalan. For an angel or private VC, they might be just as interested in the vision and your personal passion as they are in the finances. This is also where social media research comes into play, so you can get a better feel for the investor before you sit down with them for a meeting.

Tailor the way you answer questions.

The way you answer questions needs to be tailored as well. “When it comes to the pitch, it’s important to realize that there isn’t one catch all answer you can give to every single investor. You really have to understand their perspective. If they’re an angel investor versus a large institutional firm, who are you talking to? Is it an analyst or is it a partner and a key decision maker?” advises Jeyapalan. Different types of investors will have different perspectives and objectives, and you need to take that into account when answering their questions. Knowing your audience will help you make even more of an impact during your pitch.

Highlight real results and use cases.

One way to make your pitch stronger is to share customer testimonials. Video testimonials work particularly well because they can go into greater detail than a simple written testimonial can, and they feel more authentic since they’re being delivered by a real person. Another way to help support your pitch is to share stories from customers about how they’re using your product and how it’s benefited them. Data to back up these customer stories makes an even greater impact. These real life use cases show investors that not only is your product good on paper, it’s good in the real world as well.

Always follow up.

If you don’t hear back from someone in response to your initial email or phone call, always reach out again. A good rule of thumb is to reach out three times and to vary the way you’re making contact. If you start with an email, follow up via phone call and then another email. This gives them the option to contact you in whichever way they prefer, and ensures that they’ll receive at least one of your pitches. If you haven’t gotten a response after the third outreach, it’s time to move on, at least for now.

Keep a record of your pitches so that when your business grows you can reach out again, this time sharing progress updates. An investor’s interest might have been piqued with your initial pitch, but you didn’t have the results they were looking for at the time. Jeyapalan followed up with certain investors one year later and shared the impressive results that Kabo had achieved as well as company updates, and that second time around he was able to secure a meeting.

Build a relationship.

Building a relationship with potential investors is crucial to your success. “You want to create a reciprocal relationship where two people both provide value to one another,” explains Jeyapalan. After all, an investor isn’t just investing in your company, they’re investing in you. You want to have a healthy working relationship, so the quicker you can build a deeper connection, the better.

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