Many startups begin with a bright idea that aims to disrupt the current market by solving an existing problem for their target customers. However, what stops startups from becoming full-blown profitable businesses is the lack of funding or owners not knowing how to acquire it.
Funding can make or break a business. In fact, studies find that a large percentage of startups fail to take off because of owners’ failure to get enough investments to keep the business rolling.
If you have a business idea that you think maybe a profitable venture down the road, you should start thinking as early as now about how to get big investments along with building your brand and laying down the groundwork for it such as putting up a team. Luckily, acquiring funding may be a tough job but it is definitely not impossible.
Case in point, Scurri, a business that offers an optimized management service for shipping, just bagged funding worth 9 million euros.
How Scurri Scored a Massive Deal
Based in Ireland, Scurri started as a modest startup aiming to provide its customers with an efficient delivery management system. This is the core of Scurri’s business model. It might sound simple, but Scurri’s special selling point is how it offers a solution to a problem that its target customers have long struggled with.
Before Scurri, delivery management services were only available to big e-commerce players. Seeing how the pandemic put online shopping in the limelight, many small-time retailers also had the opportunity to sell products and services online. The playing field in ecommerce somehow leveled, welcoming small businesses into the arena.
However, no delivery management service was available for them to make the most of their time. They would print labels one by one, monitor the shipping process, and update customers all on their own. This process just took too much time for small online business owners.
On top of that, all the complicated Brexit rules also made it hard to navigate the shipping processes across borders. Good thing Scurri’s service offers to solve just all these complicated processes and make the lives of its customers easier.
Because of its relevance, Scurri’s business started taking off. Scurii gets the majority of its revenue in the UK and is now looking to make more successfully delivered parcels across the globe. Aside from small-time ecommerce businesses, they also have customers as big as eBay, Everything5pounds, Vision Direct, and Goousto.
The recent major milestone they just landed is bagging a 9-million-euro investment deal from a funding round led by Gresham House Ventures. In total, Scurri has made around 15 million euros in investment deals. They are now looking to hire triple their original employee count of 45.
How did this happen? Venture capital firms are always on the lookout for the next market-breaking startup so you also have to watch out for them.
What is a Venture Capital Firm?
Gresham House Ventures, which helped Scurri acquire a huge investment deal, is a venture capital firm. Basically, a venture capital firm is a business that pools money and looks for striking and promising businesses to invest their money in.
A capital firm is a form of partnership. This partnership is between general partners, the firm itself, and the limited partners, the investors. Limited partners are usually insurance companies, school funds, foundations, pension funds, and individual investors.
The limited partners fund the seed money and it is the role of the general partners to look for businesses to invest the money in. Both the general and the limited partners have a stake in the investment gain.
When is a Venture Capital Firm Considered Successful?
There are many ways to measure a capital firm’s success. You may ask why this matters when they are the ones bringing in the money, however, it is important for business owners to look into the investment profiles of the firms willing to invest in them.
First, you may look at the industries they invest in. Are these industries in demand, booming, and have a potential for long-term growth? Next, looking one by one at all their investment deals is not a bad idea, but a look at a firm’s overall track record should give you an idea of whether a firm is doing good or not.
Aside from these, when looking to partner with the right investor, you should also consider their interest in your business. Since you will be creating a partnership with them, they should have the genuine desire to get to know your business past the surface level. If they ask questions to get to the bottom of your business plan, consider that green light.
How Do You Attract Investors?
Since millions could be involved in investment deals, firms look for a business that has the potential for high returns, and the ability to disrupt the existing market and provide solutions to its target market’s problem. This might sound simple, but before you go looking for investors, you must put up a concrete business design that checks all boxes mentioned above. How do you do that?
First, you need to get the word out about your company; let people know that you exist. A Wharton study shows that there is a positive correlation between social media activity and the chances of getting funding for businesses. How do you exactly use social media to reach out to investors? Aside from brand awareness, using social media is proven to increase the chances of being noticed by angel investors.
There are investors who are actively looking for ideas to invest in but do not have the organizational means to look for them. By making sure your reach is as wide as possible, you increase the chances of showing up on their online feed. Aside from social media marketing to show your brand, social media bridges the gap between investors and startups.
In a Forbes article, fundraising consultant and M&A advisor Alejandro Cremades revealed that the sites most investors prefer startups to use in reaching out to them are LinkedIn and Twitter. This complements the findings of the study which says the two sites plus Facebook are mostly used by startups. David Gowel, owner of RockTech, a training platform for cloud-based technologies, successfully connected with investors through LinkedIn.
As far as social media marketing is concerned, you should design your social media pages not only to reach out to potential customers but also to serve as a sort of business portfolio. This will give investors an idea of what you are as a business once they pay your site a visit. To do this, you will need to build social proof.
Use social media to share what your business is about, demonstrate that your business is getting traction, and show how you engage with customers. While you might be uncertain about the idea of sliding directly into the investors’ social media inboxes, you may try looking for social media mutuals who may link you to them or running paid ads to boost your online presence.
There is a reason running ads is not free, you can specifically tailor your target. Take advantage of this. Once you appear on their radar, the next step is to sustain that. Schedule relevant posts on your site to maintain your presence.
All of these will be hard to handle on your own; you will be doing yourself and the business a favor if you delegate social media handling to a professional. Just make sure that you are on the same page about the direction you want your sites to go.
Next, keep your communication lines open. You don’t want to lose a deal just because you saw an email late. Finally, once you score an opportunity to present your business, waste no time and go straight to the facts. If your business is indeed profitable, let the numbers stand as proof. An effective pitch deck should tell the investors the selling points of your business and all pertinent information. If you are a product-oriented startup, show your sales.
If you run a software application, show the number of active users. Make sure that your pitch deck slides are not saturated with information. Use visual tools to convey what you want the investors to understand in a way that will not overwhelm their eyes.
The following is what a pitch deck should contain:
People often overlook putting careful thought and effort into creating their pitch deck’s cover slide. The cover slide is the first thing the investors are going to see so it is important that the cover slide gives the investors something to look forward to for the duration of the pitch.
Most of the time, people just put their company name and logo. A better way to do this is to use a powerful image that represents what you do as a company. An image representation is better than a logo. Plus, put your contact number on this slide.
State the problem that your company aims to solve. It would help to focus on a single thing rather than trying to solve multiple problems at once. Tell potential investors the reason why you started your company in the first place, what you want to do, and who you want to help.
Describe how your product or service will help in solving the problem stated in the previous slide. Go into the specifics of how your company deals with the problem, break down the solution, and walk them through the process.
Your market size will determine the potential returns of the product or service you are offering. Make sure that the market size you are targeting or planning to is appropriate for the product or service. Some investors do not invest in businesses that target a small market size because that just means small returns.
Show through numbers the projected growth the company is going to make in the coming years. Make use of visual tools properly such as graphs and charts. This is the perfect opportunity to show investors what they will be missing out on if they don’t invest in you.
If you do your pitch in person, make sure that the investors get to experience the product themselves if possible, or at least see them in person. If not, you may use visual elements such as a picture or a video of the service. Do not crowd this slide too much and make sure that your explanation is simple but encompasses the whole essence of the product or service.
Show who you are competing with within the industry. It is a good way to show what sets you apart by using an axis that will show the qualities your competitors have and what you have. Be completely honest about the strengths and weaknesses you think other brands have in relation to yours.
In this slide, you should be able to explain to investors what your product or service can offer that other brands do not. You can show this by showing organic feedback from real customers.
To show investors that your business has high potential, you have to show them proof. A graph shows the traction that the company has gained throughout the years. Include the specifics such as the number of customers reached, the revenue made, and the repetition rate or the number of customers who buy or avail of the service multiple times.
Amount Being Raised
For this portion, it would be helpful in gaining the investors’ trust if you show any previous investments made into the company. This means that other people deem your business worthy. This part is a bit tricky. If you put 1 million USD as the amount you are looking to raise, you may be missing out on the chance to bag a deal over that amount in case an investor might be willing to do that. A trick that most people do is put a range.
Use of Funds
Include a slide on how you are going to use the fund you will be raising. This will show the investors that you are aware of how much of the budget should be used for what aspect of the business. I
How powerful are pitch decks? There is a startup formed in Spain called Cabify that recently bagged 400-million-dollar funding after pitching in a funding round. Using exactly twenty slides in their pitch deck, they won the deal.
Cabify now operates as a competition to Uber and has around 1000 employees around the world. Make sure that your pitch deck slides are not saturated with information. Use visual tools to convey what you want the investors to understand.
The Final Note
If you are still at a loss on how to make a pitch deck, some successful people in the business industry are generous enough to share not just tips but whole templates with people who are struggling to come up with their own pitch deck. Peter Thiel shared online a template for an effective pitch deck. He co-founded PayPal together with Elon Musk and Max Levchin back in 1998.
He is also known for having made an angel investment in Facebook during its early years. You may also check out pitch deck reviews online to see what experts have to say about other businesses’ pitch decks
There are many ways to start a pitch, but one of the most effective is telling a story – whether yours or a customer’s. It can be why you started the business or how your product or service has effectively improved a customer’s life. Stories are effective because they humanize your products and services. By doing this, you earn people’s trust, and a trust is a powerful tool of persuasion.
As mentioned above, the first step is getting the word out and it’s one of the most crucial factors in sealing an investment deal. This is where effective digital marketing comes in as you will need an established online presence. By employing proven strategies to drive people to your social media sites, you get to nail the first step in securing an investment deal. Worry no more because Digi Bharata is just a message away from providing you with the best team that can make your website successful!