Top Tips series: 5 tips for pitching to an investor

This article is part of a series of blogs offering our tops tips on surviving the process of raising impact investment. Investment raising is difficult and time consuming, and the process can seem daunting if it’s your first time.  We have written this series of blogs as a way to share some insight in to what impact investors are looking for.


NII_icons_RGB-03Raising early stage investment is difficult, there is no doubt about that.  In Silicon Valley one in every 100 business plans read by a VC receives investment.  For a startup looking to raise investment, this must be quite a scary statistic.

Similarly, at Nesta Impact Investments, we have received hundreds of applications for investment and only a small percentage meets our interest – 4% to be exact!  Since launching Nesta Impact Investments in November 2012 we have read approximately 300 business plans, probably met with about 25% of these, and pitched 12 investment opportunities to our investment committee.

So with only a 1-4% chance of securing investment and the pitch being your way in (no pressure!), here are our top 5 tips for pitching to an investor:

1. Keep it simple

Try to present your venture in a clear and concise way.  The next step is for us to pitch the company on your behalf – so make it easy for us.

2. People matter

In early stage investments we are backing people to deliver on their plan.  Some ventures we look at don’t have a track record – but the founders will.  Tell us about you and your co-founders upfront – don’t leave this till the last slide.

3. Show the passion

Don’t hold back on showing us your passion for what you’re doing.  If you’re not excited about it, the chances are we won’t be either.  Explain the need for the product you are building and why it will exist far into the future.

4. Be concise

We want to hear your pitch and have time afterwards to ask questions that will really help us understand you and your business.  If you have a one hour meeting, then a 15-20 minute pitch is ideal, but  a pitch that lasts 30-45 minutes will limit the time we have – and probably our concentration span.

5. Do your homework.  

Know what the investor you are pitching to is looking for and tailor your pitch.  As an impact investor we prioritise social impact, so we look for compelling pitches that convince us not only that an entrepreneur can create a thriving business but also that he or she can transform millions of lives.

Pitching can seem scary, but these five tips will hopefully calm your nerves!

By Katie Mountain – Nesta Impact Investments 

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