And more advice from Avantika Daing, Head of Venture Investments at Plum Alley Investments. Plum Alley is a venture investment, private membership driven platform for individuals, family offices, and corporations seeking to invest in deep technology and frontier healthcare companies founded by female founders and gender diverse founding teams that are making a difference in the world.
1. Don't waste time. Get to the heart of your pitch (fast).
In the first few minutes, what I like to assess and get to pretty quickly is an understanding of what exactly you are doing, why you do it, and why you are uniquely qualified to execute. These questions focus on the intersection of ability and passion. Can one solve the problem from a technical perspective and is there founder-company fit. It is also important for early-stage investors to understand the motivation behind your entrepreneurial journey and why you have the grit and tenacity to withstand the next decade and achieve scale.
2. Use data points to draw investors in.
Anchor the discussion with data points. Very early on, in the first few sentences, I like to determine validity supported by data. You need to make it real for an investor and justify why they should give you their undivided attention. For example, if you tell me, that your passion is in autonomous and electric transport and your software will increase enterprise efficiency by 200%, reduce carbon emissions by 90%, and decrease costs by 60%, I will be interested in learning more. Through such a data anchoring process, entrepreneurs can quantify the problem they are solving so an investor can peel back the onion and ask specific questions around the scope of the investment opportunity.
Often enough, pitches start with the wrong message. The first slide, or initial message, should not be about the founder’s background or the company -- while legitimate points, the narrative must be anchored into an economic shift, why the world is changing and what that transition is caused by. You can continue to present market sizing and specific company applications, but there needs to be an understanding of why your product has entered the market at the right time.
3. Make your pitch relatable.
Conceptualize your pitch. If you are presenting a recyclable innovative fiber technology, it is tangible. Everyone wears clothes, throws them out and buy new ones - it is relatable and one can conceptualize and comprehend the damaging environmental impacts as a result of cotton and polyester production. When you are using technology to solve a problem that individuals are faced with (or use) each day, it is easier to get people excited about your product.
Now, let's say your technology is a first to market software platform creating global resiliency. Unless you have experienced an earthquake, flood, or fire first hand, this opportunity will be less likely to elicit an emotional response. In this case, it's important to create the ah-ha moment such as noting the $300 Billion annual natural disaster cost just in the U.S. Allowing for a narrative that conceptualizes the revenue-generating opportunity and value creation.
4. "Connect the dots" for the investor.
The concept of connecting the dots is essential for early-stage investors. So, as founders, you need to be very cognizant of which few nodes you want to put in front of investors for them to piece the puzzle together. Founders need to create the outline with their structured narrative anchored in data, so that investors are excited about completing the picture and building out the rest of the story.