As I share with members of the Impakt Tribe, where we help startups from A to Z with everything related to fundraising, virtual pitching is here to stay.
So, how do you successfully pitch to investors online and raise the capital you need for your startup?
The New Era Of Virtual Pitching For Startup Fundraising
While the shift to virtual fundraising may be a welcome thing for today’s entrepreneurs, it may not be a change that many investors were ready for.
COVID changed a lot and vastly accelerated even more changes. In a new world anticipating ongoing lockdowns and new epidemics, video pitching and online meetings are here to stay.
It is a great fit for many modern entrepreneurs who have long been doing everything online and have found remote everything the most efficient way to build a business. When it comes down to how to pitch investors through Zoom, keep in mind that, despite their reputation for backing innovative and disruptive game-changers, the same can’t be said for many investors and VC’s.
While a new cohort of founders has been building billion-dollar businesses with 100% remote teams, investors have desperately clung to in-person meetings, flying around the world, and demanding doing business in local, physical offices.
That may still be a luxury that VCs and serial entrepreneurs with sizable previous exits can afford, but it may no longer be a process that works at scale.
To be able to pitch at the volume and scale you need to in order to get your business funded at each stage, you are going to have to learn to master virtual pitching. Whether you like it or not, that probably includes presenting over video calls.
While there are options, despite the security concerns that have been raised, Zoom seems to be a popular one. So, how to pitch to investors through Zoom?
Take Your Time To Prepare for Pitching to Investors Over Zoom
While there may be a temptation to take video meetings as casually as a Facetime call with family, with so much at risk, and to be gained, it is worth every ounce of preparation you put in.
This is a new era and format that many investors may not only will not be happy about, but aren’t comfortable with. This compounds all of the usual issues with pitching; engagement, doubt, and clearly explaining the business and opportunity.
You are expecting a lot from these investors. A lot of trust, confidence, and willingness to bet their reputations and years of sacrifice, discipline, and hard work.
Being able to demonstrate a great ability to communicate with others well in this new environment will go a long way towards that. Wow them here, and you’ll give them a lot of confidence in your capabilities to raise money in the new normal and for winning customers.
VC partner and serial founder Russ Wilcox says that you should be practicing your pitch in a video setting at least a dozen times with others before your first real attempt with an investor. Post-COVID he also recommends building your pitch deck around and focusing on the finances even more. Specifically, centering on revenues, gross profit margins, net income, and exit multiples.
Make sure your pitch is second nature. Not just the pitching of your startup and the investment opportunity, but your timing, functionality of your video call software, switching between secondary devices, and any handoffs to other members of your team on the call. Take your time perfecting the art of how to pitch to investors via Zoom. And, factor in the costs of building a great investor pitch deck!
Be Aware Of The Limitations Of Free Versions
Watch out for the limitations of free variations of software like Zoom. Are you limited on time per call, attendees, hosts, and screen sharing options? Make sure you test it and upgrade if needed.
Have backups for everything. Not just backup copies of your pitch deck, but video calling software, devices, and internet connection.
It sometimes seems inevitable that the most important call of your life is the one time when everything malfunctions. It’s the day that both your desktop and laptop crash, your mic falls into a cup of coffee, and both of your primary internet providers go down, or your primary meeting software is hacked by a foreign government.
Have multiple backups for everything. Have not two, but at least three device backups. Ensure that you have three different ways to get online, with high-speed internet.
Be familiar with Google Meet, Facetime, and Whatsapp in addition to Zoom, and have them downloaded. You’ll also need these tools if you plan on starting an online business at some time.
Keep backgrounds simple and clean. The focus is on keeping the audience focused on you and engaged with what you are saying. Not snooping around your office or apartment, or wondering whether it is real or a fake background. In fact, you might be better off avoiding fake background filters which can often be glitchy and distracting.
While even bankers and doctors are working at home with dogs barking in the background and kids popping up, it is best to optimize your space as much as possible. Find a soundproof space. Invest in good lighting. Get the key elements in place when figuring out how to pitch to investors via Zoom?
Don’t Go Solo
If you have a team, notable advisors, and cofounders it is best not to go solo. Investors are going to want to meet and see them and hear from them too. At least bring them in for the introduction and Q&A section.
Tweak & Repeat
Start collecting feedback from investors as you go through these meetings. Look for the common themes and make tweaks to your presentation.
Now it is your turn:
Please let me know in the comment box below, what is your nr 1 learning form this blogpost?
Do you have a question? Just put it in the comment box and we will answer asap.
Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts.
Your biggest fan,
Jeroen van der Heide
Co-founder & Ecopreneur
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