Startup CEO Series: The 5 Best Ways B2B Startups Secure Investors and Increase Funding
Having a great idea, talented team and tons of motivation are great (and necessary) for a startup at any stage, but if you want your startup to succeed, you need to secure funding – a task that is far easier said than done.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to stand out in the sea of startups and win investments:
1. Know Your Product and Why it Stands Out
The most important thing is to know your product – that doesn’t just mean knowing what your main features are, but go beyond the quick scope and truly know the limitations, capabilities and future potential of your product. Having a clear breakdown of your distinct key features will let you attract potential investors who are looking for a unique product that will be scalable and succeed in the long run. Mapping out your product will also help you build the roadmap for future development and showcase future company value. Having a clearly identifiable main feature (MVP) is key to securing investment. Without a distinct advantage, it will be much harder to convince Venture Capitalists and Investors your startup is worthwhile.
2. Have a Prototype (that works)
Once you have your MVP and a clear understanding of your relative advantage in the vertical you operate in, the next step to secure investment is to create a working prototype. Presentations and pitches can only take you so far – if you are looking to secure the investment needed to take your startup to the next level, invest early resources in a prototype that can proves your idea is feasible.
3. Launch a (successful) PoC
The next step needed in order to win investments and increase the likelihood of funding is launching a PoC – and not just any PoC – a successful PoC. This is always the most complex stage for startups since the PoC process tends to be a chicken-and-egg situation; enterprises won’t talk to you without a PoC, and you cannot prove your product without trying it out on an enterprise.
In the past, this skill depended largely on the ability of the CEO of VP Business Development of a company to schmooze CTO’s at large enterprises at networking events, however today there is an alternative that not only simplifies the PoC process, but also bypasses the need to waste money and attend networking events, to put the focus back on the product – that solution is prooV – the only Pilot-as-a-Service platform that instantly connects startups and enterprises, bypassing the middlemen and going straight to what matters – the PoC.
On the prooV platform, enterprises integrate one time to the prooV testing environment and are instantly able to attract dozens of startups to their PoC opportunity. Startups, on their end, just find the relevant PoC that fits their products capabilities and within minutes can see if their product is a match for the enterprise. If the first PoC didn’t yield a successful result? No big deal – there are hundreds of requests for PoC’s on prooV for startup to engage with.
4. Fine Tune Your Monetization Plan
Once you find the right fit and you complete a successful PoC, it’s time to focus on monetizing your product and building a business plan that showcases the revenue generation capabilities of your product. Since investors are in the business of making money, a clear way to improve your chances of investment is by showcasing your monetization plan and capabilities. Unless you have a product that instantly gains traction (in which case you don’t have to worry about proving monetization – investors will come to you) you need to figure out how to monetize your product in order to lure investors.
5. Perfect your Pitch
Once you have completed steps 1 through 4, it’s time to focus on marketing your product to investors. Build a simple but powerful pitch deck that details your MVP, showcases the key information about your successful PoC, and briefly outlines your monetization plan to present to investors. While you may be tempted to assume your achievements stand for themselves, it’s important to remember that you still have to sell your startups to investors.