The last eight months have been a trying experience for many startup founders and CEOs. By April, most plans for 2020 had been abruptly thrown out the window.
Not all business concepts were negatively affected – the COVID-19 epidemic has actually turned into an accelerator for some – especially those with solutions related to supply chain optimization or those focused on reducing manual processes.
But one thing never changes for startups: the need to constantly raise capital.
And in the era of COVID this has meant a dramatic shift away from in-person investor pitch meetings, towards the use of Zoom/Teams/Skype/Webex/pick your virtual meeting tool.
The effective use of these tools to raise money has become yet another differentiator for founders to capitalize on. Below are 10 tips to ensure your ‘Zoom’ pitch is as powerful and effective as possible.
But, before we start, keep in mind that the basic rules of effective investor pitching still apply:
Have a good story to tell, including:
What’s the pain and who feels it?
How do you solve it?
What’s unique or special about you?
How big is the opportunity?
And tell it clearly and concisely!
Now on to the 10 Quick (but powerful) Tips:
Practice makes perfect
Practice delivering the pitch over Zoom. Record it and review the recording to find areas to improve. Have other people critique your performance. “What’s the most important thing I could improve?” Don’t let them off the hook with a “it was great!”
Test sound quality prior to the meeting
High quality Bluetooth or wired headsets are usually best but PC mics can be okay as long as you avoid rooms that are echo chambers.
Test your meeting software well ahead of time
Log in at least 15 minutes early. Have a colleague log in remotely and test everything with you to confirm it all looks and sounds good.
Have a backup for connectivity
Be ready to tether your phone if wifi drops. (And test it ahead of time to make sure the tethering actually works.)
Look the part
Dress as if you were in the investor’s office (at least from the waist up!).
Use face-to-face video if possible
Turn on your video camera even if they don’t turn theirs on, in order to make a personal connection. Sit close to the camera - so your face can be seen. Put your presentation on the main screen (not a side screen) so you are able to look into the camera whenever possible. And smile!
Have an appropriate background
Please not a crumpled-up bedspread! (In fact, avoid bedrooms if at all possible.) Virtual backgrounds are okay but don’t overdo it – they can be a distraction factor.
Use decent lighting
Face a window if possible and definitely ensure you are not back or side-lit. If you are going to do a lot of pitches (of course you are) buy a $50 light ring.
Don’t get rattled when the inevitable snafu happens
At some point in every virtual meeting the sound cuts out or the video stops for few seconds. Or maybe a bookshelf falls over or your young child walks into the room naked! Take it in stride – demonstrate that you’re a true pro! Remain calm and carry on – and keep that smile on your face.
Avoid clutter on the screen
Don’t distract the audience with layers upon layers of o menu bars and icons. You should be showing nothing but the content (and your smiling face).
That’s it! Easy, yet so few actually do these simple things.
If you would like to get 5 more powerful tips, shoot me a quick note firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save your seat for this upcoming webinar:
Want to learn more on this topic?
Join myself along with panelists Lindsey S. Mignano of Smith Shapourian Mignano PC, Alexa Binns of Halogen Ventures, Danielle Delancey of Wilmot Ventures, and Danny Lam of First Republic Bank for a lively and informative deeper dive on this topic:
How to Pitch & Raise Over Zoom in a Pandemic: Financing in 2020.
Wednesday, Dec 16 @10am pacific - Free registration!
Momenta is the leading Digital Industry Venture Capital and Advisory firm accelerating growth for our clients across energy, manufacturing, smart spaces and supply chain, both organically and inorganically. To learn more about our Value Acceleration Programs, click here.
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