How to pitch effectively when your pharmaceutical business needs new investment
By Ben Jones, AberInnovation
If you have new business in the pharmaceutical sector there will inevitably be stages when you need to pitch for further investment.
This can be a tough process. Investors and business angels hear a great many pitches and a good rule of thumb to bear in mind is that only 1 in 10 pitches are deemed investable propositions.
Investors rarely hold back and will soon tell you if they’re not interested. That said, promising ideas are funded all the time, and the accelerator and incubator models that culminate in pitches for investment are becoming ubiquitous.
How can you prepare the best pitch and impress your potential investors?
Keep your focus
Presenters can sometimes think that a longer pitch makes them sound more knowledgeable and credible. On the contrary, the best pitches will get straight to the point and not waste time by meandering or beating around the bush.
You’ll need to hit all the key points of course, but the extra stuff is often best conveyed during the Q&A that follows. Investors like to be a part of proceedings and love to talk, so give them the opportunity to. Being able to have a conversation with potential investors as opposed to delivering a one-way pitch will endear you to them and quickly build rapport.
Put in the practice
You really do need to commit to rehearsing and fine-tuning your pitch. We’ve seen many BioAccelerate participants come on leaps and bounds over the course of an accelerator programme only to come unstuck at the final pitch day because they haven’t practiced enough. It’s a shame to make all those great strides and then not stick the landing because of something so avoidable.
There are no ways around it: you’ll need to deliver the pitch a few times before the real thing takes place in front of investors. Good accelerator and incubator programmes should allow times for rehearsals with your cohort peers to get you used to presenting to an audience. If not, make sure you practice on your own or with friends.
Tell a compelling story
While your facts, figures and forecasts are important, try to avoid delivering a forensic, dispassionate pitch lacking emotion or personality.
To really engage your audience, you need to tell a compelling story. This will make your pitch memorable and in addition, a story that conveys your background, your inspiration, your expertise and your passion will also sell you. Remember, investors are investing in you or your team as much as your business idea, so any rapport you can build will stand you in good stead.
Master the relevant details
While potential investors will know a lot about the business world in general, it’s highly likely that they won’t know much about the specific sector that you’re seeking to disrupt. They will want and expect you to know your industry inside out.
This will include having information on the market size, market value, competitors in the same space and prospective customers to hand. In short, you need to come across as the expert in the room to inspire their confidence in you and your product or service.
Keep the exit in mind
A common mistake is to neglect offering a compelling and attractive exit to investors. Having worked on something for so long and become so emotionally invested, it’s easy to forget that investors won’t have the same attachment to your new product or service. They’ll want to know how you plan to monetise your product, and, deliver a return on their investment. Startups can sometimes get so seduced by their own dazzling new product that they cannot possibly conceive of there ever being an ‘exit’, but failure to show due consideration here is a mistake.
It’s always worth bearing in mind therefore that while you may have developed the product for a variety of reasons, an investor’s primary concern will be maximising his or her returns over an acceptable timeframe.
Standing in front of investors to pitch your business for investment is something most people find stressful. So, hold onto the fact that, if successful, it can change the trajectory of your business and take the time you need to prepare.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ben Jones is from AberInnovation. Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AberInnovation) provides world-leading facilities and expertise within the biotechnology, agri-tech, and food and drink sectors. Set in stunning scenery between the Cambrian Mountains and the Irish Sea, the £40.5m Campus offers an ideal environment for business and academic collaboration to flourish. https://aberinnovation.com/
For more information about BioAccelerate: https://aberinnovation.com/en/our-community/bioaccelerate/