My startup clients who have customers/sales and are raising a follow-on investment round are swimming in data. Every click, of every customer segment, at any time is recorded and can be analysed. How to use this in an investor pitch?

  • Standard metrics. Some investors are highly specialised professionals who can X-ray an internet startup by analysing just a few statistics (comparing them to the other 500 startups they have seen). Google what the metrics are for your type of business, or even better scrutinise blog posts by a particular VC to see what she is really focussed on.
  • Your own metrics. Before even getting into the data, understand what really makes your business tick. Back in the good old days at McKinsey, we used to spend months at this for big corporates. Customer acquisition cost, churn, repeat purchase, basket size, etc. etc. Which driver has an impact on your business, and which can you influence. Is your business national or even global (SlideMagic), or has it more of a city-by-city regional character (Uber). Once you figured out your metrics, write the entire financial section around those.
  • Anticipate the obvious questions. Be one step ahead and anticipate the obvious questions. If your chart shows a dip in February, you can guess the question that is coming. If Vancouver lags behind Portland, guess what a VC is going to ask. Have answers before the meeting start and/or show the data in a different way if these hick ups are minor distractions and not key drivers of your business. And a question by one VC in a meeting does not mean that it merits rewriting the whole pitch around that for your next meeting. Within infinite amounts of data, there are an infinite number of questions, but we only have a finite amount of time.

Art: Gustave Courbet, Waves, 1870