What are the investment materials needed for fundraising?
Funding is one of the most critical parts of a startup. Without enough funds, even the best ventures can fail hard and fast. This equally applies whether you are just starting out looking for pre-seed money, or are seeking a bridge round before your Series C or later. It’s rare anyone is just going to pop up out of the blue and try to throw money at you.
So, what kind of investment materials do you need for fundraising?
A Pitch Deck
No matter how you are fundraising and from whom, you’ll need a pitch deck. It is the most important item from the investment materials needed for fundraising. That’s even true if a partner of a VC firm is reaching out to you for a meeting.
Again, the key here is simplicity. You need a strong value proposition. Yet, the number one mistake that most startup entrepreneurs make is being too complicated and long-winded.
The pitch deck is not about trying to explain every detail. That is not what is going to impress or close the deal. You just want to show them you know what you are doing, you can focus and keep it simple, and to get them excited about the idea.
Stick to 8-16 slides. Streamline this step by picking a proven existing template and customize it to your company.
In later stage fundraising, the decision may be largely based on your growth, revenues, and profits. That’s where the next item comes in.
For a winning deck, 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.
A Business Plan
You shouldn’t be launching without a business plan anyway. Fortunately, trends have changed, and while there are many internal advantages of a full-fledged and detailed business plan, early-stage startups don’t need volumes of pages to go out there and pitch.
A one-page business plan can often be sufficient. Perhaps in conjunction with a one-page executive summary. Note the business plan used to be the most important item and the only needed as part of the investment materials needed for fundraising until it took a backseat for the pitch deck and the financial model. Nowadays, the business plan is more used as an 18 to 24-month roadmap of the execution.
This demonstrates that you can focus and keep it simple. It makes it far more likely to maintain investor attention too.
I cover how to write a pitch deck in the video below.
In combination with the pitch deck, these are the two critical pieces of the investment materials needed for fundraising. As part of the financial model you will need to have in place the following:
- At least 3 years of financial projections
- The amount you are raising and how you are planning to deploy the capital
- Your valuation
Once you have term sheets and interested investors they will want the deeper details. This is what your online data room is for.
Pick a cloud-based storage service that allows you to store your files for qualified investors, and enables you to grant, track, and revoke access as desired.
Slides are great, but what you say and how you say it can be even more important. Even though we are talking here about the investment materials needed for fundraising there is nothing like controlling the narrative and knowing how you package and position things towards potential investors.
To accompany your slides and when your presentation isn’t working, you’ll want a spoken presentation. 15-20 minutes is a great length. It’s short, sweet, and effective. It also means that if you have a 45 or 60-minute pitching slot, you can still present comfortably if you get off to a rough start with your technology. You get to leave time for a Q&A and actually have a conversation with your investors.
Ideally, you will prepare:
- A 1-2 sentence elevator pitch
- A spoken presentation to go with your slides
- Answers to the 100 most frequently asked questions by investors
Whether you are running an online crowdfunding campaign or traditional outbound equity raise with targeted investors, it is great to support your fundraising with a variety of materials.
Be visible and build credibility by being in the news. The more they know and trust you in advance the easier it will be to close them.
Building on the above you can also use blogs, articles, and podcast appearances to get in front of investors and position your startup to get funded.
In addition to your verbal pitch, you may also want to have a professional copywriter prepare an email and social DM pitches to blast out and send to target investors.
For those running an online crowdfunding campaign, you’ll probably also need a profile/pitch page and intro video.
Being able to provide a demo or prototype, or at least images of one can go a long way too.
It is also worth creating an investor update template that you can update regularly to keep investors and prospects in the loop and feeling the momentum.
The Right Mindset
Above all, you want to be equipped with the right mindset before you go out with the investment materials needed for fundraising.
It’s great to be positive. You have to have an unbreakable mindset to launch a startup and attempt fundraising. Yet, you also have to have some realistic expectations about what it is going to take. It’s going to be work. Be determined to stick it out.
Celebrate every no as a step closer to a yes. Even if it takes 300 of them.
Go In To Learn
If you are planning on just throwing up a DIY crowdfunding page or cold calling Silicon Valley VCs as your strategy, and think you’ll land $100M in a day, you may be crushed and disappointed pretty quickly.
In contrast, if you go in with the mindset that you just want to learn, you can’t lose. Whether you get funded at the next meeting or not, it is a chance to learn. You gained something.
If you can get some advice and feedback in addition to a no, then that is even better.
Every Pitch Is An Opportunity To Improve
View every pitch and every no as a chance to just keep making your pitch, product, and business better. Some successful entrepreneurs have recommended tackling your list of investors in reverse order. Start with those you like the least, or have the lowest chances with. By the time you are pitching your top choice, you’ll have perfected it.
Hopefully, this post provided you some guidance towards the investment materials needed for fundraising.