[YS Learn] Here’s what Anup Jain of Orios Venture Partners looks for in a startup pitch
Funding is an essential factor for the growth of most startups. And founders would attest, these tend to take up a lot of time and energy.
“It can be distracting and shift your focus away from the business. There are many aspects one needs to keep in mind and the day-to-day operations do tend to take a backseat,” says the founder of a startup based out of Bengaluru.
He adds that it would help several startups to have additional help and mentorship when it comes to the process of pitching in itself.
Anup Jain, Managing Partner of Orios Venture Partners, opens up about the different factors that startups need to keep in mind while pitching to an investor. He focuses on investments the firm has made across fintech, B2B marketplaces, D2C brands, social commerce, edtech, and healthtech.
Anup is actively involved in portfolio companies on matters of business growth, brand management, and building teams. Some of his notable portfolio companies include Pharmeasy, Country Delight, GoMechanic, Beato, MoneyOnClick, Zupee, LetsMD, Gully Network, and Miss Malini, among others.
“Our focus — on the qualities we look for in founders — has not changed. However, we now look keenly at resilience, ability to re-invent the business model given a black swan event like COVID-19, and the emotional stability to lead a team out of a crisis,” he explains.
Here’s what Anup looks for in any startup pitch.
Clarity of thought
- A clarity in thought, the ability to communicate succinctly, and an entrepreneurial commitment to build against the odds.
- Preference in sectors has undergone a change. Until the announcement of a successful vaccine, there are certain "non-essential" sectors that will continue to see a challenge, including areas of discretionary spending like apparel, footwear, travel and leisure, restaurants, and events.
- The areas that have been positively impacted are healthtech, edtech, gaming, work tech, B2B SaaS for SMEs, "essential" gadgetry for home automation, home improvement, and Direct to Consumer brands in the FMCG space.
Articulating in a beautifully woven story often is a mix of the heart and the mind. The former helps investors relate to you as a human being on why you are doing a startup in that specific space, and the latter helps communicate a robust plan around it.
- What got the founders together — what each brings to the table.
Top things in a pitch
- Well-rounded cohesive founding team; preferably more than one founder.
- A genuine problem to be solved for a large section of consumers.
- Disruptive model with creation of value for all stakeholders.
- Risk assessment.
- Defensibility of the business model or idea.
- Unit economics/positive gross margins.
- What the problem is and where did one pick it up from.
- What the solution is and why does it have a right to succeed.
- Learnings from failures.
- Moat and differentiation from ‘me-too’ ventures.
- Go-to-market acceleration to ensure one gets ahead.
- Unit economics now and going forward.
- Risks and challenges.
What Orios wants to see in a pitch
- Runway, which has become the most critical aspect in uncertain times.
- Positive economics.
- Deep analysis of consumer needs and focus on retention.
- Keeping the team together — defining culture tenets.
What Orios doesn’t want to see in a pitch
- Spending on 'non-essential' recruitment, marketing.
- Large spends before testing.
- Bringing culture mismatches on board.
Importance of patience
- It will take longer to raise vs pre-COVID-19 due to various reasons.
- Start early.
- Raise enough for a rainy day because it is here already.
- Set expectations in the team on spending.
- Plan meticulously like your home budget.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta