The Entrepreneur Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “What’s the best way to pitch a startup idea to investors?” is written by Johan Borge, founder and CEO of The Tech Map.
With technology constantly getting faster, it's no wonder more entrepreneurs are taking a stab at becoming their own boss. And while freedom and flexibility are great, building your own business can make for a challenging road ahead, especially when it’s time to pitch. Do you know how to get in front of the right people to pitch your idea for a shot at making it a reality?
No smart investor will hand over cash until you do more than your basic homework. There's a due diligence process that individual investors, angel investors, angel networks, and venture capitalists have to follow. They want to see that you have put in the work to flush out details. Business plans, financial projections, and market analysis will help an investor learn more about the industry your startup is looking to break into. No investor will tell you that you have too much information ready about your business.
Investors aren’t as hard to find as you might think. Before you tell me I’m wrong, think of the last time you specifically told someone you were looking for investors. Chances are if you mention to others what you’re looking for, they'll know someone.
Here are some other ways you can find and get access to investors:
Meetup groups like Technori and Tech Combustion host events that entrepreneurs in tech, for example, should take advantage of. These events allow companies to pitch their startups to the local community and request anything from cofounders to technical work to investors. Not only are these events great PR for the company, but they also give you the opportunity to pitch and receive feedback to continually help grow your startup.
These cyclical programs offer startups an intense, short-term opportunity to grow and scale their business. Entrepreneurs get mentoring and various stages of funding, and are typically required to be onsite and work on the project intently for the duration of the program. Techstars, Capital Factory, and Y Combinator are great places to start.
Like incubator programs, angel networks (Central Texas Angel Network, Silverton Partners, and Austin Ventures, for example) have funding cycles and application processes that startups go through before joining. The network will eventually end up with a max number of startups in a funding cycle, but don’t be discouraged if you don’t make the cut. Individual angel investors have the option to independently reach out and make a deal if they so choose. Some angel networks even have mentor/office hours where you can come in and pitch your business, collect feedback, and ask questions.
Nailing the art of pitching is key if startups want to attract investors. Using personal coaches, attending speaking classes, and watching other startup pitches can help you improve your own and better navigate the challenging entrepreneurial road ahead.
Johan Borge is founder and CEO of The Tech Map.