Fundraising for startups has always been difficult, but doing so during the global COVID-19 pandemic has added a new dimension of challenges. One of the most immediate changes is that the entire fundraising process has shifted from in-person to remote interactions. No more coffee meetings, walk and talks, office visits, and ... no more in-person pitch meetings. Now we have to do everything through virtual conference calls, and pitching your startup business plan to angel investors solely through video is not an easy task.
I’ve known about Loom for quite some time and primarily used it for product development screen recordings. But when I saw the two tweets below, I realized we could use Loom for the seed fundraising process for my company, Ludis Analytics:
Related reading: 20:VC Podcast: 3 Key Rules To Operate Remote Teams Successfully — The Loom Blog
So we began recording videos and testing them throughout various parts of our outreach, deck, and pitches with potential investors. We are still learning and trying new tactics, but I wanted to share some of the ideas and key takeaways that worked well for us that I think many others can utilize, too.
3 tips to getting more pitch meetings with video
As a former VC myself, I know firsthand the sheer volume of pitch meeting requests each venture capital firm gets on a daily basis. Investors spend a limited amount of time reading over these emails and glancing through the pitch deck to determine if they will take that meeting. This is a great opportunity to stand out — with a video pitch.
The goal of investor outreach is to get a proper, real-time pitch meeting scheduled. Warm introductions are generally preferred by the VC community, but those may not be as easy for all founders to get. If you’re sending a cold email, you need to differentiate your pitch to get an investor’s attention.
Incorporating Loom in fundraising outreach is one way we stand out to VCs. Instead of several dense paragraph descriptions in an email, we now include a few Loom video links that describe our platform and provide a few quick user case studies. This has led to a material increase in our conversion rate (emails to video call meetings) and continues to do so.
Here are three things we suggest:
1. Modularize and shorten your Loom videos.
As the saying goes, "I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time." We originally had a single, seven-minute product demo with numerous case studies that was clearly too long. I have since edited that into six separate, one-minute videos, and we are already seeing faster and more positive reactions from investors. They are able to pick specific segments they want to see instead of having to sit through a single long video — which they may have bailed on halfway through.
2. Make the time investment clear.
I specifically mention the length of the video in the email itself to reduce the implied commitment to watching it. If the intended viewer doesn’t know the duration or sees that it is 10 minutes long, they may skip it. If your video is one minute or less, there’s a greater chance the prospective investor will just watch it on the spot.
Even though we include our page of demo video links in our deck, I also include Loom video links to our demos in all of our outreach emails. This strategy has been working particularly well with cold emails, an example of which I’ve excerpted below:
PRODUCT DEMOS: (~1 min Loom videos)
Please see attached for our Seed deck.
We'd love the opportunity to share what we're building with you.
3. Keep your pitch concise.
The purpose of the intro email and video is not to explain every detail about your company. Instead, it should give a quick sense of who you are, what your product is like and why you're passionate about it, and what makes it special — like a movie trailer for your full pitch and demo. This is not an onboarding video or training video (you can make those in Loom, too). Tease the investors to want to schedule a face-to-face meeting time (over Zoom, of course, for the foreseeable future) for a proper pitch.
Add Loom videos to your pitch deck
We wanted to include videos in our deck for several reasons. First, if a prospective investor received our deck through one of our contacts, they may not have received the email with the video links. Adding videos to our pitch deck gives them another chance to see the demo and for us to showcase our platform to hopefully secure a meeting.
Second, there are many instances where having quick access to these videos can be helpful. In one case, I was trying to do a live demo over video conference and it accidentally coincided with work being done on the back end of our platform and the demo was not functional. I quickly swapped in the corresponding video and continued the pitch without issue.
Last, these videos can live on beyond the pitch. Once you're engaged with a fund, the lead partner can now use your product demo videos to share your startup with their investment committee. This removes the sole burden from that partner to explain and convey your startup's attributes on their own. They can play the videos for other investment committee members and continue to reference it during their due diligence process.
Find creative ways to make your pitch video interesting
In addition to the light editing features, there are creative ways to make your videos even more interesting and engaging using Loom.
For example, adding call-to-action buttons helps string demo videos together to guide viewers through your product experience.
One of our team members also found a way to use screenshots, Google Slides, and Loom’s custom-size Screen Only recording tool to mimic an animation overlay.
Once you have finished setting up your Google Slide, you can record your browser window while presenting the slide using Presenter View to create the animation overlay effect.
Video gets your pitch in front of VCs — and increases the likelihood of response
Video messaging strikes the right balance between an engaging and low-effort way to get your product in the path of the right people. Not only does it help your pitch email stand out, but it also provides context around your product experience so that you know you are scheduling meetings with investors who are interested beyond just the concept.
Incorporating video into your pitch using Loom is quick and simple, and that’s what makes it so powerful.
At Ludis Analytics, our pitch is constantly changing and evolving — and so are our supporting materials. Loom allows us to rapidly adjust and test different components of our pitch so that we can develop the right outreach strategy with video messaging to increase investor response.