A SaaS startup can become a successful company. However, to attract investors, it is necessary to present your project as promising and potentially profitable confidently. Keep your head over for further insights: below, you will find a wealth of valuable information on how to make investors see the same growth opportunities that you envision.
Understanding Your Audience: Investors
When investing in your SaaS enterprise, it’s important for the investor to understand what they can earn alongside you. The SaaS industry is rapidly evolving, and such products attract those who are accustomed to spotting opportunities in the early stages and are oriented toward startups with high growth potential.
Profiling investors: Their goals and what they look for in a SaaS startup
Investors come in various forms: venture capitalists, corporate, and individuals — each of them requires a tailored approach because each seeks answers to different questions in your proposal and presentation.
The importance of targeting the right kind of investor for your SaaS niche
Considering that investors are looking for specific propositions, you should also target those who are most likely to be interested in your product. Choose those who have experience in this industry, understand your mission and values, and share similar interests with you. In that case, you can expect a long and fruitful collaboration.
The Four Pillars of a Winning Pitch
The term “Pitch” originated from the sales field, but it can be useful in fundraising for your project as well. In sales, this term is essentially an abbreviation:
- P — Problem-solving. You need to demonstrate how your product addresses specific issues, why it will be beneficial to consumers, and why it has the potential to become popular.
- I — Inspire. Share your main goal and how you plan to achieve it.
- T — Tailor it to the audience. Show why your consumers need your product. If in the first point, you demonstrated a “pain-relief” approach, in this point, you need to expand on it, with a focus on the specific characteristics of your potential audience and market.
- C — Concise. You should explain how you can be in the right place at the right time. In other words, you must explain how your product will be readily available to customers when needed.
- H — Heart. Add a touch of emotion because even in the world of business, emotional moments are crucial.
To perfect this scheme, Whitepage agency recommends adhering to four main aspects that you should include in your presentation.
Describe the SaaS solution you intend to bring to the market, talk about its unique selling points (USPs) and advantages, and create a comparative table with competitors’ products (if any exist in your niche).
From lyrical to specific, your next step is to demonstrate the broad market your product is targeting, its potential, and how feasible it is to scale. If in the first point, you introduced the investor to the product itself, in the second stage, you need to present your consumer and how you will satisfy their needs.
To avoid being speculative, support all the data mentioned above with key performance indicators (KPIs) and demonstrate the current level of audience engagement. You will also need reviews and market research that can confirm your achievements and the potential of your existing business model and product.
You may believe in your product and know that you offer the best solutions in the market, but this may not be so obvious to your investor. Outline the prospects you see and the development paths you intend to take. Such a roadmap will help realistically assess how financial support allows you to navigate this route faster and earn more. Explain how you plan to scale, enter new markets, expand your range of SaaS solutions, and more.
Financial Projections and Business Model
Communicate with investors using the language of numbers and real financial indicators that you are already demonstrating and plan to show according to forecasts. Include the following key details in your financial forecast:
- Projected revenues for each type of service or product, as well as the overall figures for the month, quarter, and year. Plan realistically, taking into account seasonality and other factors that may affect profitability.
- Discuss expenses, categorizing them into areas such as salaries, marketing, rent, equipment procurement, tax payments, and more.
- Based on the previous two points, develop a forecast regarding the company’s net profit.
When planning the company’s budget, it’s worth showing investors your assumptions about additional project financing sources. In addition to investor funds, these sources could include bank loans, venture capital, funds from angel investors, and more.
The financial forecast should reflect a realistic picture of the balance between income and expenses, but it should also account for unforeseen circumstances and potential for growth under favorable conditions. Therefore, creating two financial forecasts — one optimistic and one based on worst-case scenarios — can provide a more objective view, with the realistic scenario falling somewhere in between.
The example of forecasting mentioned above is the simplest and most straightforward. To optimize your indicators to align with the actual state of your company, it is recommended to use more advanced financial planning tools:
- Time series analysis allows you to forecast future indicators based on previous short-term reports. For example, a forecast for the next three months could be based on the indicators the company demonstrated for three consecutive months leading up to a specific date.
- Moving averages help evaluate past indicators, identify patterns, and incorporate them into the forecast for the next period.
- Multiple or linear regression is an analytical method that takes into account sales and profit trendlines. It allows you to assess the company’s current state, product margins, and key trends over time, which are essential factors for business profitability.
Don’t forget to describe key elements such as your product distribution method (subscription models, free plans, etc.), customer acquisition cost (CAC), and customer lifetime value (LTV), as these figures will help support your forecasts based on real data.
The Team Behind the Startup
Your team matters because the reliability, expertise, and even recognizability of your team members are crucial for overcoming obstacles, addressing technical issues, and implementing marketing strategies with ease.
Harvard Business Review, in their publication, considers a professional team to be perhaps the most important element of a startup’s success. The experience of each team member becomes a valuable asset for the company, opening up new opportunities and prospects while serving as the foundation for growth. According to the article’s authors, even more critical is the seamless collaboration of all team members who share the same vision and adhere to the same strategy. This leads to the efficiency and productivity of the team and, therefore, the project’s overall success.
On the other hand, Entrepreneur compares the team to an anchor that helps the ship stay afloat in any storm. They advise investors to carefully analyze not only financial reports and forecasts but, more importantly, the internal processes within the company and how strong and cohesive the startup’s core team is. Research shows that even a brilliant idea can fail without a team capable of adapting to market conditions, withstanding challenges, and swiftly recognizing new opportunities.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching
Now, you know what to do and what not to do. Let’s take a closer look at what not to do: the typical mistakes that can hinder your project’s fundraising efforts.
- Inaccurate market assessment is the primary and most common mistake in entrepreneurs’ presentations. Some startup owners overestimate the market and their potential within it, creating unrealistic expectations for investors. Others underestimate the market’s size, miss out on potential funding, or secure less than they could.
- Unwillingness to discuss competitors, their advantages, products, and offerings can be a stumbling block. To demonstrate why your product is better, unique, more promising, and potentially more profitable, you must know your strengths and everything about your competitors, showcasing where you have significant advantages.
- Vague, uncertain financial forecasts cannot inspire investors to invest their funds in your venture. If you cannot offer clarity and transparency during the forecasting stage, it can pose a serious problem in the future. Put yourself in the investor’s shoes: would you want to invest a substantial budget in a venture that is evolving under an unpredictable scenario?
Failing to conduct preliminary research, excluding the emotional component from your presentation, and lacking well-thought-out exit strategies and backup development strategies are also harmful. You can read about these and other mistakes in detail in Forbes’ article.
Closing Your Pitch: The Ask
Now, it’s time to get to the point. You’ve laid out the roadmap, ideas, prospects, opportunities, and other factors. However, the main purpose of the meeting with investors is to state a specific amount of money you need to bring all your plans to life and make the startup successful. Help investors understand exactly how much you need, how you plan to use it, and when it will start generating a stable profit (and, consequently, dividend payments).
Be consistent, clear, and fact-driven, but don’t forget to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the project. Prepare in advance for the meeting: create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your product, analyze competitors, compile financial forecasts, and clearly define the amount of investment you need for the project’s further development. With this approach, you can make others believe in your startup just as much as you do.