Around May 2020almost everything went online, and investment talks were among the first to do so.
The entire startup financing environment shifted overnight. For many companies that did their business online, the move to online was not a shock. However, a majority of VC firms only used an offline approach.
It’s impossible for founders to “read the room” when pitching online, putting them at a serious disadvantage. Research by Chia-Jung Tsay, a professor at the UCL School of Management, found that people could reliably predict which entrepreneurs would receive funding based solely on physical cues from the founders, such as body language, facial expressions and stage presence.
Essentially, this new pitching model poses a new problem for founders: it’s critical to capture investor attention, but it’s also more challenging than ever before. This is where the “teaser trailer” can work in favor of a startup.
If investors can’t understand the teaser without comment, more work is needed.
At Flint Capital we listen to about 1,500 online pitches per year. After hearing 15,000 pitches in 10 years, I have some idea how to effectively create and use teasers that founders may find valuable when pitching online.
Why is a teaser so important?
It prepares your contact person for the big presentation.
Every good pitch starts before the pitch. It is always preferable to have a trusted contact, such as another investor or portfolio company founder, who can recommend you to the investors before meeting them.
In my experience, about 85% of deals closed are the result of a pitch from a featured founder. This means that on a first acquaintance, the founder must give his contact person this teaser to stimulate the investors.
You can see this as an extension of your elevator pitch. Since we don’t get the same face-to-face meeting opportunities, this way founders can grab the attention of investors.
It gives you a proactive role in the pitching process
In most cases, investors will ask you for an overview of your idea before the first online pitch call. Putting together a teaser trailer ahead of time will give you the chance to shine in your first impression on VCs.
Add things that pique the interest of investors and make them wonder how you can make this idea work. Have them think things like, “This is an unusual number. I wonder how they came to this conclusion?” However, be careful not to dramatize too much, as this can be off-putting.
It gives you the selling advantage of steadily building interest!
Remember the adage of selling: “You have 30 seconds to buy three minutes.”