Killer Tips for Making the Perfect Pitch for Tech Startups
If you’ve ever sat through an episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley, then you know how difficult it is for techies to communicate, especially when reaching out to non-technical investors. Every so often, many tech entrepreneurs often get lost in the hype of their gadgets, apps, or other inventions and forget to lay out how the business will actually make money.
Still, a good number of tech startups often capture the attention of investors and go on to make big names for themselves. All it usually takes is a good product or service, the sanity and willpower to present your idea, a sound business model, and good negotiation skills to close the deal.
Mix these pointers with the following tips and you and your young tech startup might just be on your way to Silicon Valley – or the next best thing.
1. Preach to the right audience
Before you can send out requests to investors, you need to determine which individual investor or group is a close match to what you are looking for. Many investors often concentrate their efforts on a single area of interest, so you need to decide whether your startup is purely into app development, cyber security, cloud, or any other specific area of tech.
In addition to financial capital, most investors also provide valuable mentorship and networking opportunities to startups that they take under their wings. This is why it’s always important to describe in detail where your startup fits in before seeking an audience with investors.
2. Always start with a good story
When you finally get the opportunity to make the pitch, make it a memorable one. Tell investors a balanced story that shows the inspiration, passion, and conviction that led to the birth of your startup. This will not only help you capture their attention, but will also help them develop an emotional and personal connection with your business.
Your story will also tell investors if you are authentic or just wasting their time. Any good investor will see straight through fake pitches, and a good personalized business story is one of the best ways to assure them you’re legit.
3. Arm yourself with data
A good story will help capture the attention of your investors but well-researched stats and data will make them that much likely to invest. Provide tons of proof that builds on your story. Provide and explain data that shows the viability of your tech idea or business, including market research, what solutions your product or service will offer to the target market, how much you’ve accomplished so far, and how you’ll use investors’ funds within the business.
4. Have a good understanding of your target market
Market dynamics is another area where many tech startups either get wrong, or don’t give the attention it deserves. Out of the many startups that close shop during those first few months or years of operation, a good number often close down because they didn’t fully understand the target market.
Find out everything you can about your market, including age brackets, sex, economic and social characteristics, and every other piece of demographical data you can find.
With this information, always make sure you defer to your potential customers when making your pitch. Make the customer the subject of pitch, telling investors how your product or service will help solve problems experienced by the potential customer.
5. Put together a dynamic management team
Even with the coolest inventions, investors won’t buy in if they first don’t fall in love with you and your team. Investors are always looking to build business relationships forged from good partnerships. If they can’t get that from you, you’ll fail before you even start.
If you can, bring along a few members of your tech team to show the investor(s) the dynamic nature of your team. Investors will want to see that you have a fluid management team whose members know what they are doing. This will help inspire confidence from the investors, which will take you that much closer to landing a deal.
Between 2014 and 2016, angel investors put in a whopping $24 billion into American startups, making this investment segment one of the largest in the country. This also means there is still a huge opportunity for early-stage tech startups that haven’t cashed in yet.
Polishing up on your pitching skills is a great first step if you are looking to take advantage of investment opportunities. As long as you have a sound business plan, a great team, and a winner’s mindset, there is no reason investors shouldn’t be lining up with checks at hand.