During my 3+ years of entrepreneurial journey, I pitched to 100s of investors & got rejected so many times that I eventually lost count. Now that I am on the other side & get to evaluate investment opportunities for Junglee Games, I can’t help but laugh at some of the amateur mistakes I used to make. Almost every interaction with an investor made me better but if I had started knowing some of the things I now know, my fundraising experience would probably have been different.
Investors aren’t as complex as they are often made out to be. Whether you would get funding depends on many things, but if you follow some basics – You will at least be taken seriously, which improves your chances of getting the “cheque” manifold.
Here are my 5 tips on things you should do to be taken seriously by investors :-
Don’t write an article while writing an introductory mail
Many investors see 100s of deals every week, but they don’t have the time to meet everyone. Infact, they hardly get enough time to read all the pitches they get. In most cases, a mail is going to be skimmed through & more the content a mail has – more likely that important points in the mail will get missed.
The best way to catch attention is to write a short & sweet mail -> Who are you, what are you building & what help are you looking for. Not more than 100 words in total.
Warm Intro or cold mail – the rule remains the same!
Make your deck stand out
Remember the last point? Your deck represents your company in your absence. If your deck is too texty or looks amateurish in design, it will go into the pile of 90 of those 100 deals which probably won’t even get a reply. A good looking deck helps you stand out & present your vision in limited words. If you are blessed with your presentation making skills, awesome. If not, engage a designer. It will be one of the best investments you will ever make.
Have a structure – Speak Less, Communicate more
Founders often make the mistake of speaking too much and giving all the information they have in one go. Please remember, the investor is not living your product day in day out. There are many things an investor will take time understanding or appreciating in depth. By giving too much information, you end up confusing him. Identify the most important things about your business & yourself, and communicate them in a structured manner which makes it easy to understand.
Remember – Your aim in the first meeting/call is not to tell everything about the business but make the investor intrigued to want to know more.
Are you the right founder for the right product?
If you listen to any investor talking about India’s startup ecosystem today vs 5 years back; immense improvement in founder quality is one common theme you will often hear. To stand out amongst other amazing founders, you need to display the perfect founder-market fit. Why are you the founder who will win this market? What is the unique insight about this market that you have and others don’t? Convince an investor on this, and you have won the biggest battle!
Be respectful, but be arrogant
Lastly – Investors are doing a job, yes that job involves them investing money in startups but that does not make them know it all. An investor, by default, knows less about your business than you do. That being said, investors are smart people so don’t try to bulls**t them. But, If an investor says something you don’t agree with, tell her & help her understand your side of things. If she agrees, great! If she doesn’t, at least she will respect you for standing your ground. No one likes pushovers!
Raising money is not often a result of serendipity – the right founders & the right markets need to come together at the right time. But following the above mentioned points will make sure that you get a fair shot!