Make yourself stand out.

Kristi is a storyteller from the United States, whose curiosity about the world and other cultures has led her to explore far-flung places and unsung corners on five continents, including the Middle East, camera in hand. Her degrees in journalism and nonprofit management have inspired her to never stop learning. She is most passionate about tech startups, gender equity, and the future of work.

Imagine standing in a sleek boardroom before a venture capital firm’s top partners. You’ve landed the meeting; now your only goal is to get to the next level, whether it’s a second meeting or a deal.

Sadly, this group likely doesn’t have a vested interest in what you’re about to say. Why? You’re one of many entrepreneurial teams they’ll see this week. And there are dozens more pouring messages into their inboxes each day.

Your team is armed with a polished slide deck and has practiced the pitch for weeks. You have mere minutes to introduce your startup and to convince investors that your business is a viable one.

The clock starts ticking. What do you do?

  • Make it personal. Why does your particular business case matter to these people? Have they invested in your field before, or in companies targeting similar markets? Do you see synergies between their personal or business interests and your mission? Tell the group why you came to them for this ask. Connect the dots on why you’re having this conversation, and what you have to offer for the long term. You’ll not only demonstrate that you’ve done your homework on the firm, but you’ll also already be building the case for why you’re a strong fit for their portfolio.
  • Make it memorable. If you remember one thing, remember this: always incorporate stories over statistics. Don’t get me wrong; data matters. Your growth forecast better be ready for primetime, along with your revenue projections. But stories inspire and move people to action. They stick when figures fade. And they become your strongest rallying point when investors need to debrief. So share how you’re going to improve people’s lives. Touch on the pain points and the ways you’ll solve them. Move your audience.
  • Make it tangible. You’ve got big goals on your roadmap—ones that you’re going to need a lot more capital to meet. If those goals aren’t yet realized, how can you make them seem remotely possible? Maybe it’s through a mockup of an innovative service model or a prototype of your new product. Whatever it is, this part is where you make your big dreams come to life, so that others can see where you’re heading. What can you share that’ll leave this group with major FOMO if they don’t decide to move forward with you?