In this week’s blog, we’re going to look at the key items that investors look for in a successful MedTech idea pitch. As you may remember from our past two blogs, we highlighted how to ensure your idea can make it to market, and how you can use this guidance when you look for funding to make your product.
First, let’s cover why it is so important to do your research on the target market, your target users and your competition: VCs or other funding bodies will want to know this information in very fine detail and you can’t “wing it”. The people listening to your pitch hear similar pitches day in and day out, so they will probably know more about this market than you can ever find out. As a result, you need to show them you’ve done the due diligence on your idea. Make sure you can really demonstrate the value your new idea brings to the markets that they know.
Once you’ve got this set of answers down (and you can speak to them without any notes!), it’s worth thinking about the issues you’ve found during your research. Pointing out deficiencies in the idea or path to glory is actually a good thing to do up front. Hiding problems that will be discovered later, especially in the medical field, can lead to investors taking drastic action: including changing you out for a CEO of their choice – one they can trust. Investors are fully aware of the risks with new ideas, so don’t think they won’t invest in them, even if they see some problems up front.
Make sure you show up with a cohesive team set up and that the people presenting can do these key things well:
1. Push the vision
(why your idea is good and worth investing in)
2. Talk the technical talk
(how does the product work in detail)
3. Know about the special circumstances of the medical industry
(quality management, regulations, device classes, etc.)
4. Make the business case
(the easier to understand, the better)
If these are individual experts that are speaking in these distinct areas, then it is critical to show that they can work well together as investors often look at team cohesiveness as closely as the idea being pitched.
When it comes to the presentation itself, it can’t be stressed enough that you prepare, prepare, prepare! It’s surprising how many start-up companies show up at an investor pitch and read their slides as if it’s the first time they’ve seen them. Be ready to talk about your product with a set of pre-determined stories, but know that the investors will likely throw you off track when they ask a question out of your “pitch deck order”. Flexibility and agility in your presentation will show that you and your team know the detail of everything you need to show. It’s a great idea to pitch to anyone you know who has expertise (or doesn’t) in the areas of your idea and take their feedback critically to help you improve.
Finally, make sure you’re talking to the right people. Picking the investors you need to pitch to (versus those you simply want to pitch to), is a critical path to success. There’s no point spending time and energy on your best pitch ever, if the investor is not interested in that area of specialization or has a competing investment. The VC world is actually very small and many VCs know each other, so if you’re not sure, get in touch with a “friendly” one to see if they are willing to listen to your pitch and provide candid feedback. If the person isn’t willing to do so, ask if they know others who might be more amenable – and get an introduction! Don’t forget that most governments also provide funding for new ideas through public programs (e.g. America’s Seed Fund) – but you need to be ready to jump through hoops and meet submission deadlines to make this work.
Stay tuned for our next blog which focuses on technology and IP feasibility.