Fourth Day

Getting your story straight for Investors

Y ou always want to tell a good story. This is particularly true when you’re trying to convince investors to part with their money, and fund your business.

We recently spoke to several investors, who were taking part in a MeetFounders event in London, and they all emphasised how important it was for founders to focus on storytelling.

It may seem a simple thing to get right but too often founders rely on their own personal powers of persuasion and neglect the basics.

“There are so many pitches that are full of pioneering talk but you’re still left wondering what they do,” explained Anthony Chant, VC investor and founder at One Planet Capital. ”It’s really important to get across what you do. It often helps to share a case study that explains how it works.”

With so many pitches passing across their desks, our investors also said they don’t want to wade through pages of hyperbole before they grasp what the business has to offer. In fact, they advised founders to keep their pitch light and focus on sparking interest in further discussion.

Oli Hammond, partner at Fuel Ventures, said: “Investors see thousands of pitches a year so you’ll want to get them interested. To do that, you need to get to the point straight away. This is the best way for us to determine whether a conversation is worth having.”

"Investors need to quickly understand your proposition. So make sure this is abundantly clear.”
Phoebe Kitchen VC and partner at Inovia Capital

It’s a sentiment that was echoed by Phoebe Kitchen, VC and partner at Inovia Capital, who stressed how vital it was for founders to succinctly sum up their business proposition.

“While it’s crucial that you explain your business in a compelling way, you also need to be concise. Investors need to quickly understand your proposition. So make sure this is abundantly clear.”

This doesn’t mean that founders can’t inject some excitement into their storytelling, however. Jay Lakhani, VC at Clearance Capital, made the case that founders should be prepared to take some risks in order to grab an investor’s attention, even if it alienates a few people along the way.

He said: “When it comes to standing out from the crowd, it’s probably far better to be marmite, where some people love what you’re doing and some people hate it, than to be good but unmemorable.”

Agata Leliwa Nowicka, investor and founder of Female Foundry, agreed that it’s vital that founders tell an exciting story. She said: “It’s every founder’s responsibility to make an investor as excited about what they are building as much as they are.

“I would assume that every founder is passionate about their business – if they are not, they might find it hard to grow their business. But it’s not a given investors will feel the same. Only a few founders understand that to be successful at fundraising they must transcend their own passion and excitement and convey a compelling story to investors.”

If you want to learn how we help startups tell their story, please contact us today. Alternatively, take a look at how we helped startup Partful raise its profile, and ultimately raise $8 million in funding.

The author

Paul is Fourth Day's Head of Content , based in Manchester

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