Top tips for startups seeking investment

Top tips for startups seeking investment

by Mark Selby, 20 April 2018

For every entrepreneur facing the challenge of pitching to a roomful of investors, it’s essential to have a clear, explainable vision. You’re unlikely to get far if you haven’t structured your thinking around your proposal – and what investors look for tends to be universal across the board, regardless of size, age or field.

That said, it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing – but there are universal truths and best practices that can benefit entrepreneurs, startups or anyone wanting to launch a new business venture. Read on to gain an insight into what you’ll face as a participant at Innovation Warehouse’s Pitch Wednesday event.

Know your audience

If you find a bunch of elderly gentlemen sitting in front of you, don’t talk in shorthand – this applies in all cases. When it comes to specific audiences (older investors or industry-specific people who differ from the theme of your presentation), take time to ensure the audience understands the need for the service or product more than you would normally. 

Keep things as simple as humanly possible

Especially in the tech space, people are in their own little bubble and assume everyone else understands their world – but they don’t. Investors may have no idea about the jargon and probably lack base knowledge of product. You will need to hold their hand and bring them convincingly into your world.

Forecast financials

If you’re really excited about your proposal, you may not deem it important to forecast financials, because most people assume forecasts are flawed anyway. Which they are. But making the effort means you have the capacity to make forecasts, which tells investors about your ability to second-guess your product, make clear assumptions, and predict a chain of events further down the road – and forecast speed bumps.

If you have omitted that section entirely, they haven’t learnt that about you.

Manage your expectations

Many business owners become unhappy after a while, because they’re constantly putting out fires they weren’t expecting and managing people instead of product. They started out wanting to create a service and present it to the world, but instead they end up in management. You have to be aware of that.

Unless you like management, beware the entrepreneurial journey.

Understand the market you’re entering

You need to give investors the confidence that you understand the risks and opportunities in your industry, and that you’re competent at being an operator. An idea is valuable – but not as valuable as execution. A mediocre idea executed brilliantly is greatly superior to a wonderful idea executed poorly.

Tell them what they get out of it…

…or it’s going to be very hard to convince them to give you their money.

If you’d like to participate in Pitch Wednesday, please contact the Innovation Warehouse team at

Click here to learn about the must-have ingredient in every entrepreneur’s slide deck