You’ve launched your product, you have a basic website, and your early stage SaaS company is getting some traction. You’ve started the process for raising your Seed round, and you’re close to landing your first few investor meetings. Now it’s time to prepare.
This part of the fundraising process is absolutely crucial to get right. You only have one chance with each investor, so you need to be properly prepared with materials, proof points, objection handling and an extremely compelling story. If these meetings go well, you will likely get to a term sheet. So, we wanted to take a minute to help you prepare.
There are generally two investor meetings you need to be ready for: the Initial or Intro meeting and the Partner meeting. Let’s break them both down here.
The Initial/Intro meeting
The goal for your first meeting is to get a second meeting. It’s as simple as that. You need to sell your unique vision, the market opportunity, founder/market fit, and the most compelling things about your business.
The meeting will likely be 30 minutes, so you’ll need to figure out how to do this in a succinct way. Here are a few tips to help you maximize the time and make a strong first impression:
1. Do your research on the fund and partner(s) – like if they’ve invested in a competitor, if they are focused on a particular vertical this year, etc.
2. Use a deck to guide your discussion, and make sure it follows a story.
3. Send the deck ahead of time so that investors can come with questions, and it can more easily flow into an open dialogue instead of a stiff presentation.
4. Structure all of your initial meetings in the same way so that you get really good at it, and feel more confident as you meet with more investors.
5. Be confident and have clarity around why you’re building what you’re building, your unique perspective on the market, and why you are the right team to do it.
6. Focus on building trust by staying transparent, consistent, authentic, and doing what you say you will do.
7. Take notes on the questions they ask you as it will give you a sense of the risks that concern them… and then add these questions to your FAQ doc and build context for the questions into your pitch deck.
8. End the call/meeting with a clear understanding of what their process looks like, next steps, and timing.
9. Follow up with company updates to keep investors warm – such as new customers signed, new key hires, press, new investors, and lots more.
10. Set a deadline for a decision. This will build momentum and drive urgency.
Tips for Canadians! 🇨🇦
Yes, the Canadian market is different. So, if you’re pitching U.S. investors, you need to adapt your information and style to get the outcome you want. While these might seem obvious, they are often forgotten, and they are important.
- Ensure your deck is in U.S. dollars
- Use American terminology and American spelling
- Only call out your advisory board if you have a U.S. profile on it
- Be aware of differences in rounds, for example, 250K USD is considered a Seed round in Canada, while in the U.S. that amount would be considered an Angel round
- Ensure your go-to-market includes the U.S.
- Be confident! And be aggressive in terms of following up, again and again
The Second meeting
This meeting will be with a Partner at the fund and will be focused on any concerns they may have. For that reason, you should definitely try to determine their perceived risks ahead of the meeting based on the questions they asked in the first meeting. Then come prepared with proof points that mitigate those risks.
Here are the top five common perceived risks that you should prepare for:
1. Team compatibility: You’ll want to showcase that you have a strong team with the right skill sets, that work really well together, and will be able to work well together for a long time.
2. Team Growth: You’ll need to show that you have the ability to hire a strong team. Show them your clarity, conviction, and obsession for your business, because these are the things that will attract and retain a talented team.
3. The Market Opportunity: A clear path to $1B+ in revenue, what the company will look like at $100M in revenue, estimated Annual Contract Value, and what the large macro trend is that will enable your company to grow over the next 5-10 years.
4. Traction: Show your current customers and what they’re paying, as well as how you acquired them. Show your growing pipeline — the expected value of it and how it’s grown month over month. And show healthy early sales funnel metrics.
5. Product & Engineering: You’ll need to be able to clearly show that you can build the product you’re saying you plan to build (if you haven’t built it already), and that you have talent on the founding team to actually build it. Ideally, you have a demo to show.
You really only have one chance to get these meetings right, so take the time you need to properly prepare. If you need more time to get all your ducks in a row, take more time. And then go for it with confidence!
Applications for our Winter 2020 cohort are open! Apply today. Or, if you know an incredible founder in the B2B SaaS space that you’d like to see fast-tracked in our application process, please refer them to us! We’ll be reviewing these in Q4.