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Pitching With Scars: Get Real To Get Funded Remember that investing goes beyond the numbers game. Authenticity, genuineness, and vulnerability resonate with judges and investors.

By Saad Belda

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You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Pitching is a crowded field- and that's why "get real to get funded" is the magic mantra for entrepreneurs seeking funding. Whether you're a first-time entrepreneur just starting out, or a seasoned venture capitalist, you know that pitching is a matter of captivating the heart and mind.

However, as someone who is the founder of a pitching agency and has served as a pitch judge in the Middle East, I've seen firsthand how entrepreneurs often focus solely on the triumphs of their business, boasting about their superhero feats, while hiding the wounds of their failures.

But what if I were to tell you that embracing your scars and setbacks could increase the likelihood of you securing the funds you want for your enterprise? The truth is that it's time to look at your past struggles in a new light. Wearing your scars as a badge of honor is a unique perspective that wins investors' trust, and fuels your potential for success.

The power of vulnerability in storytelling

Pitching with scars goes beyond presenting a mere idea. It is an opportunity to showcase the depth of your character, and the strength of your resolve. What you choose to reveal through your scars reflects the story you want to sell. It is through authenticity and vulnerability that entrepreneurs can forge an emotional connection with investors. More than just a personal narrative, your scars can fuel the storytelling in your pitch, weaving a compelling narrative around your startup, and highlighting how your personal experiences have informed your business goals and vision, and, ultimately, leading to a more significant investment.

But it's not just about sharing your story. By sharing your struggles, you demonstrate the resilience and determination needed to thrive in the competitive world of entrepreneurship. Investors want grit and determination. Wearing your scars and sharing your setbacks requires confidence and determination, and these qualities are essential for any entrepreneur. By showcasing your hard-learned lessons, you demonstrate your strength and unwavering commitment to your vision, proving that you possess what it takes to succeed in the highly competitive entrepreneurial landscape.

Investors are more inclined to invest in a startup led by someone who has demonstrated resilience and perseverance. They seek out entrepreneurs who have the fortitude to navigate the highs and lows of the startup journey. So don't be afraid to pitch with your scars. They are a testament to your strength and resilience, and they can help you secure the funding you need to bring your vision to life.

Related: Five Common Presentation Shortfalls (And How to Fix Them)

The deeper the wound, the more unique your solution could be

Believe it or not, your past struggles can be a good thing. You have been in the trenches, and you have a unique perspective. The extent of your wound can serve as a catalyst for your ingenuity and inventiveness. Your unique vantage point, gained through the battles you have fought and the hardships you have endured, has endowed you with a distinctive understanding of the industry and its workings. Vulnerability evinces your comprehension of the industry's complexities as well as the hurdles it presents. The difficulties you have encountered can enable you to recognize gaps and opportunities that have eluded others.

By leveraging this distinctive perspective, you can devise innovative and distinctive solutions that give you a competitive advantage in the market. For example, an entrepreneur who has experienced a personal struggle with mental health may identify a gap in the market for a mental health app that provides personalized support and therapy. By drawing upon their personal experiences, they can create a solution that resonates with their intended audience, satisfies a genuine market need, and brings a compelling value proposition to the investors' table.

Pitching with scars creates neurochemistry

Pitching with scars goes beyond storytelling; it also activates multiple brain processes, including the mirror neuron system, which fosters empathy and social cognition. Such a connection enables investors to connect with entrepreneurs on a personal level, building trust, and inspiring generosity, ultimately leading to increased funding opportunities. While investors seek investment opportunities and returns, the activation of the mirror neuron system can also stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone linked to social bonding and trust.

Studies indicate that oxytocin increases empathy, trust, and generosity, which are essential for entrepreneurial endeavors. By sharing their scars and setbacks, entrepreneurs can forge emotional bonds with investors, thereby building trust and increasing the likelihood of securing funding. Additionally, disclosing emotional scars can activate the prefrontal cortex, responsible for decision-making and social behavior, which can result in enhanced listener engagement and attentiveness.

At the end of the day, remember that investing goes beyond the numbers game. Authenticity, genuineness, and vulnerability resonate with judges and investors. You often have just under three minutes to convince investors to take a meeting with you- that's not a lot of time, so make it count. Pitching remains a naked truth exercise. Authentic narratives carry greater weight than fabricated tales, so stay away from the "happily ever after" fairy tales. Every scar is a testament to your strength and resilience, and they can help you get to where you want to go. So, don't be afraid- pitch with scars, and wear them proudly.

Related: Five Ways To Stay Ahead Of The Curve In A Highly Competitive Marketplace

Saad Belda

Founder and Managing Director, STAGEXX

Saad Belda is a business advisor, writer, and entrepreneur with international experience with global brands in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. He is the founder and Managing Director of STAGEXX, a UAE-based presentation design agency specialized in storytelling, presentation design, digital content, and training services. As a presentation catalyst, his belief is that it takes weeks, months, maybe years to build an opportunity, but only a few only seconds to fall short because of the wrong presentation. He is committed to elevate companies' communication and helps startups, medium, and large organizations deliver creative and memorable presentations, from pitching for investments, internal company meetings to big stage presentations.

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