It’s All About Building Your Startup: Why You Should Join Startup Ecosystems

Startups are like human beings: they can’t exist isolated. As a rule of thumb, startups are created and develop within some context – an accelerator, a community, a network, or an ecosystem where it is easier to network and find support and growth opportunities.

In this article, you’ll find insights into what a startup ecosystem is, what you should consider before entering it, and what benefits it offers to its members.

You’ll find it useful whether you’re just considering building a startup or already have one and are in search of a good ecosystem to join.

To make things clear, let’s firstly take a look at what an ecosystem means and what you should take into account before entering one.

What is an Ecosystem?
We take a startup ecosystem as a privately or government-supported dynamic group of independent economic players that create products or services and are linked in mutually beneficial relationships.

The ultimate goal of any startup ecosystem can’t be underestimated for it impacts people and economies from different perspectives: it helps its startups/investors find investment opportunities; connects founders, business partners, and customers; and – in a global context – creates jobs, attracts talents, and boosts a city’s/country’s brand value and economic development.

It’s worth mentioning that not only startups comprise a startup ecosystem. Apart from them, a startup ecosystem can cover:

  • Сolleges, universities, bootcamps, and other educational entities.
  • Angel investors, VC firms, crowdfunding websites, private and government support programs/grants, and other funds providers. 
  • Incubators and accelerators that can combine different services – from providing fundraising and co-working opportunities  to technical assistance and mentoring.
  • Co-working spaces – companies that offer shared office spaces.
  • Different field experts, like individual advisors, advisory firms, consulting companies, mentors, etc.
  • Service providers, like bookkeepers or banking providers.
  • And finally, those who help you spread a word of mouth about your setting off – media providers (like online publications, blogs, and their social media accounts).

    To make an educated decision, make sure you answer these questions before you join a specific ecosystem:
  • What makes this ecosystem unique? Check what makes it differ from other local/global ecosystems to understand if it could offer you more benefits.
  • What might be the challenges or restrictions of joining, setting off, or growing a startup in this ecosystem? Some ecosystems, for example,  work only with early-stage startups or impose limits to how big a company can get within it. 
  • What industries does it deal with? You have to check if what you do matches with the ecosystem’s activities.
  • What are the local/global startup success stories within this ecosystem? That’s for you to know if it is really capable of giving you the opportunities you look for. 
  • Who are the leaders of this ecosystem? You want to learn who they are, what they do, and what their background is, since this is a part of your preparation for approaching them.
  • Is the ecosystem based on government programs or private capital? In some cases, an ecosystem can even combine both private capital and government-driven activities, by helping its portfolio companies apply for government grants, like we do at FutureBlock Malta.

    Now, that you know what makes a startup ecosystem, let’s get straight into why joining it is really important for your startup.

    Fundraising Sources
    By joining a startup ecosystem, you immediately get access to people who may get interested in funding your startup since fund givers, like angel investors, investor groups, investor clubs, VC firms, etc., make an important part of a startup ecosystem.

    It is worth mentioning that accelerators and incubators can also offer programs that provide selected startups with the needed capital. Very often, they collaborate with different governments and this way give access to government-driven support plans/grants or assist in applying for them.

    Besides, a great advantage about being a part of one ecosystem is that it becomes much easier to approach fund givers: there is no need to look for them outside – you all become connected within one network. 

    Business Growth Opportunities
    Another great advantage of joining a startup ecosystem is that you get a possibility to interact with companies that provide different business growth opportunities.  Normally, accelerators, incubators, and hubs can not only invest in pre-seed or early-stage startups, but also offer acceleration programs that include business development services, like guidance in choosing the right resources and building a technological roadmap, assistance in the building and implementation of your marketing strategy, software consulting, mentorship and training, etc. 

    Co-working spaces also add to a startup’s business development since they provide shared working space conditions as well as  give you access to freelancers who work in an arms’ reach – a great way to connect with them. 😉

    Knowledge Sharing
    If you are a part of a startup ecosystem, you inevitably get involved in a number of events the ecosystem members organize (if not invited to, you will still be among the first ones to hear about the upcoming conferences/meetups/workshops/hackathons), the aim of which is to spread specific knowledge or help you achieve/practice relevant practical skills. 

    Besides, many startup studios/accelerators organize academies or camps that assist in acquiring your industry knowledge or provide you with great mentors who will help you master your business management and soft skills and grow both personally and professionally.

    Access to New Partners and Customers
    Being a part of a startup ecosystem always means collaboration with other members. Thus, if you’re looking for new partnership opportunities (which is obvious if you are trying to grow your undertaking), there’s no better place than a startup  ecosystem. Joining one is a direct way to access many new customers or connect with new partners who deal in the same industry and have complementary services to offer.

    New Market Penetration
    If you are willing to grow your startup’s global activity, you need to join a startup ecosystem. In global ecosystems, you’ll find customers/partners from all over the world which means an opportunity to enter any country’s market.

    At FutureBlock and VentureRocket, we give access to thousands of investors, startups, or accelerators, from  Israel, the USA, Canada, Europe, Kazakhstan, the UK, Malta, and much more, being a gate to the world’s numerous markets. 

    Access to New Roles
    Apart from an opportunity to be a lead firm in the ecosystem, any partner can perform other roles within it, including traditional supply chains, operational capacity, sales channels, and complementary products and services.

    Besides, in many startup ecosystems, you have a chance to change your role to a completely new one. The thing is that if your startup fails, you are often welcomed to enter the network as an individual service provider and assist as an advisor or a  consultant for other startups or even as a mentor for executives. There’s always a chance to take up a new activity, still being a part of an ecosystem. Sounds great, doesn’t it? 😉

    At VentureRocket, we unite investors, startups, accelerators, incubators, hubs,and more  into one global ecosystem. Moreover, we deal with governments that support startups from all over the world.

    Explore your opportunities and join the VentureRocket ecosystem here.
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Why Startups Fail: Top Nine Reasons from VentureRocket

No matter how sad it is, let’s face the music: around 90% of all startups fail (that’s what statistics say). Moreover, it is essential to know that 10% of startups across all industries fail within the first year, others – during  the first two or five years of development. 

The lack of investors, giving up because of your burning out, disharmony among investors – these things happen. However, the most common reasons why most startups fail are others (read further to know them 😉 ).

In this article, we’ll focus on the top cases when startups don’t survive. Whether you feel that you’re about to be among them, or everything is cool, but you want to be forearmed – you’ve chosen the right place to read.

Let’s take a look at those reasons, starting from the very end…

#9. You Ignore Your Customers
Engaging with your customers is crucial for the business survival since they are both your end users and the source of your ideas to improve your startup. No matter how great your product is and how fascinating the features you’re rolling out are, if your end users don’t like/need them, you’re doing the whole work just for fun.

We encourage you to talk with your customers, ask them to share their opinions, and – what’s even more important –  enable them to leave their feedback again and again, so that you could understand what things need improvement and how to better develop and test your product.

Many founders prefer not to make others see their prototype until it is done and dusted. However, that’s a mistake that leads 14% of startups to a failure. If you don’t know what your potential customers think of your startup – be it because of the fair that someone will steal your idea or the understanding that your prototype is not perfect enough to present it to people – you’re wasting a great opportunity to improve your product before they start using it.

To find that balance, the first thing you should do is identify your pricing strategy. Whether it’s competitor-based pricing, a value-based model, penetration pricing, or price skimming, choose the model that fits specifically your business. At the end of the day, your target audience may share the same pain points, however, their budget opportunities may vary greatly.

#8.You Don’t Do Enough Marketing Activities
Marketing is often underestimated by many founders, especially the technical ones, who prefer to spend money on R&D services rather than on sales.

However, if you want people to know about your product, you need to promote it. Here’s where marketing comes into play. Besides, the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown that online marketing is a must to keep your customers interacting with the product. As statistics say, 14% of startups fail due to the poorly conducted marketing.

Of course, in the very beginning, you don’t need a separate team to promote your product for you can do it by yourself, but make sure you start forming a marketing team as soon as you get fundraised.

#7. Your Business Model is Wrong
There’s no need to explain that a successful startup should be based on a profitable business model. Usually, founders get too optimistic about how easy it will be to attract customers (thinking that just building a website will automatically bring customers) and might choose a business model that typically works for many startups but does not really suit their case.  Think thoroughly if you need a product/service business model, a subscription-based one, an on-demand one, a freemium type, or any other model. Choosing the wrong business model is an expensive mistake, as the cost of acquiring customers will simply get higher than their lifetime value.

#6. You Build a Poor Product
Statistics say that more than 17% of startups fail to survive because of the low quality of their product. Here we talk not just about the bugs that your product has, but also about how easy/intuitive/comfortable/understandable it is. If the product doesn’t fit your customers’ needs and expectations, if its UI is not friendly, and it enables a poor UX, no one will eventually use it. Again, to avoid this mistake, make sure you engage your customers in the process of the product’s QA – get feedback from your end-users, conduct A/B testing, offer white hat hacking opportunities, etc. Spending time and money on making your audience help you fix your product will save you tons of time/money and create proper sales opportunities in the future.

#5. Your Pricing is Way Off the Mark
Surprised? This seems to be easy, since you can look at your competitors and put the same price, however, the main point here is to calculate a reasonable price for your product (which 18% of startups fail to do). Remember that your price should be high enough to cover costs but low enough to attract customers. 

#4. You’ve Got Outcompeted
The next crucial factor that makes more than 19% of startups give up is strong competition in the chosen market. Having some competition is actually a good and healthy thing that shows that your industry is popular, and the product you’re offering is in demand. That said, the thing that matters here is a sound estimation of both your competitors and your capabilities.

When entering your market, try to analyze and understand what companies you’ll have to compete with. Check how many people are already doing what you aim to. Then, consider what could help you add more value or bring something different which will make your business stand out.  

#3. You’ve Built the Wrong Team
Building a  weak team is one of the top reasons why startups fail (according to statistics, 23% do). That is why it is highly important to start with a team of people whom you really know and trust to avoid misunderstanding and inner conflicts that may lead to the termination of business relationships.

The first employees you hire are the most important ones – those are people who undertake many responsibilities and are likely to advise/invite other employees who share the same values. In other words – they have much power to either grow your company or break it at all. Thus, we do recommend that you establish a team of potential builders you are comfortable to work with. Check our tips on how to build a winning team and whom to hire in this

#2. Huston, We Have a Problem: You’ve Run Out of Money
This reason seems to be more than obvious, still, more than a half of startups fail to avoid it. The lack of capital resources is commonly caused by the following:

  • You burn your cash.
    If a founder lacks budget management skills or allows personal emotions (a strong desire to grow fast) to get in their way, they can easily end up blowing money in different directions and on things that are not urgent, like providing their employees with cool perks, building departments that you can deal without in the very beginning (like a sales department or a recruitment team of several people), etc.

    What we say is before you reach the next round of funding you have to operate on limited resources – spend money only on essential things and save whatever and wherever you can.
  • You hire people too fast. This is actually a mistake most startups make. You want your team to consist of many skillful developers – that’s for sure. You want it to grow fast, and hiring new people is something you’ll do when your startup develops. However, hiring lots of people before the need arises is what you should definitely avoid when you’ve just started your business.

    Focus only on people you really need and add more employees when you have the proper budget for it. Find out what positions are best to cover while setting off a startup in “Building Your Startup: How to Make Your Startup Go Live”.

  • You start fundraising too late.
    Very often, founders start both fundraising and – what is no less important – preparing for it too late. More often, they choose the wrong investor – the first one to agree to give funds – in order to finish capital raising fast. Keep in mind that fundraising is a long process that needs at least 6 months of active meetings and even more time for good preparation for them. Besides, remember that before you succeed in raising your capital, you’ll get rejected dozens of times which also takes time. 😉

    To make things organized and really work for you, we recommend that you a) start approaching investors before you come to ask for money b) prepare a killing pitch deck (learn our secrets on pitching investors successfully here), and c) select at least two people who will be in charge of raising funds and reporting to your team regularly (every 2 weeks).

    #1. There’s No Market Need for Your Product
    As statistics show, the major reason why most startups fail is that the market they build their product in does not really need it.

It happens when:

  • You haven’t clearly identified your end users’ needs and what pain they have. Thus, the product you offer does not interest them or offers a value that is not big enough to make them want to buy your product.

    Taking into account all that, we do recommend that you determine whether your product has a value and what exactly it is – a product that is good to have or the one that is a must – before you even start making a prototype and pitching investors.
  • The market size you’ve chosen is very limited.  That’s why the people who might have the pain your product solves and the funds to buy it are simply not enough.
  •  It’s not the proper time for your product: the market and/or the needed technology have not actually been formed yet. You might be several years ahead of your market so that your customers are simply not ready to buy your product.

    Hope, we’ve made things a bit clearer. 😉

    To avoid many of those failures, at VentureRocket, we help startups find proper fundraising resources and build business opportunities. We deal closely with many investors, innovation ecosystems, and governments that support startups from all over the world.

    Explore your opportunities and join the VentureRocket network here.
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Helping Startups Win Their First Investors: EPIIC Venture Attractor Has Launched The Scale To $1M Startup Program!

We’re happy to announce the launch of The Scale To $1M Startup Program, built by the EPIIC Venture Attractor. VentureRocket is collaborating with the Venture Attractor to promote this powerful new “pre-accelerator” program.

EPIIC Venture Attractor is a university-based research initiative of the El Pomar Institute of Innovation & Commercialization (EPIIC) at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) that aims at scaling promising startups to help them successfully attract capital. The Colorado Springs, Colorado based attractor is focused on startups in the industry cluster composed of three primary sectors:

  1. Sports and outdoors
  2. Health innovation
  3. Human performance

Because the acceptance rate at most accelerators is less than 10 percent, the EPIIC Venture Attractor has introduced The Scale To $1M Startup Program – a 6-month online pre-accelerator education program, designed by Dr. Thomas Duening, for early-stage, seed stage, pre-investment, pre-accelerator, or first stage startups from all over the world.

What Does the Program Include?

  • Weekly one-hour online modules focused on scaling your startup
  • Tested action-oriented templates and tools to support your scalability
  • Dedicated mentorship services with weekly online one-on-one meetings 
  • Monthly progress pitches that enable peer-to-peer feedback and support
  • Assessment, measurement, and metrics services
  • Online investor Demo Day at the end of the program, featuring sector specific investors from around the world
  • Participation in a global entrepreneurial ecosystem 

Find more info on the program in the 2021 Program Schedule and Modules.

The primary aim of the program is to help you grow your business and prepare you for attracting your dream investor.

At VentureRocket, we believe that this program is a great way to get knowledge, resources, and support from experienced field experts and entrepreneurs, with the opportunity to collaborate with them.

Moreover, the Scale To $1M Startup Program will act as your bridge to different networks, by enabling you to work in small peer groups and build your peer network and introducing your startup to its ecosystem investors (at the end of the program).

The application process ends on March 17.
To learn more info and apply for the Scale To $1M Startup Program, please, go here.

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Opening Kazakhstan to the VentureRocket Network: VentureRocket Sets Up a Joint Venture with AIFC Fintech!

We are more than proud to share that VentureRocket has signed a strategic partnership with the government company of Kazakhstan – AIFC Fintech.

Astana International Financial Centre is a financial hub supported by the Kazakh government that aims to attract startups from all over the world, by connecting entrepreneurs with international investors and industry experts and supporting them with local incentives.

Covering 560+ companies from different industries, like asset management, private banking, green finance, fintech, etc., Astana International Financial Centre aims to connect the economies of Central Asia, the Caucasus, EAEU, West China, Mongolia, the Middle East, and Europe.

AIFC Fintech is a point of integration between innovation and new ideas with a view to promoting economic development in Central Asia. Our mission is to bring together key participants in the financial technologies ecosystem, international partners, experts, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and technology projects to stimulate the development of financial technologies.

At VentureRocket, we believe this partnership will help us enable our network members to open the world’s various markets, enjoy great benefits provided by the partner of Kazakhstan, and bring more investment opportunities to them.

To explore your opportunities from AIFC Fintech, please, click here.

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Building a Winning Startup Team: Whom and How to Hire?

One of the biggest challenges for a startup to face after fundraising is hiring the right people. Every employee you hire, especially at the very beginning of your startup establishment, influences the whole team, that’s why it’s more than important that you take a strategic and systematic approach in hiring them.

In this article, you’ll find our insights into what employees are worth hiring and our best practices on how to attract great talents. It will be useful if you’ve just started your business or are simply interested in improving your head hunting skills and vision.

Establishing The Right Mindset
In our experience, the key to building a team successfully  lies in the way you approach the hiring process itself. In Building Your Startup: How to Make Your Startup Go Live, we’ve recommended  that you start your business with only those people you need and add more people as your capital boosts. Before you decide to grow your team further, it’s important that you keep in mind the following: 

  • Be constantly hiring
    Don’t wait till the need for a new employee arises – make your recruiting process proactive, by constantly looking for good specialists. Study and realize the best recruitment practices, develop your talent pool, and don’t hesitate to invest money in your team’s engagement in this process. With this in mind, when a new project starts and you have a lot of new job openings, you will already have a pool of ideal candidates to select from and spend less time on the recruitment itself.

  • Make recruitment one of the priorities for the whole team
    Ideally, it’s not only the CEO and the HR manager who should actively take part in hiring activities. The best practice is when each team member is aware of what new candidates the company is looking for and helps, by advising potential candidates. To do that, implement an employee referral program, so that each contribution gets rewarded.

  • Build positive relationships
    It’s important to build and maintain good relations with all candidates, even with those ones you are not hiring now or rejected in the past. Or, we’d say, especially with those ones you’re currently not hiring or rejected some time ago. Firstly, you never know what projects can arise in the future – you might need those candidates later. Besides, every candidate you deal with may or does spread a word of mouth on your company. It is very important that you act in a positive and friendly way with them as this could attract other employees to your team.

  • Your perfect candidate will change over time 
    There’s no doubt that your first employee will be different from every following one, especially those ones you’re gonna need in even 6 months. What you think is your perfect candidate now will be changed with every new customer. It’s important that you take a fresh look and evaluate your priorities regularly to avoid hiring people you do not actually need.

Now that you see the big picture and have the right attitude towards the hiring process, let’s take a look at what qualities could describe a good candidate:

#1. They Possess the Skills You’re Looking For
When it comes to hiring people, the first thing you need to identify is who your perfect candidate is. Build the exact profile of the candidate you’re looking for, defining exactly what skills they should possess, what level of experience they need to cover, whether a new graduate could be considered too, whether you need someone with in-depth knowledge in one specific area or with a broader range of knowledge, etc. One thing is for sure – your ideal candidate should fit the skills you’re looking for.

#2. They Fit the Corporate Culture
Things are quite simple here – you have to like your candidate before you hire them. This doesn’t mean you take only those people you feel sympathy for. The main point here is that you need to know that working with them will be comfortable for both you and your team. Look for someone with the ability to get along with them on a daily basis and add to the positive working environment conditions.

The candidate who doesn’t fit the corporate culture can create a negative working atmosphere and even bring the team’s productivity down. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people you work with. If they’re the best developer out there but they can’t work with the rest of the team, we do recommend that you don’t hire such a developer.

#3.  They Are Eager to Learn
Depending on the project, there’s no definite answer whether it’s better to hire a highly experienced developer or the one who’s learning fast and is ready to develop, together with your startup.

However, both of them have to be open to learning new things if they want to stay competitive and work in a long-termed project.  We recommend that you hire people for potential – as a rule of thumb, smart, self-motivating, and hard-working people manage to perform at a higher level of productivity, adjust to new conditions faster, and are more likely to bring creative solutions. 

#4. They Are Able to Multitask
A business undertaking always starts with a small team of a few people. As you don’t have much money to invest in hiring more people initially, you have to firstly rely on people who are able to multitask. Look for people who are eager to take on many responsibilities and have their finger in every pie. You’ll definitely need them, at least in the early stages of your company development. 

#5. Soft Skills Matter
Soft skills are often underestimated by people who occupy technical positions. As a rule of thumb, they tend to be more introverted, and it’s easier for them to demonstrate their practical skills rather than the soft ones. However, communication skills are no less important than tech knowledge and experience, even if you’re looking for a software developer. The abilities to articulate your thoughts clearly to people of different backgrounds, connect with them, work as a team player, and adjust to new employees/customers/partners are the basis for building a strong team with smooth communication processes.

#6. Look for the Things You Can’t Train
Having many good developers in a team is great, especially if they have much experience to share with other team members. However, when we talk about a startup, the number of team members is rather limited here. It’s not likely that one person can be a Jack of all trades. Besides, it’s impossible to teach all the skills, especially those ones that come “out-of-the box” with an employee, like   enthusiasm, self-motivation, diligence, ability to play in one team, etc.  Thus, we recommend that you look for people with skills (both hard and soft) that you are not able to teach or don’t have the right person to guide in.

It All Starts with Attracting People
The ultimate attraction about your startup is about building a company that people are willing to work for. That said, when you are a small team of several people working hard on a new project, convincing top specialists to join you is not that easy. 

With this in mind, we recommend that you focus on the best practices to attract new people to your startup. Now that you know your ideal candidate profile, let’s move to the great ways to find and hire them.

#1. Attend and Organize Events
Networking is the key to finding not only new partners, but also new employees. That’s why attending and speaking at local events are great resources for finding good candidates. Invite them to an event that you could organize in your office, like an open day, a meetup, a workshop, a coffee party, etc. This is your non-intrusive way to hunt for local talents and introduce your team in a more personal and informal way.

#2. Offer Flexible Work Options
In times of the COVID-19 pandemia, it’s important that you can offer flexible working options. Statistics say that employees place most value such perks as flexible working hours, a more paid vacation time, and work-from-home opportunities. That will not only help you attract more people to your team but also increase the number of great specialists from other countries willing to work remotely.  Besides, this way you show that as an employer, you care about how healthy their work-life balance is.

#3. Be Present In Social Media
At the beginning of building your startup, you’re completely unknown to your potential audience. That’s why it’s highly important that you invest time and money in establishing your online presence.

If your company has no website, no blog, no Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, there are small chances anyone will get to know you (unless you’ve asked for recommendations). We do recommend that you take a strategic approach to all the content you have and build profiles in as many popular social media channels as possible from the very beginning – both your potential candidates and customers need to know that you’re alive and are actively developing.  

#4. Offer a Competitive Payment
No need to really explain this point – in most cases, people choose places with higher compensation, even if they’re offered many perks instead. Moreover, competitive compensation is not only about how you attract people to work for your company, but also about how you retain them. 

Of course, in the very beginning, it’s likely your employees will be underpaid. However, make sure you bring their salaries up to market rates as soon as you’ve secured your first funding – don’t give them a chance to leave your startup and then spread a word of mouth that you’re underpaying your employees. Building your reputation is not what could be postponed till later. 😉 

#5. Finally – Ask for Recommendations
Personal recommendations are the biggest and, probably, the only source of candidates when you start expanding your team. Here, it’s the time to practice your soft skills and win new hires, by simply communicating with them in a more personal way. Dedicate time to building your network both in the real world, by attending conferences and talks, and online, by adding people on LinkedIn  or asking your 1st connections for recommendations. Maybe, your next great hire is in your 1st connections’ network or already knows/follows you – check that. 😉 

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Learning from Investors: Top 19 Questions You Should Ask Investors in a Fundraising Meeting

Pitching investors successfully is not about making them want to immediately invest in your project. Surprised? The ultimate goal lies in getting them interested enough to talk with you further. Moreover, even if they reject your deck, you can still benefit from it. Read on to find out how you can do that.

It All Starts with Asking Proper Questions
Let’s face the music – the chances they will invest in your startup are no more than 10% (that’s what statistics say). This means there are more than 90% you’ll get rejected. However, this also means you can use 90+% of your time wisely and get the needed info from your investors, by asking the right questions. That’s how you win from a failed meeting.

In this article, we’re gonna give you insights into 19 questions that are good to ask while pitching investors. Before getting straight into them, make sure you treat the fundraising meeting in a proper way.

Building Your Winning Mindset
If you aim to nail pitching your investors, setting yourself up for a successful meeting is more than vital. In our experience, before you start pitching them, you will want to bear in mind that…

  • A fundraising meeting is not a one-way monologue. It’s a collaboration of two sides in a discussion. Don’t run through your presentation, trying to cram as much info into it as possible. Give your investors an opportunity to speak too.
  •  Spend only 1/3 of your time presenting your startup and 2/3 asking the right questions. Since more chances are that they will not invest in your project, the time you ask your questions is probably the most valuable. This is the time you get the info that will help you improve your startup/pitching strategy.
  • Talk with your investors as equals. The thing that you are asking for help doesn’t mean you are in a lower position. The best fundraising meetings always look like conversations between equals.
  • Remember: investors you’re pitching can not only give you money, but also something which is even more valuable. They’re your info resources.  They’ve talked with hundreds of startups and possess different insights which you may be simply not aware of. Now, since these info resources are sitting right in front of you, all you need to do is ASK the right questions. We’ve prepared a list of what we think could be great questions to get important info from investors. Let’s take a look at them.

Why did you decide to take the meeting with us?
This is another way to ask your investor why they find your startup attractive and what makes your startup differ from hundreds of others of the same type. If they have scheduled a meeting with you, there should definitely be important reasons for that. Knowing them adds to the understanding of your startup’s advantages as well as to your confidence in approaching other investors in future. 

When you discuss my deck with your partners, how will you describe our startup?
A great way to check if the investor’s got the main points of your presentation. On top of that, this is your opportunity to see what your investors consider important to them when looking at your startup. Maybe, you’ll need to change something in your deck to adjust it to what investors are really looking for.

What could be the negatives/obstacles your partners and you may think of when they look at this business?
If you yourself haven’t introduced the possible negatives of your startup in your pitch deck, this is your chance to hear what investors think could prevent your business from growing. Listen and learn.

How do you think my company will fit in your portfolio?
Again – another way to find why your investors find your startup interesting. Besides, this question will help you understand if there is any potentiality for collaborating with the startups they’ve already partnered with.

What are the things you think we may be underestimating?
If there’s anything you might be missing in your pitch deck or your budget estimations are not not proper, this is your chance to ask the very investors what they think may be wrong with them. This info will definitely help you improve your deck, so be patient and open to what they could suggest to you. 

Do you have any concerns about investing in our startup?
Firstly, asking this question may help you see things you haven’t taken into consideration while preparing your deck. It could also help you better understand why people may not be willing to invest in you, especially, if you get often rejected. Finally, if they do have any concerns, you could try to refute their objections on the spot and not leave a chance to gently reject you.

How many other companies are targeting the same sector/you?
You want to know how big the competition is, don’t you? Go ahead and ask your investor directly.

Could you name any successful companies this startup reminds you of?
If you haven’t done your research before, let your investors tell you what companies succeeded in your industry/getting funds from them. Moreover, you could read more on their success history after the meeting or even contact them on LinkedIn to ask for a piece of advice or whatever. Use your chance.

Have you met with somebody trying this business but failing?
The same goes for this question – learn the names of those who have already been there and got their lessons. Find them on the Internet and try to connect. Very often, bad stories give even more experience/useful info than the successful ones.

What do you think are the biggest opportunities for us in this industry?
This is your chance to get a professional look at your business and see how promising it is in terms of development. Maybe, there’s something you haven’t taken into account? Ask and you’ll see.

Am not asking for introductions, just being curious. Who would you also recommend as an investor for this type of business?
A tricky yet simple way to see whom else you could approach for fundraising.

What do you think we should improve on the pitch?
If you don’t understand why your pitch deck keeps getting rejected, this is your chance to hear the point of view of the ‘end user’. Listen carefully and make the needed improvements as soon as you’re available. At the end of the day, this is what the meeting is all about – getting important info.

Whom else would you like to see on our board?
When dealing with VCs, you should remember that some of them may want to assign more team members or choose a CEO of their own. It’s important that you get aware of whom else they’d like to put on there before they decide to invest in your startup. It could be a senior partner who could bring lots of  value to your startup or simply a junior associate. It’s crucial you have the best people in your team.

What would you want us to do after closing?
Any good cooperation starts with a clear understanding of what each party is going to be responsible for and establishing exact expectations from that partnership. Get prepared beforehand and find out at once what they expect you to do and what they would like to do with your company in terms of your collaboration.

How long does it typically take you to close?
In making deals, timing is everything. Find out whether both of you can work within a chosen time frame from the very beginning. It may turn out that your investors cannot adjust their processes to yours or the whole investment process takes longer than you expect. A fundraising meeting is your perfect time to figure out whether you fit each other in terms of deadlines.

Who else has to approve this investment?
It is important to know who exactly you need to get interested in your project, otherwise you’re wasting your time. If you’re talking to a decision maker, that’s great. However, if this is a low level associate, this means the final decision will be made by someone whom you’ve probably haven’t even seen. 

 What is the status of your fund?
This question will give you an idea if the VC has enough money to invest in your startup and whether they’re capable of making follow-on investments over time, too. You may also follow up by asking directly how many investments they make per year and what their typical investment size is.

What metrics are you tracking during the investment process?
Raising capital may be a long process which needs to be tracked. Find beforehand what KPIs they are going to track since knowing what specific things your investors are looking for in an investment will help you understand if you could really be a good fit for them.

What could your deal breakers be?
Understanding why an investor is willing to invest in you is great. However, no less important is knowing why they could be not interested in dealing with your startup. Learn the potential deal blockers so that you could make the needed improvements on time or (if needed) move to pitching other investors if you don’t comply with the requirements of this one. 

Final Thoughts
In “Pitching Your Startup to Investors: Things You Should Keep in Mind to Succeed”, we’ve mentioned that for every 100 pitches an investor hears, they give funds to only 1 of them. Since chances they’ll invest in your startup are not high, the good thing you could do in a fundraising meeting is get as much useful info from them as possible. Use your meeting as an opportunity to not only present your project, but also to LEARN what things could be improved in both your deck and startup. The 19 questions provided above will help you better understand your investors, improve your pitch deck, and eventually get fundraising from the right investors.

At VentureRocket, we deal closely with many investors, innovation ecosystems, and governments that support startups from all over the world. To get our assistance in connecting with them and join the VentureRocket network, navigate here.

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Surviving the Pandemic: How to Keep Your Startup Alive during Covid-19

Covid-19 has affected global business processes, causing great changes to both the way we run existing companies and (especially) the way we set off new undertakings. While some industries, like travel or hospitality, are losing out, others, like health tech, e-commerce, or e-education, are enjoying more demand. Moreover, such essential business boosters as networking, collaborating with teams, and raising capital have become more challenging. Taking into account all that, using traditional business approaches to survive the pandemic is irrelevant.

In this article, you’ll find 9 tips on how to execute your startup in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. They will help you both survive the current crisis and adapt your business to the upcoming challenges.

1. Change Your Strategy
This is the first thing you need to do in any economic crisis. Do your reality check to see if your previous business expectations still hold water. In any case, at least a half of them will need rebuilding. Redo your company’s strategy to fit current conditions and build realistic expectations concerning your market, product, customers, and revenue. Most likely, they’re not really relevant, so you’ll have to think of a more flexible business model and new channels to approach your customers and/or partners. Create your strategic plan to survive at least the first 12 months. Review it daily and make weekly updates. The main point here is to stay flexible enough to adopt quickly to new business challenges.

2. Go Virtual
Here, we’ll talk not only about changing your office work space into working from home and meeting with your co-workers virtually, but also about doing business deals remotely.

The strange yet good thing about working remotely is that when everyone has moved to doing Zoom calls from home, it created a special collaborative atmosphere. We all have the same pain now – doing calls is not that comfortable from home, yet we all understand that and accept building remote relationships as something really safe.

Besides, numerous researches have shown that investors and customers are eager to make decisions through online interactions, though online investments have never seemed attractive. Nearly half of NFX respondents that are VCs admitted they have already invested in startups without meeting their founders personally, and 60% of them say they would like to invest online.

It’s also worth saying that working online opens up new network opportunities – now, we all can participate in online meetups/conferences and that way connect with potential partners.

3. Communicate Often
Meeting virtually has to become an every day must now. If half a year ago it was OK to have a 10-minute call a day to give your customer work updates, now the number and duration of calls have increased for many reasons. One of them (probably, the most important one) is that your customer needs to do that reality check and control remote processes well. Everyone – from employees to investors  – are worried, that’s why we’d recommend that you keep them updated as often as possible.

4. Manage Your Budget Wisely
Build a new monthly budget for the crisis period. The good thing is to think 12 months ahead, cause most likely this is how long you’ll need that money. 

In any crisis, it’s really crucial to reduce costs that aren’t critical. Think of the ways to keep your startup to a minimum of expenses – shut your office space, decrease communications, leverage reduced taxes, etc. It’s never a pleasant thing to do, but if you have to – consider downsizing your team, too. A crisis is actually the time to see who fits your business best, be it an employee or a partner.

5. Consider Alternative Financing
Fundraising has become more difficult during the pandemic, especially for the early-stage startups, since it’s hard to predict what the economy will look like in the next 12 months. Although investors are still investing (at lower valuation, in companies that don’t require big amounts of money), capital raising will be this difficult even  after the COVID-19 pandemic, since investors will need time to get back on their feet.

That’s why we strongly recommend that you consider alternative funding resources.  Explore local government-based programs aimed at supporting small businesses or special low-interest or no-interest bank loans.

Many accelerators, like Techstars or 500Kobe Accelerator, have also introduced programs to help early-stage startups survive the crisis and present their solutions to battle the pandemic.

At FutureBlock Malta, we assist global startups in applying for Malta-based grants and support plans. Learn more and apply for a relevant program here. At VentureRocket, we deal closely with many investors, innovation ecosystems, and governments that support startups from all over the world. Click here to explore your best opportunities.

6. Make Business Development and Marketing Your Priorities
As we’ve already said, a crisis is the perfect time to rebuild your business model and look for new ways to gain customers. For this, business development and marketing have to become your main helpers. Consider joining your industry communities, attending as many online events as possible, and establishing accounts in more social media channels, because this is where you’ll find more customers. As all business is done online now, a good online marketing strategy is the key to your survival.

7. Look for New Opportunities
Who said that a crisis leaves out opportunities? We’d say this is exactly vice versa: a crisis is your time to look extensively for new ways to thrive. COVID-19 has actually opened up new opportunities for numerous industries. E-education, e-commerce, and health tech are performing even better than before the crisis, and you have an opportunity to build a solution which will help battle the pandemic, too. Get creative and think of adapting/creating solutions that will bring some social value.

8. Consult Your Investors
Two points are crucial here. The first one is about staying true with your investors and updating them regularly on the current situation. It’s more than important now to be honest and transparent with investors, for this is the time they check if you are still worth partnering with.

Secondly, don’t be afraid of consulting them. Your investors are interested in helping you if  they see you act honestly and professionally with them. Except for money, they have lots of experience to give you. Just ask them to advise you.

9. Work on Your References
In times of the COVID-19 pandemic, references are more than important.
If lead generation takes much time and doesn’t bring many results at first, it’s time to think of your 1st connections – people who have already worked with you, know you well, and could recommend working with you to other customers from the same industry. This kind of partnership is always trustworthy, besides, it’s really important to get to know your customer before you start collaborating with them. 

Final Thoughts
The main thing you should learn about any crisis is that it’s your perfect time to ACT. Get flexible. Adopt your business to new reality circumstances. And stay (at least try to) positive. Remember: crises don’t last forever. Your responsibility is to get prepared and just do what you have planned.

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Connecting Innovation with Expertise: VentureRocket Partners with Baltic Tech Ventures!

Happy to share that we have signed a partnership agreement with Baltic Tech Ventures!

BTV is the only exchange-traded tech start-up accelerator/VC fund that invests in seed and early-stage startups across the Baltic region.

To its portfolio companies, BTV offers a number of amazing fundraising benefits.  Being listed on the Nasdaq Baltic stock exchange and leveraging its big network of contacts and strategic partners, the company provides its startups with access to global capital markets and institutional and private investors.  Moreover, it can also work startups’ behalf to approach and negotiate with investors as well as assist startups with receiving EU/EC funding.

Besides that, BTV’s team offers its professional expertise and guidance, by offering its services in business development, sales, legal aspects, and business promotion.

Through one of the leading local media networks – The Baltic Times and BNL media channels – BTV helps promote its portfolio companies across social media, by organizing interviews with their founders.

On the other hand, BTV helps investors access the most promising Baltic startups with solid business models and scalable businesses. Being a listed company, fully compliant with NASDAQ Baltic regulations, the company provides its investors with complete transparency of the investment processes.  Moreover, the company’s shares presuppose no success or management fees as well as no lockup or investment minimum and can be traded through any bank or broker around the world.

As a part of our network, BTV will leverage the VentureRocket platform as well as get access to our pool of global investors and startups.

We believe that this partnership will help us deliver great fundraising and business development services and create more  investment opportunities for our network members.

To join Baltic Tech Ventures, please, click here.

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Applying for a Grant: Top 10 Tips to Nail It

Applying for a grant is a complicated and challenging process that doesn’t cover only writing an attractive proposal. Besides, the fact that they usually accept applications once a year reduces your chances to win one. To nail it, you need to take into consideration numerous pitfalls.

In this article, we’ll guide you through 10 crucial steps to succeed in applying for your dream grant. You may find it useful whether this is your first time you’re testing your luck or you’ve already tried to apply but failed.

But first things first…

What Is a Grant?
Depending on their type, grants are publicly- or privately-funded schemes, providing entrepreneurs or non-profit undertakings with benefits, such as cash awards, tools/equipment, training resources, or reduced taxes for using certain resources. 

Grants are generally given to non-profit organizations. However, when provided to individual entrepreneurs, they presuppose assisting projects that aim to bring value to the country’s overall economy or society, e.g. developing products that improve healthcare. Also, different organizations offer grants for business activities that match their specific missions.

The great thing that makes grants really attractive is that they do not presuppose you paying any interest or the cash award back at all. That said, most direct (cash) grants expect you to match the grant amount – which means you’ll need to cover 50% of the cost of the project by yourself. 

What you need to remember is that:

  •  Almost all grants are offered to existing businesses. Thus, if you haven’t set off your startup, small chances you could apply for one.
  • Grants are typically looking for innovative undertakings, meaning your project has to somehow contribute to society.
  • Applying for a grant and receiving an answer is a lengthy process. Besides, most of them accept applications only once a year. That’s why you need to start preparing as soon as you decide to apply for a grant.
  • Grants are highly competitive. That’s the main reason why you do want to think of how to make your application customized, unique, and really worth reading.
  • As we’ve said earlier, most of the direct grants expect you to match them with your own budget.
  • All grants state exactly how you’re supposed to spend or allocate your money.

    Further, we offer you our 10 tips to succeed in the application process.

1. Do Your Research
Before starting writing your application make sure you’ve picked the right grant. It seems obvious, but very often, startups skip this initial step. Availability is not the main criterion. Take your time and do your careful search on the grants that fund similar projects. You could try different tools, like Grant Connect,  which will help you find the best grant opportunities. Think of the local grants first for they are likely to be more loyal. The best tip here is to look for the grant that seems to have been written specifically for your business.

2. Make Sure You Are Eligible for the Grant
The most frustrating thing to do is to apply for a grant and get rejected for being inappropriate. Pay your attention to the requirements of the grant before applying. Check the following:

– Your business size and classification. Usually, grants expect you to be a Limited Company or a business with a specific number of employees.

– Your purpose. Make sure your goal coincides with the purpose of the chosen grant.

– Your location. If the grant is available for startups from a specific region you do not belong to, you’ll be rejected.

– Your business industry. The same goes here – if the grant doesn’t deal with your specific industry, no further discussion is possible.

3. Learn About Your Grant Officer
When you’ve investigated everything on the grant and its requirements, it’s time to learn more info on your grant officer.  The main point here is to check how closely the funder is connected with your project and whether you share the same values. Get some copies of their annual reports, look through their website, or get connected on LinkedIn. The more you know about the funder, the more chances to hit them.  And don’t be afraid to communicate with your grant officer (we’re gonna talk about this point a bit later 😉 )  – this will not only help them remember you but also increase your chances to be selected.

4. Follow the Guidelines
The guidelines of the grant are not just recommendations – those are the same requirements you need to follow, so take them seriously. All grants explain vividly what should be done to meet their requirements. All you need to do is read carefully and DO it. Spend time on customizing your proposal and give the funder exactly what they look for. If they ask for a short statement, one paragraph is enough. If they ask two to four pages, four and a half pages are more than needed. 

Every grant differs, but typically, all of them expect you to show:

– Your business plan. Make sure it also contains all the required points, like the executive summary, business overview, operations plan, market analysis, products and services, competitive analysis, management team, financial plan, projections, etc. Customize your business plan to each grant the way you’d do it with your CV when applying for a job.

– An explanation of how you’ll spend your money.  It should be as brief and exact as possible. The main idea is to confirm you know exactly where your budget will go (read more about it in the “Be Clear About How You’ll Use Your Money” section).

5. Demonstrate the Importance of Your Topic
When writing your application, make sure you explain the impact and benefits of your project to its full extent. It doesn’t mean you should concentrate only on your idea and leave  the work plan and processes behind. The point here is that you need to show your funder why this work is worth considering so that it doesn’t leave any doubts. A funder won’t understand the importance of your project without a reasonable explanation. That’s why try to provide enough background for them to understand the problem, describe what has been done by others, and show how that still doesn’t solve the issue.

Moreover, the importance of your startup is actually what you need to demonstrate in your cover letter, too. Although, normally, you will write your cover letter last, make sure you clearly explain the idea of your project in it. The funder will read it first, so the way they feel about your cover letter will also influence their interest to read your application further. Treat your cover letter as the first opportunity to connect with the grant givers. 

6. Stay Honest
Many startups take their application as an opportunity to promote their project and forget/deliberately avoid mentioning the potential negative effects of their work. However, your application MUST contain full info on your undertaking, together with the possible limitations and negative outcomes. Your fund givers MUST know what they will deal with, including the worst scenarios. Don’t be afraid that your idea will look worse – analyzing and understanding your ‘weak’ points will only demonstrate your problem-solving skills. Besides, we all understand that there are no perfect projects, just make sure you have your plan A together with plan B in place. 

7. Be Clear about How You’Re Gonna Use the Money
As we’ve talked before, your fund givers need to understand you know how to spend the money they and their partners will provide you with. Actually, sometimes, they will look at the budget first to reduce the number of valid applicants. And very often,  applicants are disqualified for providing an invalid/improper budget, by underestimating or overestimating their costs. 

 Although the budget you submit may be the last thing you attach to your application,  take care of it. Remember, it should be realistic and exact. Sometimes, you may be even asked to add the CVs of your key team members to it.

8. Make Your Application Easy to Read
Try to look at your application with your reviewer’s eyes. Your funder is most probably a busy person who’s got to read hundreds of applications. Make sure your application is as easy to read as possible for the reviewer. Find that balance between the short form and the completeness of info you provide.

This applies not only to  the way you structure your text, but also to making it reader-friendly. Your writing should be clear and simple. Don’t use long sentences and specific jargon. Try to use short sentences whenever possible.

9. Deadlines
This is something that you definitely know, but that is worth highlighting – follow the deadlines. Imagine your frustration when all the work’s been done, everything’s been prepared, and you simply forget to submit your application on the right day… Check the grant website for updates once a week if you’re afraid of missing something. And don’t forget to SUBMIT your application on time.

And the Last Thing… Follow Up Regularly
That’s OK to keep in touch with your grant officer after submitting your work – use that to your advantage.  Ask if they have any questions on your application or contact them if you have some. All this helps get more info and start building relations with your funder.

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Pitching Your Startup to Investors: Things You Should Keep in Mind to Succeed

Presenting your startup to investors is more than just introducing yourself: you have one chance to make them get interested and want to invest in your project. As a rule of thumb, for every 100 pitches an investor hears, they give funding to only 1 of them. Besides, if you fail to pitch your startup at the first try, it will be hard to follow up those guys later to earn your second chance.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 14 tips to successfully pitch your startup to potential fund givers. They will all come in handy even if you’ve already been there and have some experience in presenting to investors – tailoring your presentation is always a good idea.

#1. Know Your Investor
This step is often skipped by many startups, still, it’s crucial. Before reaching out to an investor and scheduling a meeting with them – be it one individual investor or the whole startup competition event judged by a group of investors – make sure you’ve done your due diligence. Find and learn everything you can about them, e.g. their investment history, personal interests, network, etc. The more you know about whom you’re gonna deal with, the more chances are that you’ll manage to impress and persuade them to invest in your project.

#2. Ask for Introductions

Preparation is the key to success. Make sure the potential investor has heard about you before you come and ask for money. A good way to do this is to approach them personally on LinkedIn or ask those who may know them for an introduction. Be it a consultant or a founder you’ve met at a conference, connect with them. They all can be your way to approach investors indirectly.

#3. Explain What Your Project Is About
When all preparation steps have been taken, it’s time to talk about the pitch deck itself. The first thing you should always keep in mind about your presentation is being exact. Explain exactly what your product or service is about. Even a narrow description is better than a vague one. Remember that your goal is not to describe everything your product can do, but persuade the investors that you’re worth dealing with further.

Be clear about the problem you aim to solve. If you can’t convince an investor there’s a problem your product solves, they will not get interested in your solution.

Tell exactly what makes your product differ from others. If there’s nothing special about it, there’s no sense approaching investors at all. Thus, make sure your product is unique in a way while designing it.

#4. Try to Excite
That’s right – impress your audience. A successful pitch is a combination of business and emotional needs. If your startup has great business value but doesn’t hit your investors emotionally, it is likely to have fewer chances to be selected.

When and how can you do that? At the very beginning of your presentation, because that’s the time when you win the attention of your audience. The more attention is earned during the first 5 minutes, the more chances are that you’ll be listened to further. Start your pitch with an exciting intro and follow with a trustworthy elevator pitch. Think of an entertaining video explaining how your product solves the challenges your customers have. 

#5. Take Little Time
Investors’ time is the most valuable thing they give you before they even decide to fund your project. Thus, the less time your pitch lasts, the better. You already know that even if your presentation takes only 10 minutes, it doesn’t mean that you get all 10 minutes of attention. Use your time wisely.

Move at the same pace while presenting your project and do not be in a rush in the end. Make sure you don’t stop on one slide for more than three minutes.

Don’t talk about secondary matters long your competitors or resumes should form single slides you cover quickly at the end of your presentation. 
Leave some time for the discussion afterward. If that’s a meeting, it’s better to make your presentation more like a conversation rather than a monologue. Besides, there are always some questions after an interesting and meaningful presentation. 😉

#6. Explain Your Revenue Model
The two main questions all investors want to know answers to are: a) how your startup is going to make you rich and b) how your startup is going to make investors rich.

To answer them, make sure your pitch deck contains your revenue model – the very framework you’re gonna apply for generating financials. Moreover, clearly explain your exit strategy for 5 years, to answer them how your project will make your investors rich for 5 years.

# Show Your Demo
A great thing to show to your investors is a demo since it explains what your product is all about in a more clear and entertaining way. That said, don’t turn your demo into a catalog of your product’s features – start with a verbal explanation of the problem your product solves and then show how it does this with the help of your demo.

#8. Speak Properly

The first thing to do before preparing a speech is to decide who’s going to speak to the audience. If you are the only founder, that’s OK. However, if your team is composed of several founders, letting each of them speak might take much time or cause unnecessary attention distraction. We’d recommend that you choose one or two people who are good at speaking and let them talk in turns.

Secondly, make sure you do not both speak and fuss with something on your laptop while presenting your project. Let another person take care of clicking on the buttons while you focus on your audience. As soon as people see that you’re busy with something else, they automatically lose their attention.

On top of that, speak slowly and clearly to your audience. You have probably noticed that we speak in a far slower and louder manner while giving a public speech. In fact, if it seems to you that you speak too slowly, most probably that’s the needed pace to choose.

Finally, if you want to memorize your speech, make sure it sounds spontaneous and informal. Think of several jokes to create that friendly atmosphere and catch people’s attention.

#9. Stay Confident
Here, we do not only talk about showing your confidence to the audience (who may or may not not possess specific technical knowledge to understand how good you are at what you’re explaining). 
The point here is also about being confident before your investors. Don’t worry if your company is so young that it doesn’t have an office or you lack some business skills. Smart investors look for talented people, not the super experienced ones. They want you to show you have that talent and are willing to build something really unique.  

#10. Take Care of the Pitch’s Form
When you’re building your presentation, bear in mind it should contain no more than 15-20 slides. Why so little? The answer is very simple: people do not like and – what’s more important – do not perceive lots of info. Also, make sure you do not put many words on one slide (usually, a reader-friendly slide contains less than 20 words).

And one more thing: remember not to read your slides. This is something people can do without your help. Talk only about what really matters, using your slides more as a guide of what you need to tell people about.

#11. Support Your Presentation with Evidence
If you have positive customer feedback – that’s great, use it at the end of your presentation. Specific numbers are also a good point to add. All this can help you impress your audience. However, do not focus only on numbers – a good presentation is more like a story containing a good balance between words and numbers.

#12. Practice Your Pitch
This one is very simple, yet very important. As soon as your pitch deck is ready, practice it for many times. Actually, the more times you do that to memorize your presentation, the more chances are that you’ll sound spontaneous – and that’s what makes your presentation complete.  

13. Anticipate Possible Questions
If your presentation is good, get ready for the investors wanting to know more about your product. Leave some time after your presentation for the investors to ask some questions. And for sure, be ready to answer them. Think of all the questions that might be asked and prepare your answers. Again, make sure they don’t sound like a memorized text. 😉

#14. Prepare Emails to Send
Finally, think beforehand of your follow-ups – the emails to send to investors after the meeting. This is not only a good way to notify them on your product’s updates, but also another chance to pull their attention to your project if you haven’t received the desired response. Some investors might take their time and  want to collaborate with you later – just keep trying

Final Thoughts
Remember, the ultimate goal of your pitch deck is not about showing how cool and well-prepared you are. It’s all about making investors think you are worth talking with further.

Moreover, keep in mind that getting rejections in the very beginning is inevitable. The good thing about it is that every failure is an opportunity to improve your pitch and eventually hit the needed investors.

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