Pitch perfect: how to catch the eye of an investor

Anthony Rose is the co-founder of a legal advice service helping emerging founders get a handle on fundraising. Here, he explains how to create the ideal pitch deck.
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With investors tightening their purse strings in line with slowing economic growth, these days business owners looking to raise money need to do something special to catch their eye. Your pitch deck may need some attention – and, while some argue that it's not the best vehicle to get investment, ultimately it's still how a lot of investors get the first sense of your business. Anthony Rose, co-founder and CEO of SeedLegals, which provides legal advice to early-stage businesses looking to raise money, tells us exactly what investors want to see in your slide deck, right now.

The right ambition

Making a few million in revenue after five years is good, but investors expect a 10 or 50 times return on investment, considering the risks involved in the deal. Anthony says: ‘Find the right balance between realistic and attainable goals. The formula might be tripling your revenue in the first few years, then dropping to doubling your revenue after three years.’

A clear story

A pitch deck should tell a story. Don't just say what the business is about – say what you do, why it's important and why it's the right fit for their money. Investors will often form a judgment within the first few seconds of viewing your slides, so try to evoke a fear of missing out. Anthony says: ‘Investors want different things – some want a return on investment, others want to save the planet. So, modify your pitch deck towards each investor.’

Wheels in motion

Investors see lots of pitches every day, so they're looking for something that cuts through the noise. ‘Investors want proof points – signals that you'll be able to deliver on your aims,’ says Anthony. Those proof points might well be revenue, users, growth or retention figures. ‘The more you can show in terms of traction, the more you're removing the believability gap,’ he says.

A laser-focused founding team

That means founders not continuing their day jobs and doing this business on the side. Anthony says: ‘You get a gut feeling pretty quickly when founders know exactly what they want. They're on a mission and they're obsessed with reaching their mission.’ Other clear indicators of commitment can be personal investment, or that you've already started to build a stellar team.

A version of this article was published in the Courier Weekly newsletter. For more useful stories, tips, tricks and simply good advice, sign up here.

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