In a world gone virtual, pitching a startup company to investors is no exception. Although pitching and chiming in on virtual calls is not entirely unfamiliar territory for startup companies, here are some pointers from some experts at UCI Beall Applied Innovation who understand the subtleties to consider when pitching to investors on a virtual basis.
Tony Sarris, executive director, Tech Coast Angels-Orange County:
Know your pitch deck well and don’t read from a script. Especially virtually, where in best case we might see a video of you side-by-side with the pitch deck slides, keeping the investors engaged through conversational style, signaling key points through targeted inflection, and other good presentation skills are very important.
Look directly at the camera. For the Q&A portion, if you are pitching virtually, switch back to video and look straight into your camera as you answer questions from the investors. It helps show your confidence and command of the data about your business, and as noted before, gives the investors a chance to get a sense of who you are as a person. Remember: they aren’t just investing in your business, they are investing in your ability to lead the business to a successful exit.
Isabelle Bart, Innovation Advisor at Applied Innovation:
Consider virtual backgrounds. You may want to consider the option of the virtual background (if available) to limit background distractions. Zoom has great default background options; make sure the backgrounds help emphasize your face and not the other way around.
Use features like “Raise Hand.” When using these features, you can easily address questions from your audience and it will encourage a more organized approach so attendees will not speak over each other.
Matt Hanson, director of New Ventures at Applied Innovation:
Practice-Practice-Practice! With the move online, practice has to include knowing how to use the platform, such as Zoom or another program, so you don’t get tripped up with the mechanics of virtual presentations. Ask yourself are you using proper lighting, suitable audio, professional background and have good framing in the camera lens?
Applied Innovation’s Wayfinder incubator program provides resources and helpful guidance for startup companies within the UC system. Learn more about Wayfinder.