Pitching to investors is intimidating at best, devastating at worst. Founders can spend hours building just the right presentation. But the reality is, potential investors really only need to see one thing. Veteran tech entrepreneur and investor Hamid Shojaee told April 2021 PHX Startup Week attendees that in order to be successful at fundraising, all you need to show is growth.
Phoenix tech founder Clate Mask agrees. “In software, growth rate is everything,” he says on a recent episode of AZ Tech Podcast. Mask is co-founder and CEO of Keap, formerly known as Infusionsoft, and has raised his fair share of capital.
There are several ways to demonstrate growth, and the most obvious is increasing revenue. But you can also show growth with an increasing number of customers, subscriptions, leads or hours the product has been used.
In all the time you spend building your pitch deck, don’t forget to include what Hamid refers to as the most important slide.
This slide may be what all investors need to see in order to be convinced. If you can demonstrate promising growth, “investors will throw money at you,” Shojaee says.
Understanding and tracking your company’s growth rate is essential when pitching your company, but it’s also good practice for dealing with investors down the road.
“It’s super important for software founders to understand this: When you raise capital, you have investors and they require a certain growth rate,” says Mask.
Mask learned that lesson the hard way while he was sidelined as CEO of Keap — his own company — by investors on his board after the company saw a negative growth rate under his watch.
“If you aren’t delivering that growth rate and you’re the CEO, generally one of two things happen. They either fire you or they put you into a different role.”
Showing increasing growth is one of the most important things you can do to convince investors to write a check.