Most people will tell you that the key to raising VC funding is displaying financial stats that impresses prospective investors. Are they right? Yes… and no. Here’s the deal: I will be the first to tell you that detailing your revenue model and knowing your numbers makes a HUGE difference. The thing is… financial statistics is only one piece of a persuasive presentation. In this post, we’re going to detail how these three 21 year-olds raised built a presentation that raised an impressive amount of venture capital. Specifically, I’m going to show you a case study of how a HighSpark client persuaded a group of investors and raised $450,000 – within a 7-minute presentation. A few months ago, a hot startup called Glints approached HighSpark with the goal of attaining investment funding during an idea evaluation program. During that period, they faced the challenge of finding the right strategic investors that believed in their vision of creating the LinkedIn for youths. They knew in their guts that the idea was ripe, but communicating it was a separate challenge altogether.
Meet Glints – The LinkedIn For Students.
Described as the ‘LinkedIn for Youths’, is an online platform where students get matched with internships and graduate job opportunities. While this is not an entirely new concept, Glints differ from traditional job application portals in three ways:
- Rather than showcase generic and boring job description, they investigate and curate opportunities according to company culture, and career progression opportunities.
- They add transparency to the process by allowing you to submit, track and manage your application. This reduces uncertainty and stress due to the unknown application status.
- They provide diverse employment opportunities ranging from startups to MNCs.
How We Helped
With that in mind, we executed the following:
1. Identified Objectives and Audience
First step was to clarify the goal of their pitch, which was (D-oh) to raise $450,000 so they could further develop their product, build their team and accelerated their growth. The part that most startups ( or businesses in general ) miss out, is considering the make-up of their audience before creating the pitch. In this case, the team had already set their eyes on a specific group of angel investors from Infocomm Investments and other individual VCs. With that in mind, including certain details that appeal to the respective investors gave them the edge during the presentation.
2. Crafted the Story
It’s easy to boast that your idea is the ‘next big thing’, convincing the audience is a different ball game. We’ve found that one of the best ways to do this is to tell a compelling story with the protagonist as your end-user/customer. The story we introduced was about Mabel: a fresh university graduate. Having graduated with top results, she entered the working world with great goals and ambitions. However, she faced numerous rejections with prospective employers citing that she lacked the relevant work experience. This was crushing news since she spent past four years intensively studying while accumulating student debt. There is a happy ending to her story, though. She discovered Glints, the portal where she could immediately shortlist opportunities and find her dream internship based on her skill sets and culture fit. Including familiar schemas and comparisons such as the reference to Linkedin and a few other job platforms also gave context to the differentiation of Glints and also helped facilitate ease-of-understanding. Analogies such as the ‘tip-of-the-iceberg’ were also included. On the surface, companies were able to buy a membership and posting privileges. But the real sell was to highlight the hidden potential (included in a ‘tip-of-the-iceberg’ analogy) was revenue opportunities such as premium student accounts and skill certificates.
3. Cinematic Design
One of the winning components was how the data was displayed visually. The caveat here for most presenters is that they usually go for form over function, in our case, the emphasis was mainly on keeping things simple and communicating what they wanted to say quickly. Let the pictures speak for themselves! Since the timeline was short, we could not afford to use more visual analogies and references, keeping graphs simple to show the trends that matter – (i.e. hockey stick trajectory) can be considered more important than making it aesthetically pleasing.
The End Result
The pitch deck enhanced the impact of their oral presentation and was well received by 100+ attendees. This subsequently led to further investor interest and eventually attracted the $450,000 in funding needed to further their business.