A Quick Guide to Investor Meetings

November 2, 2020

For startups, the connections built during the F10 programs can be the door-opener to establish long-term relationships with investors. Maximilian Spelmeyer, Senior Investment Manager Venture Capital at SIX FinTech Ventures, provides the F10 startups with tips on how to get ready for investor meetings.

The past months have been intense and unpredictable. Startupsall over the world had to find new ways to react to a changing environment,enhance their customer base and build partnerships. To help the startups in theF10 ecosystem get ready for investor meetings, Maximilian Spelmeyer shares practical tips on the preparation, pitch content and meeting structure. Max is a senior investment manager at SIX FinTech Ventures, a 50 million CHF corporate venture capital fund thatinvests in early-stage startups that make a difference for the Swiss financialcentre. “The scope of investment is concentrated in the DACH region and the EU –but opportunistic beyond that. Typical investment size is between 1 and 1.5 million CHF. We also start quite small at 250’000 CHF with the ambition to be an active andlong-term committed investor, taking a role in the startup’s board and supportingfuture financing rounds”, Max explains. With the corporate VC fund, SIX focuseson small and highly scalable companies that can grow on their own. A recentinvestment was the Zurich-based startup PXL Vision, with SIX Fintech Ventures leading a 4.6 million CHF seed round with the German High-Tech Gründerfonds, Arab Bank andwell-known business angels. Another investment wasgranted to Yokoy (formerly Expense Robot): the F10 startup received a 1.7 million CHF seed round co-lead by SIX Fintech Ventures and Swisscom Ventures. PXL Vision participated in the F10 Incubation Program in Zurich while Yokoy was one of the post-seed startups in thefirst batch of the F10 Acceleration Program in Zurich.

“Before the meeting, make sure you understand the investors’ strategy. This includes ticket size, geographical area, industry, stage, and investment thesis”, Max advises the F10 startups. Conduct a thorough research on potential investors to learn what they are looking for. “Many Startups lose time by contacting high numbers of investors without considering if it is truly a match”, says Max. Many investment experts recommend working with no more thantwo VC investors. This increases the probability of high commitment and fruitful investor relations. During the first meeting, you should focus on establishing a relationship: “Most of the time, the investor has already had alook at your pitch deck before inviting you to the first interview which meansthere is an initial interest from the investor in your idea. Take the chance atthe beginning of the meeting and ask why the investor was interested in your startup.This helps establish a deeper connection and learn more about your meetingpartner’s intentions”, Max explains.

Show that your startup is addressing a relevant problem

The heart piece of your pitch should be a demonstration ofhow your solution solves a problem and benefits the customer. “Do not deep divetoo much on every feature of your solution”, Max recommends. “Relevance is key:show that your startup is addressing a current problem and explain how you are solving it. Nice-to-have products or niche solutions are often not relevantenough to receive VC funding. Once the investors recognize that you are solving a relevant problem, they will be more willing to invest in your venture.Technical details are often not decisive in the first meeting.” Entrepreneurswho spent months exploring market opportunities, developing their product, and testing hypotheses should not assume that investors automatically have in-depth knowledge about their markets and the problem the startup is tackling. "Emphasize that the market is huge and link the driver of your business model that makesit scalable to the market", Max says. Besides addressing the problem-solution fit, founders should include relevant financials, a sales pipeline and use of funds in their pitch deck. “It is not recommended to state a pre-money valuation in your deck as that might scare away investors before you had the opportunity to speak to them in person” Max states. “For most investors, especially in early-stage deals, the team is the most important factor when deciding on a deal. Avoid losing the chance to convince with your personality.”

After your pitch, ask for feedback as true collaborationincludes being open for other perspectives. An article by the platform “Entrepreneur” claims that many successful entrepreneurs “are not only good at sharing information and ideas, they are also often eager for the opinionsand reviews of others and include the best ideas of others into their ownthinking. While it may be possible to unearth a brilliant idea by yourself,getting from inspiration to implementation as a team of one is a very unlikely path.” Especially in the first stages of founding a startup, it is essential to get feedback on your ideas from potential customers and investors. Identify the areas in which the investor could support your startup and add value. Regardless of whether it is a virtual or a physical meeting, you should always agree onthe next steps before leaving. Following up on the meeting is crucial. According to an article on startup fundraising by “Forbes”, it is “almost impossible to receive a check after your first investor meeting. You will need to follow up and build a relationship with the investor so thatyou get to generate trust and eventually receive the investment that you are seeking.” Send your investor pitch deck and further documents requested duringthe meeting when reaching out to the investors after the meeting.

F10 believes that the fastest route to innovation lies inearly collaboration between startups, incumbents, and investors. With the F10 Acceleration Program, we bring post-seed FinTech, RegTech, InsurTech and DeepTechstartups together with major banks as well as insurance companies and provide introductions to investors. We are currently accepting applications to the second batch of the F10 Acceleration Program in Zurich starting in February 2021. Teams accepted into the three-month program benefit from access to senior executives of the F10 Corporate Partners, the opportunity to conduct pilot projects with selected members of the F10 ecosystem, 1:1 investor meetings and tailored coaching. Apply nowto take the fast track to scaling!

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