The most challenging and trickiest parts in fundraising for startups is certainly pitching your ideas in front of the right investors. Most venture capitals and investors are inundated each day with new ideas and big promises, which simply translate into rejection for cold outreach.
There is no single "best way" to entice investors, however you can certainly raise your outreach chances by following few simply yet effective tips.
- Don't wait till the last minute for fundraising
A lot of young and passionate entrepreneurs tend to wait till the last minute before they outreach investors for the capital. This isn't the best of approach, rather the better approach could be to start looking for investors in your area, even if you don't feel like the necessity of raising funds for a year or more. Look around for investors you think you could pitch your "idea" with and strategize your meeting with them at networking events.
Meeting with potential investors at networking events isn't as difficult as it may sound initially. A quick check at the investors' website can give you fair bit of information about scheduled events. Try to participate in these events with a simple strategy of getting introduced to the investor. If you do get a chance to introduce yourself in front of the investor, make sure you are able to pitch your "idea" casually. Remember, it isn't the right time to pitch your idea, rather an opportunity to make him familiar with your "idea" that will come handy at later stage.
- Mobilize your Network
Even if you don't have a single LinkedIn connection that is connected to an investor, you need to mobilize your entire network, because you never know where the first connection might come from.
A better approach in this regard is to dispatch personal notes to your network, preferably who already knows about your startup and find it exciting. There's a strong chance your get a pleasant surprise from one of your networks.
- Keep your Pitch Personal, not Contractual
To put it simply, never, I repeat, Never ask for money while pitching your idea. You got to keep the pitch as personalized as possible and try to create value for your "idea".
A passive approach to fundraising is better suited in this regard. You can show your willingness to work with investors who are familiar with the "technology". Moreover, try to politely ask them if they are willing to make time for a personal meeting, where you can brief them in greater detail about your project. Remember, at such crude stage, investors are more interested in looking at your commitment level and potential of your team, more than the "idea" itself.
- Assemble your team
You may have a great idea and a fabulous plan how to produce, sell and make money, but have you ever done a business in your life? This is a question most of the new entrepreneurs fail to answer. The ideas are mostly brought by the technical people who have knowledge and skills directly associated with the idea and they believe they can make the new organization a success without having a prior experience of running a business. This thinking is a major cause of failure most of the time. You have idea, you have technical knowledge, great, now get someone who will run the business. The CEO, heads of operations, sales and marketing and finance are the key personnel that should be your team and they will give not only a serious comfort to the investors but also make sure your organization launch and operate as a successful enterprise.
At the end of the day, more than the "idea", investors are looking for the teams they can invest with. There are hundreds of "next quantum leap" pitched at investors and they literally aren't interested in reading through the technical details. It's your preparedness, boldness and confidence in yourself that they are looking for. So, rather than worrying about the money, if you invest your time in articulating your vision, you can rest assure of investment flowing to your "Idea".
Abdul Aziz Lang
Senior Managing Partner - Gadlang UK Management Consultants