Leveraging Simulation for your Funding Pitch — Building a Strong Startup

startup funding pitchIf you do a quick Google search, you will find many articles and resources that offer tips on creating a solid funding pitch. For the purpose of this blog, I am referencing Chance Barnett, CEO of CrowdFunder, who has raised millions in angel and venture capital, and seen thousands of company pitches on his company’s website. (You can find all his recommendations and download his pitch deck template.)

But, I want to highlight how an entrepreneur could add simulation to their pitch deck to strengthen their message and add credibility to the proposed project.

Barnett’s Suggested Funding Pitch Deck Outline

Most sources will tell you how important it is to have a concise, thought-out message, but Barnett takes this a step further:  The goal of your funding pitch is to open investors’ minds to your vision and create excitement, not necessarily to close an immediate investment. To understand where simulation can be most valuable in your pitch, we first need to look at a pitch approach. Let’s examine Barnett’s pitch deck outline:

  1. Elevator Pitch
  2. Momentum, Traction, Expertise (your key numbers)
  3. Market Opportunity (define market size and customer base)
  4. Problem & Current Solutions (what need do you fill and what other solutions exist)
  5. Product or Service (your solution)
  6. Business Model (key revenue streams)
  7. Market Approach & Strategy (how you grow your business)
  8. Team & Key Stakeholders (investors and advisors)
  9. Financials
  10. Competition
  11. Investment (your “ask” for funding and your basic use of funds)

Additionally, he provides the following as optional slide topics:

  1. Exit Strategy
  2. Partnership Agreements
  3. Product or Service Demo
  4. Existing Sales and Clients
  5. Your “Special Sauce”

Leverage Simulation Software to Illustrate Your Product

Barnett recommends that on slide 5 of your funding pitch, when you are highlighting your product, you should use images instead of text. Text doesn’t tell a story the same way an image does. It has been proven time and time again that visual content reaches our brains in a faster and more understandable way than text.

As humans, we are hardwired to recognize images. In fact, 90 percent of the information that reaches our brains is visual. There is no better time to capitalize on this than when you are trying to pitch an idea to someone. Simulation software can help entrepreneurs do just that. It helps you to create a true virtual prototype that you can showcase for investors, proving that you have thought through the details, requirements and needs of your physical product.

A simulation image changes an idea into a potential reality because it displays all the benefits and details you are describing as they could exist in the real world. There is no better place to display a simulation image than on your product slide. Additionally, using an industry-leading software that major companies use every day will give you credibility with investors.

Prove Your Concept with a Product Demo in your Funding Pitch

One of the optional slides referenced is a product demo, which can answer many investor questions centered around “how” your product will work.  Why not address these by showing your potential investors a video of your product working in real life situations? Simulation software enables you to test your virtual prototype in different conditions and situations, with different materials. It also lets you record the product in action when conditions and materials change, so you can remove potential concerns around product feasibility. What better way to prove that your solution is viable than showing it at work?

Some companies lose thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars, investing in physical prototypes and testing, which waste time and money. The longer an investor has to wait to see a return, the riskier the investment becomes. Simulation gives you the opportunity to stand out and showcase how you can reduce your time to market, beat your competition, and save valuable money by decreasing the number of physical prototypes needed.

Resources at Your Fingertips

Presentations to gain funding can be make or break moments for entrepreneurs, so it is important to get them right. There are a variety of ways that startups can gain access to resources. Many entrepreneurs are choosing to work with an incubator, accelerator or university. Another valuable option is to take the time to learn about the ANSYS Startup Program and how you can leverage it to help your business (and ideas) grow.

simulation-driven-product-development

As you can see from the image above, simulation driven product development can have a huge impact on your development phase. Companies across the world know this and are using simulation driven product evolution, but as a startup you can leverage simulation from the beginning. By doing this, you will realize the benefits at a point where timeline and expense has never been more important to you.