Here's How to Grab an Investor's Attention and Land Funding In an environment where many startups are seeking funding but few get it, entrepreneurs need to know how to stand out.

By Lori Hoberman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Q: What is the best way to get the attention of a potential investor?

A: I was a judge at a pitch event a couple of years ago where one of the entrepreneurs presented his company while wearing a furry pink rabbit suit. While that outfit was certainly memorable, I'm not sure it prompted any of the panelists to write a check. There are better ways to get an investor's attention.

Related: The 5 Things You Need to Land Venture Capital

It's who you know…

A cold email or phone call is generally not the best way to reach a potential investor. Once you do your research to make sure you're targeting the right venture funds, reach out to your attorney or accountant or anyone else you know who networks in the venture space and see if they can make a warm introduction. A busy venture investor is much more likely to open an email from a contact and much more likely to ignore an email from an unknown party.

When I reach out to venture investors on behalf of a client, I like to send a very simple email with a very brief executive summary. All we're doing at that stage is testing interest -- if the investor wants to hear more, there will be plenty of time to wow them with your detail. Keep in mind that investors see dozens of potential deals each day and don't have the time or inclination to view a long document.

Ideal executive summary

The best executive summary is short -- no more than two pages. Include pictures, like graphs and screenshots, that illustrate the key points you're trying to communicate. Your intended audience is mainly comprised of visual thinkers, so those pictures may resonate better than text.

Related: How to Seek Early-Stage Funding That Won't Spoil Your Startup

The ideal executive summary hits the following five points:

  • What the company does. Look at it this way: You have approximately 10 seconds to capture the reader's attention, so you might as well spend the time on this most important piece of information--two sentences on what the company does.
  • What industry problem does the company solve. Explain the current state of the industry you're in and why you believe there is a problem that needs fixing.
  • How does your company solve that problem. Here's your chance to describe your amazing solution. You can go into some detail on how your technology works to solve the industry problem.
  • What is the market for that solution. Your solution could be the greatest invention since sliced bread, but if there is no market for it, your business will never succeed. In this section, describe in great detail your target market—who they are (business or consumer), where they live, how much money they make, etc. Show that you have a deep understanding of who will buy your product.
  • How you will reach that market to make money. This is where you discuss your go-to-market strategy. Describe competitors and explain how you differ. Discuss potential product pipeline and company growth.

If you're fortunate enough to have existing clients, mention them on the first page of the executive summary and feature their logos (get permission first). If you're even more fortunate enough to be making money, explain why your go-to-market strategy is working and how you're proving your model.

What you should be ready for

If the potential investor is interested after seeing your executive summary, they will ask for financial information and a meeting or call. Have that financial information ready to go (actual and projections -- three year projections are usually sufficient) and prepare a power point presentation for the meeting, with 10 to 15 slides that expand on the five points mentioned above.

Related: The Year in Startup Funding (Infographic)

Wavy Line
Lori Hoberman

Entrepreneur and Attorney

Lori S. Hoberman is a New York City-based attorney and founder of law firm Hoberman Law Group.

Editor's Pick

A Leader's Most Powerful Tool Is Executive Capital. Here's What It Is — and How to Earn It.
One Man's Casual Side Hustle Became an International Phenomenon — And It's on Track to See $15 Million in Revenue This Year
3 Reasons to Keep Posting on LinkedIn, Even If Nobody Is Engaging With You
Why a Strong Chief Financial Officer Is Crucial for Your Franchise — and What to Look for When Hiring One

Related Topics

Business News

More Americans Are Retiring Abroad, Without a Massive Nest Egg — Here's How They Made the Leap

About 450,000 people received their social security benefits outside the U.S. at the end of 2021, up from 307,000 in 2008, according to the Social Security Administration.

Business News

7 of the 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in the U.S. Are in One State

A new report by U.S. News found that San Diego is the most expensive city to live in for 2023-2024, followed by Los Angeles. New York City didn't even rank in the top 10.

Growing a Business

The Best Way to Run a Business Meeting

All too often, meetings run longer than they should and fail to keep attendees engaged. Here's how to run a meeting the right way.


Working Remote? These Are the Biggest Dos and Don'ts of Video Conferencing

As more and more businesses go remote, these are ways to be more effective and efficient on conference calls.

Business News

Woman Ties the Knot at White Castle Almost 30 Years After the Chain Gave Her Free Food as a Homeless Teen

Jamie West was just 12 years old when she ran away from the foster care system.