Depending on how you look at it, now is either a great or terrible time to be a startup. Across the U.S., in industries from healthcare to technology to retail, startups often stand on the forefront of major business and consumer innovation. According to PitchBook, almost $14 billion in venture capital was invested in American startups during Q3 2014, the second highest quarterly figure since the 2008 financial crisis.
At the same time, the pool of companies vying for these precious funding dollars is cramped. Fundable reports that more than half a million new startups are launched in the U.S. every month. Not surprisingly, these startups only raise around $78,000 in funding each year.
Given the startup world’s steep competition, companies must work that much harder to differentiate themselves from the pack, perfect their pitch and leave positive first impressions on investors. In many ways, the right conferencing technology can help startup hopefuls do just that.
1. Reach a bigger audience and more investors.
Especially in the beginning, most startups don’t have the financial flexibility to spend money on expensive travel, flashy marketing campaigns or entertaining potential investors. A conferencing or collaboration solution allows startups to cast a wider net without the added costs of airfare, hotels and rental cars.
Aside from cost savings, adopting the right conferencing technology lets startups and investors hold on to something even more important: time. Traveling across the country for a one-hour boardroom presentation ultimately eats into hours startups could spend iterating a product or finding other sources of funding.
While some in-person conferences and travel will become an inevitable part of a startup’s day-to-day, hosting these early investor pitches virtually can alleviate the budget strain that plagues new companies.
2. Show investors your value quality and their time.
Today’s startups compete not only with each other, but also with well-established, often more organized, corporations. But even a small new company operating out of the founder’s apartment or a local co-working space needs to demonstrate professionalism and business etiquette.
Relying on consumer or freemium conferencing technology is a common pitfall that works against startups’ best efforts to prove their competency. The frequent (sometimes mid-call) advertisements, unstable dial-in experience and overall poor audio quality these programs deliver can quickly derail a call with a potential investor or partner.
Fortunately, there are enterprise-grade conferencing alternatives available that don’t require a drain on capital. InterCall’s Unified Meeting 5, for example, offers robust conferencing capabilities to organizations with flexible pricing plans and the quality features of an enterprise solution.
3. Impress potential investors with high-end meeting tools.
Startups are constantly tweaking their pitch, looking for the most successful ways to showcase their product or service and entice investors. Especially during virtual or audio calls with investors, a verbal description alone may not be enough to illustrate a company’s plans, goals or expertise.
With a collaboration tool that offers multimedia-sharing capabilities, startups can build a much stronger case for financial backing. Talking about a business is one thing, but being able to show images, demo videos or customer testimonials of a product or service is a strong way to help investors visualize what differentiates one startup from the next. Sharing charts that show revenue growth or customer acquisition plans proves to investors that a startup is serious about the future.
Are there any other tools startups should consider to help attract investors? Let us know in the comments below.