Startup founders who want to raise money from investors via safe notes will more often than not have to do that remotely now that practically everyone works virtually. In fact, traditional face-to-face pitches may soon be obsolete. However, this should not deter startups and small businesses from seeking funding from investors.
In this article, we will go over a few guidelines and best practices for pitching to investors remotely so that you can be ready and smooth over any bumps in the road.
About your pitch deck
A one-on-one pitch to an investor differs significantly from a traditional on-stage pitch. You don’t need to deliver your slides with that much punch because it’s not a script and more of a dialogue. The fact that you can hold a casual conversation speaks volumes about your capacity to handle these interviews, which you’ll be doing a lot of in the future.
The slides serve as a storyboard, rather than a script, for what you want to talk about. The traction slide, for instance, presents the topic of traction and provides information about how your product or service is already showing its value.
If your traction is great and you’re pitching a growth-focused firm, spend time on this slide talking about the marketing strategies that have worked for you and how high the demand is. If your figures don’t interest your audience, shift your focus to the technology or the team’s history.
How to design a virtual pitch deck
To make your remote pitch deck stand out, you don’t necessarily need a graphic designer. Regardless of your preferred pitch deck structure, here are some valuable tips:
• If you’re using slides, keep them to no longer than 10 to 20. (Guy Kawasaki suggests keeping it at ten slides.)
• Keep your entire design, including fonts and colors, consistent.
• Concentrate on the metrics, words, and visuals that are most important to your pitch deck.
• Include interactive components, such as toggles in a Notion document or Loom videos with call-to-action drawings or buttons, if you plan to deliver your pitch deck separate from your pitch video.
• Avoid cropping off the top part of your head, and if it’s possible, include the tops of your shoulders. Maintain eye contact with the camera by remaining in the middle of the frame.
• To avoid being backlit, try to obtain good natural light in your environment.
• Find a light background that isn’t overly busy in comparison to the foreground. A straightforward composition will work perfectly.
• To retain the focus on the topic of your video, wear plain colors with minimum patterns or shapes.
Select a video conferencing tool
Stability is what you want in a video conferencing platform: Consider the possibilities of it crashing and ensure that you have a simple backup plan in case something goes wrong. If the investors have a preferred platform, use it.
If they don’t have a preferred platform, consider using Zoom or Google Meet. They don’t need downloads, and if your internet dies or the app doesn’t work, both provide you with the option of joining via phone.
It’s important to understand timing, as it is advantageous for remote pitching. With remote pitching on a video conference, you can keep track of time as opposed to being in a room with investors.
If you were presenting your pitch deck in front of investors, you would have to limit the amount of information that you discuss within 15-20 minutes, without looking at the clock.
Also ensure that you close any meeting with a call to action to know where you stand. Ask the investors if they’re interested or not, and make a mailing list that sends out regular updates to your investors.
Here are some guidelines:
• Use Google Calendars or similar tools like Calendly to accept event invitations and check your schedule at the start of every day. In any time zone, the calendar invitation should be 100% correct. The time reflected in email exchanges are often confusing because it may be in the time zone of the sender in a different time zone.
• Be an expert in troubleshooting. Ensure that you understand where to swap mics, switch headphones, and how to do it under pressure.
• Ensure that you have the app installed when you are utilizing a mobile version of the service.
• Know how to activate the screen sharing function.
Screen sharing of slides is the standard approach for remote pitches, but it can be challenging as users commonly share the entire screen with open browser tabs, windows and cluttered desktops.
Alejandro Cremades is a serial entrepreneur and the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley & Sons, the book was named one of the best books for entrepreneurs. The book offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs.
Most recently, Alejandro built and exited CoFoundersLab which is one of the largest communities of founders online.
Prior to CoFoundersLab, Alejandro worked as a lawyer at King & Spalding where he was involved in one of the biggest investment arbitration cases in history ($113 billion at stake).
Alejandro is an active speaker and has given guest lectures at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School, and NYU Stern School of Business.
Alejandro has been involved with the JOBS Act since inception and was invited to the White House and the US House of Representatives to provide his stands on the new regulatory changes concerning fundraising online.