Ran Janda attended the founder’s office hours in June 2020 and is the founder of Holistic Room, a platform promoting naturopathic practitioners in the UK. When asked about her top tips for startups preparing to meet with investors, she emphasized the importance of having a clear founder story.
“E.Make sure you are able to articulate “your story” clearly. Your story shows why you are facing the problem and why you are the best person to do it. This is the first thing investors need to know. “
Noshua Watson, participant in November 2020 and founder of Ethically Woven, an intelligent introductory platform for communities, responded. She pointed out that your startup is one of many that every investor sees on any given day. Hence, articulating your value proposition is critical. As she prepared for FFOH, she focused on practicing a brief introduction about herself, her company, and its value proposition to ensure she was communicating her story in an authentic and memorable way.
Ran and Noshua’s advice applies to all founders deciding where to start in the run-up to a pitch event or investor meeting: an effective, real story about who you are and what you do before anything else.
According to our conversations, grunt work comes into play in this next part. Candice Hampson, CEO and co-founder of Liminal Health, a social company that provides health coaching to people affected by chronic illness, highlighted investor research in her Top Tips for Founders.
There are a few ways to qualify investors – namely by round size, industry focus and ethos. As you prepare, you can figure out exactly which investors to talk to about these traits at your sweet spot.
Most events have a clear list of investors and funds available to founders well in advance of the day. Hence, it is possible to thoroughly research every investor and their fund, as Candice suggested.
This was backed up by Dash Tabor, a founder we interviewed from the June 2020 batch who is the CEO and founder of TUBR, a startup that makes real-time predictions for navigating through crowds. Dash described researching an investor’s previous interests and investments, as well as everything from his LinkedIn profile to blog posts he may have written, in order to develop a good understanding of what to expect when looking into each one Meetings goes.
Both Dash and Candice, as well as the other founders we interviewed, described the research process as critical, as a founder can understand how each investor fits their company and needs, and thanks to this armament of knowledge can also build trust in the event.
As Sheena Pirbhai – founder of Stress Point Health, a digital platform that focuses on handling emotional responses to triggers – pointed out in our conversation, it is important to enter such an event with a clear idea of what exactly you want to achieve . Without this, it’s difficult to make the most of your time and get the advice you need.
As Sheena described, by looking at goals, a founder can understand exactly how he wants to steer the conversation with each investor – namely, what questions to ask after his own story is told.
The reason founders need to research ahead of time to plan the right questions is because it is important to personalize the questions for each investor and fund. A top tip from Sarah Werner – CEO and founder of Husmus, a real estate tech startup that wants to make renting more convenient and accessible – here:
Do you know what your question is. That’s super important. It should change for each person as it should be personalized. You can ask one person for a pitch meeting while you ask for an introduction for another person.
In order to know which questions to ask which investor, it is important to understand both your goals and the investor’s background.