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  • Writer's pictureAnna Mazarsky

What's love got to do with your startups fundraising?

Have you ever been in love?

The tingling feeling across all major nerve channels; the accelerated heartbeat; the constant longing to meet again and be in the presence of one another; and the complete disregard of all the drawbacks that are there but not seen by you?

True, that's a great feeling, I know. And you know what? Most startup founders experience just that with their companies and their solutions. This passion is an essential aspect of the preliminary drive and the ability to create something from nothing, and it's beautiful! However, when it comes to presenting the idea to potential investors and getting them (and their checkbook) on board – this passion for the technology is not enough.

After working with over 600 startups and helping them raise over $60m, I realized something about what makes or breaks a pitch. And it is so simple on the one hand, but soooooo overlooked on the other. And this is the answer to the question, "what's your story?"

Yes, everything becomes part of the story when you're in love. Usually, the approach is, "why wouldn't they want to fund me – just look at the beauty of my technological solution and all its remarkable details!"

And though you are correct in your way of thinking, you still need to get someone else, an outsider, to fall in love with you and your company too. And here's where you need to become a successful storyteller.

Telling a compelling story is essential for any startup founder looking to make an impact on potential investors. A well-crafted pitch deck should be the primary vehicle to do this. Still, without the correct storytelling elements, the deck may fall flat. Therefore, it's critical to include one key element in your pitch deck: storytelling. By utilizing storytelling techniques, you'll be able to present your business in a way that will captivate investors and leave them wanting to learn more about your startup.

What is a story?

Stories have been told since the dawn of mankind and remain one of our favorite pastimes. From childhood stories to modern-day movies, storytelling can entertain, educate, and inspire.

We all use stories to make sense of our lives, form lasting memories, and understand the world around us.

A story is more than just entertainment, however.

It is a powerful tool for connecting with people, eliciting emotion, and driving action. Storytelling is vital to any successful pitch deck in the startup fundraising world.

Whether you are delivering a roadshow presentation or managing investor relations, a compelling story can make the difference between failure and success.

The components of any successful story include a clear beginning, middle, and end.

The opening should establish an emotional connection with the audience and set up the context for the story. The middle should draw out the story's main theme and focus on the protagonist's journey. Lastly, the ending should provide closure and leave a lasting impression on your listener. By following this structure, you can ensure that your story resonates with your audience (i.e., the potential investors) and drives them to take action (i.e., invest with you).

A good story helps turn numbers and data into something relatable and makes an emotional impact.

Stories give potential investors a picture of what you are trying to achieve and your journey to get there. With a great story, it is easier for them to understand how your startup differs from other investments they have seen and why they should invest with you. With a good story, it can be easier to show how your startup stands out and how it will benefit the investor.

When creating the story for your pitch deck, ensure it's

(1) simple enough to keep investors interested; and

(2) provides them with enough detail so they can better understand your vision and solution.

How to integrate a good story into your pitch deck?

Start by focusing on the customer and their pain, their problems, rather than your product and its technicalities. Instead of just giving facts and figures, you can tell the story of your potential customer and how your product solves their problem.

Make your audience feel the customers' pain before having your solution – and their happiness after experiencing your solution.

Incorporating names and people in the story rather than just numbers or "dry facts" will help bring the story to life and engage your audience. Remember to use pictures, visuals, and videos to illustrate your story further and make it even more engaging.

Finally, don't forget to paint the big picture – describe how the world will look thanks to your solution. Your goal is to get investors excited about what you are proposing and believe in your vision for success.

At the end of the day, everybody wants to experience the feeling of being in love.

Through storytelling, you too can help your potential investors feel what you feel and see what you see, create a meaningful connection with them, and get them onboard your dream boat.

So, can you tell me – what's your story?

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