Much of a startup’s fundraising success relies on one key factor – how to share and track your materials with investors.
So, what are the best practices for sending your fundraising materials to investors? What documents should you even be sending? What are the most important things to be tracked during this process?
Whether it is for getting a business idea off the ground or giving it the financial fuel to scale quickly and dominate your space, getting funded can make all the difference in your startup becoming a reality, surviving, and continuing to thrive.
While it may seem harsh, whether your startup gets the funding it needs at this round or not often comes down to how you share and track your materials. It is how your ideas, data, and vision is presented, as well as the strength of your delivery and follow up.
Trends have changed. Best practices have changed. Along with the expectations of investors. So has the technology and tools available at the disposal of entrepreneurs for optimizing and maximizing the effectiveness of fundraising campaigns.
It is hyper-competitive out there. Your venture can be up against thousands of other funding requests this month alone. Getting this right will make all the difference in getting the dollars your business needs, the investors who are willing to fund you, and how efficient the process is, and the time you are left with for actually focusing on your business.
Keep in mind that in fundraising storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
What Materials To Share With Prospective Investors
What should you be sharing with investors? And, how to share and track your materials with investors?
The most common document shared with potential investors is the pitch deck.
A lot of emphases is put on nailing the initial introduction pitch deck. The shortest, most compact version of your deck. However, at some stage, you will also want to give interested investors access to a longer and more detailed version of your deck, along with your other supporting materials.
The pitch deck is your main sales tool. It gets you in the door. It gets people excited to invest. Though they are still going to want to verify and complete their due diligence.
Most founders like backing up their deck with a long version too. It is much easier for more technically-minded entrepreneurs to produce than a shorter one.
While pitch decks seem to have largely replaced traditional business plans for financing new businesses in many scenarios, real business plans still play an important role.
A short and sweet pitch deck is a great sales tool. It can be helpful for maintaining focus, painting the big vision, and enrolling great talent and advisors in addition to investors.
A business plan is more in-depth. It helps entrepreneurs work through all of the questions they need to answer in order to build a successful business and map their way to creating it. It is where the sales and vision become practical and reality.
Investors want to see you have what it takes to really make this happen and take care of their money. A one-page business plan can suffice, but having a more in-depth plan can be a plus, even if few ever read all the way through it. Remember that when figuring out how to share and track your materials with investors.
Winning as a startup relies much more on execution and taking action than just having a fantastic idea. Taking the right actions and making meaningful progress requires great focus on the right things.
Your action plan demonstrates to investors that you can focus, you know what is most important to accomplish next, and what you will be doing with their money and your time.
Key Business Documents
When investors are really serious about funding your venture and you get into the due diligence phase of fundraising, they are going to want more information.
Some of this is for their own confidence in making a wise and safer investment decision. Other parts of this are about checking the legal boxes.
Additional documents may be shared at this stage. The papers that may help fast track the funding process may include:
- Articles of incorporation
- Certificate of good standing
- Professional resumes
- Business licenses
- Business insurance
- Marketing plans
Investor updates are a powerful way to maintain engagement, and fit in the pivotal positioning information not included elsewhere. Most importantly, prove that your team is able to do what they say and keep making progress. ‘
These are regular updates that are used in advance of fundraising campaigns, in the midst of them, and for those who have already invested with you, as well as those who missed out on the last round, but may fit in soon.
The Best Ways To Share All Of Your Materials With Investors
So, how should startups be sharing all of these fundraising related materials with investors today?
There are two main phases of information sharing with investors.
Sharing Your Pitch Deck With Prospective Investors
The first stage is pitching investors. If you are presenting live, and actively pitching investors online in a video setting, or on stage, you are visually displaying your slides on a screen.
Often, before you earn that opportunity you have to conduct outreach and get the attention of investors. You need to spike their interest, impress them, and compel them to want to learn more. Which is why you must learn how to share and track your materials with investors.
This you can achieve by sending out your pitch deck directly and getting it shared. This can be via email, text, or even via social media platforms.
The key is not to just send your pitch deck or any of these initial supporting documents as attachments to your emails or other messages.
There are a variety of important reasons for this. One of the first is simply ensuring your pitch deck actually gets through and viewed, and is easy to share and spread.
As we’ll get to in a moment, sending a link to your pitch decks and other initial materials online is far more effective for tracking your materials.
Sharing Via Virtual Data Rooms
Hosting your pitch decks and other front end materials in the cloud has many benefits. It is also the best way to host your complete documentation as investors move from interested shoppers to bidders, and begin their due diligence.
It used to be physical data rooms. A real room where paper documents were stored. Access is limited. You can imagine how inefficient that must have been.
Now you don’t even have to digitally send individual documents and deal with all of that time drain, the security issues, and fragmentation. Everything can be kept in a virtual data room in the cloud.
Aside from the incredible efficiency this provides, and the speed and accuracy, all of which can make a huge difference in getting funding, this solution also enables instant updates. You can update your data and documents in real-time.
It also gives founders more security and control over their data than ever. With the right tools, you are always in control of your information and can grant and rescind access on demand. This is why it is critical to know how to share and track your materials with investors.
As you’re learning how to share your materials with investors, you must also understand how to improve storytelling in a pitch deck. Check out this video I have created to direct you on how that is done.
What To Track
Tracking your fundraising materials and other business data and documents is very important.
Security and confidentiality is a valid concern. At least to some extent, in some situations. Though it is also not warranted in many cases and scenarios, where new entrepreneurs seem to put the most priority on it.
Early-stage startups often far overthink the risks of someone stealing their ideas. In fact, they typically do more self-damage and self-sabotage their own potential and missions trying to keep it all a secret, when the best thing that could happen is their ideas and startup is shared broadly in a big way.
However, when you do have truly valuable intellectual property and assets, and other sensitive data, which unscrupulous competitors are actively trying to get their hands on to get an edge, you want as much control as possible. That means being able to track who is viewing your data, who are downloading or sharing your data, and being able to block them as needed.
Even more important, and always applicable when it comes to fundraising is tracking your metrics. Only by tracking and measuring your performance can you be sure that you are doing a good job, and identify how you can improve your fundraising game.
So, what should you be tracking and measuring?
How many links to your pitch decks have you sent out to investors? You’ve got to get your numbers up. It can take dozens and hundreds of pitches to get that first yes, and knock over that first domino. You are going to send out a lot more links to your deck than that to even get a chance at those pitches.
Pitch Deck Views
From all the links you’ve sent, referrals and introductions, and networking, how many investors have actually followed through to view your pitch deck?
With the right tools, you can even track how much of your deck they took the time to view, or where they are getting turned off.
Time Spent Viewing
In addition to insights on total pitch deck views, and down to individual slides viewed, you can even track how long investors are spending viewing your deck. Are they giving it a chance?
Instantly dismissing it? Are they really digging in? What does this data suggest you do in terms of revamping your content or following up? Have you been successful in learning how to share and track your materials with investors.
Repeat Views & Shares
How many investors are coming back to view your pitch deck and other fundraising materials again?
Figure out how much are they sharing your deck with other investors or their partners.
Investor Meetings Scheduled
How many real investor meetings have come out of your outbound efforts and pitch deck views? What about follow up meetings from those?
Pitches Given To Investors
How many real pitches have you been able to get in front of? How many individual investors, VC partners, or angel groups have
Term Sheets Received
How many term sheets and funding offers have you received from these efforts? You may even want to break this tracking down further based on how these offers are stacked up to your ask, which types of investors they came from, and so on.
How many actual dollars have been raised? How does that stack up to your initial ask and real stretch goal? How do the ratios of dollars compare to the number of pitches given, hours spent, and other dollars invested in your fundraising campaign?
What is the best way to learn how to share and track all your materials with investors when fundraising for your startup? Start by making sure you’ve prepared the pitch deck and materials investors are expecting today. And are delivering them in an efficient and effective way for both your organization and your target investors.
Then make sure you are tracking those materials and measuring your results so that you can maximize your results in this round. And every round that’s coming next.
You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.
Hopefully this post provided some perspective as you are looking into how to share and track all your materials with investors.