In 2021, venture investment in startups reached $621 billion – more than double what it was in 2020. This new downpour of funding is fueling innovators to pave the way for a better future.
We asked 300 founders if they were planning to raise funds in the next 12 months in early 2021, and 100% of them said “yes.”
Good news! Right?
Well, maybe. It takes time to raise capital. A lot of time.
Combine this with the fact that over half (56%) of startup founders also work in a full-time job, and you can virtually hear the stress levels rising!
What’s worse, is that while most founders are self-made and many come from accounting, marketing, or managerial backgrounds - rarely are startup founders also expert copywriters, professional designers, or world-class public speakers.
Why are those skills important?
Those are just a few of the things that startup founders must master in order to successfully pitch investors.
Not only are founders spending every waking hour building their own company while working in a full-time job, but they also have to somehow muster incredibly rare skillsets to be able to land that funding they so desperately seek!
Becoming a pitch deck expert and ace presenter is not exactly something that can be done overnight. Sometimes it can’t even be done over an entire career.
So, how do successful founders do it?
Startups across all fundraising stages (Seed, Series-A, etc) raise funds every two years on average.
Because of this, founders have no choice but to meet with and pitch sometimes dozens of investors if they want to land capital and grow their startup.
Trying to grow a startup without investment capital is like trying to fly a plane without wings.
Entrepreneurs who are self-made—that is, they bootstrapped their way to success—are a rare breed.
Investor meetings are a must.
But, just how many meetings does it take?
On average, founders conduct between 40 and 50 meetings to raise $1 million
Yes. By the end of those 50 meetings, founders are probably pretty good at pitching.
What about those early meetings though? How do founders prepare for those?
Public speaking can make anyone nervous.
There are lots of factors that one has to take into consideration when facing an audience, and every one of them is anxiety-inducing.
75% say public speaking is their number one fear
- National Institute of Mental Health
It can cause anyone to doubt themselves and often years of hard work and dedication.
Has all that risk been for nothing?
Unfortunately, it gets worse.
Even the multi-billion companies that we all know and love (or hate) were been rejected many, many times before they raised successfully.
It’s clear that founders have to endure a ton of polite slaps in the face before things start to go their way.
But is it really just a numbers game?
Is it okay to bomb the first 25 meetings?
Not really. Why?
One bad meeting can make an impression on the entire investor community.
If a startup has potential, they share it with their colleagues.
But if a pitch goes wrong... they share that too!
Even if a pitch was presented well, the possibility of a single question catching the startup team off-guard could create a lingering negative impression that could be spread to other investors.
Through many months of research, we’ve encountered many resources who are not afraid to point out founder mistakes.
If they blog about it, imagine what they say to fellow investors over drinks!
Alas. Like much of the news we read today, that story is fiction.
Instead, mere mortals must instead learn how to nail the pitch meeting.
We all dream to be cool, calm, collected, and confident.
But even excellent speakers like Steve Jobs rehearsed over 100x before opening their mouths on stage. And that’s actually a good thing. The fact that good public speaking comes from practice means that rarely are founders born as great speakers – they’re made through practice and rehearsal.
The actual pitch deck slides can be rehearsed, sure. Questions from investors? A different story altogether.
Investors are busy people too. if in the first few minutes of a meeting they realize the startup isn’t worth their time, they can easily cut a meeting short.
During a meeting, investors grill founders on nearly every element of their business to often test the founders’ expertise and knowledge.
Investing millions isn’t something that anyone does casually – especially not professional investors. This audience needs to be 100% confident in a startup and their team before they say “yes.”
The problem is there are a million different blog posts out there about “top 10 investor questions” and whatnot.
However, all those top 10 lists have different questions! So what the heck should founders rehearse?
It’s for this exact reason that STORY wanted to do some research to clear the waters for founders. Over the past few months, we collated, organized, and analyzed hundreds of investor questions and distilled them down into one, definitive investor Q&A guide.
We call it The Founder’s Cipher.
This 50+ page guide teaches founders the top investor questions they’ll be asked according to startup experts and investors. It’s the result of compiling, collecting, and analyzing a whopping 706 verified expert opinions. We then boiled them down into the top 135 questions and bucketed each of them into 16 categories.
“I bought the Founder's Cipher two days ago and so I'm glad to have it in my toolkit to prepare for my upcoming investor meetings!”
– Zack Doherty, Founder @ TrueVote
But, we believe that the more founders that have access to the tools they need to succeed, the more we’re all better off as a global society.
So, we’re only charging $37 bucks for it.
It costs less than a DoorDash delivery order for one and it’s a helluva lot tastier.
STORY Pitch Decks helps founders and entrepreneurs win the hearts and minds of investors through powerful pitch decks that land funding.
STORY’s founder, Keane Angle, is a multi-award-winning Fortune 500 advertising strategist turned pitch deck pro. Since 2018, we’ve produced stacks of Pre-seed, Seed, and Series-A pitch decks that have raised millions in funding at a rate that is 40x higher than the industry average.
Learn how to answer the 135 most common investor questions with this research-based guide.Buy PDF - $37
We ensure your deck has everything in it that investors look for so your startup can land more meetings more often.
We’ve written hundreds of decks since 2018; we know what works, what doesn’t, and how to embody the tone you’re going for.
For most startups, your brand begins with your pitch deck. We work with existing brands, and even create brand-new ones.
Sign up and get the knowledge you need to succeed.