I’ve listened to innumerable pitch decks over the years, and far too many founders place more emphasis on their idea than on how they will carry it out. Here’s how to properly promote your successes to investors because being humble won’t get you funded.
It’s natural for people to want to spread good news, such as acquiring a new job, purchasing a new home, or expecting a baby. The brightness of all the well wishes from family and friends is a delight in and of itself.
So why wouldn’t you shout it from the rooftops when giving good news when the stakes are as high as making a profitable investment?
Over the years, I’ve watched countless pitch decks and noticed that far too many founders emphasize how fantastic their idea is rather than how excellent their implementation has been thus far. Don’t wait until slide 17 to highlight recent successes, such as signing significant contracts or beginning an exciting relationship, as some investors may have already lost interest by then.
You should immediately transition into the “brag slide” after your title slide. It’s crucial to grab the investor’s attention right away and hold it throughout the entire pitch in order to succeed. You need to make a good first impression, especially considering the possibility of rising interest rates and tighter financial conditions.
If you’ve previously increased your Series A or higher, it’s much more important. You’ve already received substantial cash infusions, so your outcomes must be outstanding to persuade investors to give you even more money. I’ll explain to you how to create a powerful brag slide so you can obtain the financing you need.
Humility won’t get you funded
As some founders I’ve worked with don’t want to appear haughty by outlining their accomplishments right away, I understand that a brag slide might make you uncomfortable. However, this isn’t about sharing stereotypical vanity metrics, but rather meaningful progress updates that are helpful to investors.
For instance, until those followers are turning into paying customers, investors don’t need to know how many TikTok followers you have. I advise you to list your actual accomplishments—the figures you worked incredibly hard to reach. Why shouldn’t you boast about your blood, sweat, and tears?
It’s acceptable to skip giving a brief overview of your product up front because the majority of investors will have done some research on you before the meeting and will therefore have a general understanding of what you do. If they haven’t, you have the chance to astonish them right away and pique their interest. They’ll be clamoring to find out in the following slides what your core business is once you hit them with some impressive stats.
Please refrain from calling it a “brag slide”; that is our little kept secret. It could sound a little braggy to refer to it as a brag slide.
What investors really want to hear
Investors are continuously looking for three things: credibility (how much you and your team genuinely know about this field and your credentials to prove it), likeability (how enjoyable working with you will be as a long-term partner), and momentum (how far you’ve come in your quest). The brag slide is a fantastic approach to mention things right away.
On the slide, you should try to include six to eight key figures that are important to the financial performance of your company. Here are some suggestions for what you could do:
- Top-line revenue growth: While past performance does not guarantee future results, you are firmly setting expectations among investors. Demonstrate to them your expertise. Depending on which is the overall most remarkable, you can choose MoM (month over month), QoQ (quarter over quarter), or YoY (year over year). Even if all of the users aren’t yet paying, you can still demonstrate user growth.
- Strong annual or monthly recurring revenue (ARR/MRR) for subscription-based businesses indicates consistency and stickiness. Inform investors in particular about any long-term or long-lasting contracts; some enterprise contracts are inked for three to five years, which is excellent because it demonstrates inherent stickiness and dependable revenue.
- Intangible property Any granted or pending patents demonstrate your company’s competitive advantage over rivals trying to accomplish the same thing.
- Big partnerships: Use the credibility by association you gain from being treated as a valued partner by big companies as leverage.
- Have $17 million in contracts that will be signed in the upcoming year? A startup with a solid sales funnel is liked by all investors. Make sure to underline your goals for the future.
- Supporters of current funding: If significant venture capitalists have already agreed to invest in you in this round, announce it loudly. The views of their colleagues are frequently respected by investors.
You could have felt dread when you read the list above. It’s understandable that all of those stats right now make you feel bad because the economy is difficult. However, there are more reasons than ever for businesses in this circumstance to get off to a good start. In this instance, skipping the brag slide that was discussed in the preceding section may be appropriate.
Customer testimonials may prove to be your salvation. The more reputable the review’s source, the better for B2B businesses. Let’s imagine you had five customers the previous year, but just one remained with you for the entire time. A few investors don’t need to know much more if this client happens to be Slack, for instance, and they enjoy dealing with you.
Product market fit and stickiness are demonstrated by a glowing customer review. You are demonstrating that, in practice as well as in theory, your product addresses a problem. You want to draw attention to these endorsements early in your pitch because it can have a significant impact on how investors see your product.
Making your second slide about your team can help you capitalize on their credibility if they are a strong group with a track record of success, a wealth of industry knowledge, and powerful logos of organizations they have been associated with. Make a big deal out of how competent they are and convince your audience that this is a team that can carry out the idea you are pitching.
The boastful slide gets you off to a quick start, but you must keep this momentum going throughout your pitch. All the details that distinguish you or your company from the competition should be presented up front. Try to come across as likeable and trustworthy as you can because investors are aware that if they invest, they’ll need to work with you and your staff.
Even though the thought of boasting could make you uncomfortable, it is your duty to make sure every investor is aware of the good news when doing the venture capital round in order to raise a successful round.
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