15 Tips For Pitching to Investors from Culture Shift in Cairo

by Omar Aysha, May 14, 2012

Karen McGregor, a social investor from the Scottish investment firm FirstPort, gave a workshop during the Culture Shift event about how to talk to an investor.  Although we’ve seen many talks about this subject, Karen shone fresh light on the subject.

She advised people looking for investment should think of their presentation in two halves:

Content: What are you going to say?

  1. What’s the problem you want to solve? Clearly define it, and be specific.
  2.  
  3. What’s your solution? Explain the idea, how it links to the problem, what you’ll provide, how you’ll provide it, and how you’ll operate.
     
  4. What market research have you done? Who are the paying customers & competitors? How do you there’s a gap in the market? What’s the pricing strategy?
     
  5. What’s the impact? Who benefits, and how do they benefit? Is there any impact on the environment? What’s the economic impact?
     
  6. What are your timescales? List the key activities in the first 3, 6, and 12 months.
     
  7. How will you use the investment? How much do you need? Why do you need it? Prove that you’re not wasting money. How far will this money take you? Can you get support by bartering?
     
  8. How will you sustain your idea? What skills & experience are in your team, who’s leading? Who’s missing and how will you get them? Where’s the money coming from.

Style: How are you going to say it?

  1. Be passionate: show your drive & motivation, because people buy people.
     
  2. Be clear, and use simple language: don’t be tortuously Byzantine in your explicatory verbosity.
     
  3. Be concise: too long is too bad.
     
  4. Repeat the key message: tell them what you’ll say, say it, then tell them that you said it.
     
  5. Structure your message: have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
     
  6. Practice: practice, practice, then practice your delivery some more. 
     
  7. Be honest: investors can tell, so if you don’t know, just say you’re “looking into it.”
     
  8. Listen: critical comments or tough questions can help you see blind spots, or be buying signals. 

In closing, Karen summarized her advice in the following top tips.

Karen’s Top Tips

  • Show your motivation, drive, and passion.
  • Prepare & practice your presentation.
  • Take calculated risks and innovate.
  • Learn from failures.
  • Be ambitious, think big and aim high, but start small.

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Omar Aysha is a former video-game developer, turned IT entrepreneur, turned writer, who now has a few media projects in development.