Funding your AI Startup – 6 Pitch Writing Guidelines to Consider
Career InsightsFeatured PostStartupsposted by Melanie Sovann October 18, 2019 Melanie Sovann
In terms of disruptive technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) has provided numerous industries with transformative innovations. Whether it’s finance, healthcare or retail, AI technologies have found their place in day-to-day operations across the global market. According to Forbes, 59% of organizations worldwide have deployed some form of AI already and expect to double-down on their initial plans with further implementation during 2020. There is no better time than now to begin funding your AI startup and pioneer new ways in which the technology will be used.
[Related Article: AI Gold Rush: How to Build a Better AI Startup]
However, writing a concise, informative and captivating pitch for your AI startup funding is a challenge in itself. With that said, let’s take a look at what pitches are all about, how you can benefit from them, as well as how you can write a pitch of your own for AI startup funding in a straightforward manner.
The Role and Importance of Startup Pitches
Before we get into the guidelines and tips for pitch writing, let’s discuss what pitches really are and how you can use them to your advantage. Pitches or “elevator” pitches are commonly associated with project funding. They are used to present ideas, plans and business strategies to potential investors in a short and precise manner. According to Adobe, 80% of emerging technologies will have native AI implementation by 2021, making the technology the perfect choice for new startup development.
Writing a pitch for your AI startup and its funding will allow you to not only become more familiar with your ideas but also discover potential development options for later down the line. Once you have a funding pitch ready for presentation to future partners and investors, its use in your business meetings will provide you with several important advantages:
- Cohesive and objective AI startup plans
- Ability to solve a global issue through your startup
- Possibility to receive critical feedback from industry experts
- Higher investor engagement due to short and precise presentations
- Gaining industry exposure and spreading word of mouth about your plans
AI Startup Pitch Writing Tips
- Open with the Hook
Depending on the context, you will often have to present your pitch in a verbal manner, without any visuals and multimedia to back your claims up. This means that your pitch should be written in a way that doesn’t rely on slides or visuals to complement your argument. When it comes to opening your pitch, you should always start the conversation with a hook that will attract your listeners’ or readers’ attention.
The safest way to open a pitch is to present your investors with a pressing question related to the startup idea. For example, “What would the world look like if everyone had an AI device in their living room?” is a good way to intrigue and “hook” the investor. Likewise, a statistical fact or a well-known global problem can also be mentioned in the hook and lead to further information in the pitch itself.
- Present your Target Problem
Once your investor is hooked, you should present the problem which your AI startup’s development would be dedicated to solving. This can be anything from a local issue or an industry-specific bottleneck. You should also include data or testimonials which back your claims up in regard to the problematic nature of the issue you wish to tackle.
It’s good to include any and all companies or brands which are actively pursuing to solve this same problem in the startup pitch. This will allow the investor to quickly gauge whether or not their involvement in your project will be beneficial for them.
- Offer an Original Solution
After you’ve presented the central problem which will be the focus of your AI startup, you should move on to your solution to the issue. What kind of a product or service, based on AI, will your startup develop?
Do you have a development timeline in mind and what bottlenecks do you expect to encounter? How will the industry benefit from your startup’s presence and who will be your target audience? These questions should be answered in the solution section of your AI startup pitch since they will undoubtedly be on your investors’ minds.
- List your Project Team
Startups can hardly succeed if a single person is behind them. In order to ease your investors’ troubles, you should include a shortlist of coworkers and team members you’ve reached out to previously.
This will allow anyone with access to your pitch to assess how viable your idea is, as well as if and how they can contribute to the AI startup themselves. It will also speak volumes of your dedication to the project since you’ve already prepared a development team ready to get to work as soon as the funding is secured.
- Outline the Business Model
Many would argue that the business model of your AI startup is the most important element of the pitch – and for good reasons. Once your startup is funded and develops original services, you will have to monetize those products to follow up on your investors’ support.
Think of your project from a business perspective and try to outline the ways in which you will gain revenue from your startup’s project development. The more detailed and varied your revenue generation ideas are, the more likely you are to raise the necessary funds for your AI startup without much effort.
- Close off with a Call to Action
Lastly, whether you present your pitch in a written or verbal manner, you should always ask for a follow-up from your investors. Your documentation should always end with follow-up contact information and a rudimentary call to action, inviting the reader (or listener) to reach out to you.
Be proactive and don’t wait for the investors to decide whether or not they will act on the AI startup pitch they’ve just seen or heard. Write a formal thank-you note for their time and effort, expressing your wishes to hear back from them soon. While not every investor will contact you, those that will are likely to extend their support toward your AI startup in one way or another.
Over to You (Conclusion)
No matter how well-written your AI startup pitch may be, you should also keep in mind that investors come in a variety of focus groups and industries. An investor with high stakes in AI development will be more than willing to fund your startup, while his or her counterpart in the retail industry most likely won’t.
[Related Article: Why is Silicon Valley Still the Go-To Place for Data Science and AI]
Once your pitch is prepared, create a short-list of investors, companies and private funds worth reaching out to. Before you know it, the right set of investment partners will sign off and you will be funding your AI startup and creating what you’ve dreamed of.