Article written Chris Adams
You’re getting ready to present your amazing business idea to a group of investors. You feel like your pitch is rehearsed, your presentation is tight, and they’d be foolish not to work with you. You’re pretty sure. Actually… you have an ability to move further and get funded faster in the process by reviewing the following steps.
Don’t you wish you could read their minds and know exactly what they’re looking for? Wouldn’t it be great to know the exact criteria you will be judged by?
You can. As someone who has listened to countless pitches and sat on that side of the table, I can tell you when a prospect is pitching to an angel network, there are always key elements that you should have as a start-up, prior to engaging in a conversation.
Here is what you need to show would-be investors when pitching.
1. Are You Registered With GUST Or AngelList?
There is a start-up online registration system called GUST. It is basically an online portal to register your company and also the founders of the company. It helps you create your personas and explain who these individuals are. That’s what many angel networks are using right now as their social network of deal-flow. AngelList is another platform to register your start-up and get investor exposure.
2. Have You Taken Money? What Have You Done With it?
Have you shown that you’ve taken money from friends and family (or your own savings) and spent it wisely to create a first generation of the product or service that you’re offering? Have you shown that you can handle the capacity of taking money and spending it wisely?
3. Do You Have the Right Minimum Loveable Product?
4. Are You Serious About Marketing?
Have you spend money on marketing and avoided marketing sins like using comic sans and photo stock that you don’t own? Investors want to see that you’ve taking the time to put together great quality visuals. Not only on your website, social media and what we call your web presence, but also in your pitch deck. You should have also invested in your own personal LinkedIN and Twitter social accounts that reflect your knowledge and leadership.
5. Are you Registering with an Innovation Centre
This could be something like The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre, ventureLAB, or MaRS. Investors want to see you’re taking full advantage of all of the mentorship and resources available to today’s startups.
- Are you regularly going to and attending mentor meetings?
- Are you capable of being mentored?
- Are you going to seminars to help flush out your full Business 101?
You might be an engineer, you might be a great technologist. But, everybody can always be more up-to-date. For example, you might not know intellectual property or trademark law. Not everybody knows all that information.
6. Do You Have Intellectual Property or Patents?
Also, have you secured all of your domain names and all of your web handles? Do you have trademarks for your company name and product names? Do you have any IP or provisional patents to date?
7. Are all of the I’s dotted and T‘s Crossed on Your Corporate Legal paperwork?
You will be asked if your corporation is registered. You should have a shareholders agreement in place. You should also have an employment contract with the founders and any employees. If you have raised money to date, you should have all of your agreements in a dropbox with your captable.
8. Have You Applied For/ Received Any Government Funding?
Have you considered, and or, shown that by raising a little bit of money, you’ve been able to secure government funding? Have you hired anybody and used the government grants? These all send a signal that you can take some money and extend the life of your organization by using government funds and finances that are available to you.
9. Do you Have a Great Pitch Deck and a Story?
Your pitch deck needs to tell your story and explain whether you’re offering a vitamin or a cure. What is it that you’re absolutely going to market for? What is your story? And again, do you have the minimum loveable product.
10. What Research Have You REALLY Done?
Have you done any third-party due diligence on your organization to understand the competition and your marketplace? Or are we just relying on you slowly as the founder to tell us that you think the market is big enough for this particular product or service?
11. Can You Prove That Sales are Good?
Have you been able to sell a little bit of what you do? If not actual sales, can you show us what you have in the funnel right now? Are you getting trials? Or intent letters? Anything that can show that there is momentum and there is a signal in the marketplace that people want what you were trying to either build or sell. If you don’t have all of those things I would have a hard time introducing you to the Georgian Angel Network. You don’t have to have all of the above, but having most of the above shows that you have signs of maturity, that you’re ready for funds, your growth ready, and your team is ready. You’ve identified things and you thought them through.