How do I ask for money?
There is an art to pitching in today’s fundraising environment. You must be able to stand out digitally and in person. Whether you’re presenting in front of an incubator cohort, an online competition, or even for Shark Tank, it all involves knowing who you are, your company’s vision, and assembling a team that will lead to success. Here are a few case studies on how we guide founders to prepare, rehearse, and capture the interest of investors.
Identifying the “what” and “why”
Our work begins by reviewing your business model, establishing the framework you will use to identify what type of investors to approach, and crafting the narrative to gain their interest.
First, we start with where you are in your journey. By doing so, we determine the best approach for getting noticed and depositing money in the bank. Here are some examples:
Start-up pre-revenue. You have an idea that is not in the market and an interest in moving to the next development phase.
Business is up and running and ready to expand. You may need to hire more people, fund sales and marketing initiatives, increase inventory, and expenditures for equipment or additional locations.
Not quite profitable and need a bridge to get you over the hurdle.
Well established past angel investors and onto the seed round.
Next, we take a deep dive into the following questions to lay the foundation for your storytelling:
Who are you?
What business are you in?
How do you operate?
Who is on the team?
Who is your customer?
What differentiates you from the competition?
What problem do you solve?
Do you have assets or intellectual property?
Can you make money?
What is the end game?
Investors understand risk and expect a return on investment. They need to know it is doable and want to believe in the leadership behind the vision. How you tell your story often holds more weight than your numbers. Investors want to see why the company drives passion and commitment that is authentic and realistic.
Case study - Mirroring something that is already established in the marketplace does not excite, When one client came to us with a granola brand, we identified key aspects of their story that made them stand out, like how the product’s name was rooted in family history and how the founder’s lifestyle influenced the recipe.
By the numbers
The business plan and model must always be realistic. How does the company generate revenue? What does it cost to operate? When and how is profitability achieved? These questions determine how much money will need to be raised and what it will be used for. We always start here because if you can’t defend your financial model to us then it will be hard to convince someone else.
Case study – When one client came to us with an international online organization for businesswomen, we tied together all the data points so investors could see it wasn’t just a place for people to hang out. By defining the financials and framing the story, we revealed how community-building offered investors a chance to invest in enterprise technology.
The pitch deck
We have seen hundreds of pitch decks, but very few are flawless. While there are numerous templates and examples to follow from investor sites and the internet, our approach goes deeper. We focus on how you frame your story.
Case study – The story is often lost in the pitch. That is what happened with one client who invested everything they had into combating climate change with edible cutlery. Instead of focusing on the product’s technology, we coached them to get comfortable telling a story about risking it all to change the world. The client has gone on to have an expanded product lines and international success.
Knowing your narrative creates the content that influences the visuals. Because there is a difference between presenting your pitch deck in person, online, and in email, you will also make more than one version.
Case Study – We guided a now leading nationwide cannabis culinary brand get ready for their 1-minute pitch and advised them on the messaging for their seed pitch, go-to-market strategy, and sell sheet.
Pitching is a live performance with no retakes. You have one minute to tell who you are, what you are doing, and what you are asking for. Being able to spark interest quickly makes everything that follows more effective. The longer versions of your pitch go with the deck, and range from three minutes to under ten.
We will write your script together and rehearse it until it feels like you’re having a comfortable conversation with a friend. Of course, like a good friend, we coax you into answering the tough questions about your business model, market position, and the amount of money you are asking for. By the end, you will be ready when the curtain goes up – no matter where or when.
Case Study – When an idea is especially innovative, the questions get tougher. We have advised one client in the female-focused health-tech space to address questions on user needs and privacy.
The founders we have worked with have raised millions of dollars, became the first of their kind, expanded businesses from a local to nationwide presence, and had successful exits. We are well-versed across several industries, including food and beverage, cannabis, technology, and have guided women, minority, and immigrant founders. Yet, our focus remains centered on the stories that seek good for people and the planet.
We do not sugar coat beliefs about what is possible. Instead, we uncover impactful stories based on realistic numbers that allow investors to have confidence in you and your business.
Schedule a free 15-minute call to tell us your story.