What are investors looking for in a pitch?
What gets them over the line from being "That's a good idea" to "Here's a cheque for $100,000"?
Thanks for asking. I think most startups believe their presentation or "pitch deck" has to wow the investors. But that is not always what draws them in and excites them.
Yes, investors want to see that you have an interesting product or service, but it can't end there. They will find accurate numbers interesting, accurate being the key word. If you have a growing number of users show them. But keep in mind they will be interested in knowing how active and engaged to your product or service your users are. If you are constantly gaining new users to replace the ones that aren't staying, they will probably not be very impressed.
Another thing they look at is your team dynamics. Do you work well together and share the passion of seeing the venture through and growing it, or are you just a few people that are good at what you individually do? Sometimes investors are more interested in the team you have put together than the idea. They may in fact look to fund you but send you after another idea.
This is an extension of the team dynamic, but they may look at your team's experience. Are you all first time founders? They may be a bit more cautious if you are. You can offset this by having a solid set of mentors or board of advisors on your team (even if they don't get involved in the day to day operation).
Investors are also looking for honesty. Don't claim you have no competition (they will think you haven't done your research). Don't project overly opportunistic numbers so far out they are meaningless. Keep the numbers you show them honest and use them to your advantage.
To sum up I believe investors are looking for:
- a great product/service or a willingness for the team to transition to a new idea
- a team that works well together
- passion to scale the venture into a sizable company
And a bonus is:
- a great presenter that can sell themselves, the team and the business convincingly