Nothing is more instrumental for the startup success than being a ready reckoner of information.
Doing your homework before meeting an investor improves possibilities for investments. Every investor is human. Investing in startup is more an art than science. There are no formulas or algorithm. Decisions are driven by gut once they hear the startup pitch. The purpose of every meetings is to say enough to get the investor to want to take a next meeting with you. It should say something insightful, or be intriguing to the investor so that they are drawn in and want to know more.
There is no scientific study on below list or it's a comprehensive list nor it's foolproof list. It is through my personal journey and experience.
Nailing your short pitch or one-liner is an important part of the fundraising
Talking about the startup vision
- What’s your story? Why did you pick this idea to work on?
- What’s unique about what you are building?
- What problem is this solving?
- Is this a vitamin or a pain killer?
- Are you open to changing your value proposition? We have seen similar ideas before what else do you have?
- So, what are you working on? What challenges are you facing?
Your team's past successes helps paint a picture of excellence
Why you are type A founders, an unstoppable team?
- Who are your mentors, advisory board?
- What is the domain expertise of each founders?
- How is your cap-table structured?
- Do you have founders agreement and ESOP options?
- Can you take us through the founders profile, domain expertise?
- What is the current salary of founders? What will be the salary after funding round?
- How much cash investment has been done by founders?
- How much are founders' personal expenses each month?
- What is the founders' family background?
- How many people are in the team and what are their roles?
- Who is leading what role in the company? Who will be the CEO?
- How did the founders meet, whose idea was this and why other founders agreed on the vision?
- Are any of the founders willing to relocate if required?
- How do we know that founders will stick together as team for long term?
- What’s the biggest mistake you have made?
- Tell us about a tough problem you as team could overcome?
- What’s the worst thing that has happened after you chose this project?
- What’s an impressive thing you have done as a team?
Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.
Share the hiring plan
- What roles would you like to hire for in the short term?
- Do you recognize the skill gap in your team?
- How big is your team currently?
- What are your views on outsourcing?
Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it
Explain the Market Opportunity and Validation
- What is your buyers profile? Who needs your product or service?
- How big is the market opportunity? Share the TAM, SAM, SOM
- What is your target geography? What is the plan for expansion?
- What is your beachhead, key focus target area?
- How did you validate your idea/product/service?
- How are you understanding customer needs?
- What product offering you will begin with and why?
Success is always a matter of some luck and timing.
Your views on the timing to build this business
- Why others are not doing it
- Why is this the right time for this product and market?
- What risks do you see for your business? What is the mitigation plan?
- Why this hasn't worked before?
Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.
Share the details on the Product Offerings & IP
- What stage is the product at? What is the next step in product evolution?
- What is the product roadmap? What are the major product milestones?
- What is the secret sauce, the IP here?
- Do you hold or have you applied for patents for your product/service?
- How is the customer response to the early version of the product?
- Can you show a live demonstration of the product or Can you share samples?
- What is that one feature you are proud or and stands out against competition?
- Does this product require training or its self service?
- How many product SKUs are there and share the unit economics of each?
We have to keep winning and looking good and keep fighting the best competition out there.
Information on Competition Lanscape
- Who are the existing players in the market? What competition do you fear most?
- How are your key competitors perceived in the market?
- In future who else can become a competitor? Why would big players not do it?
- Compare yourself to competition on a product feature to feature matrix, people, funding and size?
- What would stop someone else/competitors from doing what you are doing?
A moat is a distinct advantage a company has over its competitors which allows it to protect its market share
Share your Competitive Advantage
- What is the moat, barriers to entry?
- What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
- What do you know about this space/product others don’t know?
- How different is your go to market strategy?
- Does your pricing gives you an edge or competitive advantage?