Find Out What Startup Investors Look for In A Business

What Do Startup Investors Look For? 6 Must-Haves They Can’t Resist (Even if You’re A Newbie!)

Are you an entrepreneur searching for “what do startup investors look for” to secure funding? Step into the shoes of an investor and increase your chances of acquiring funds for your company.

Investors are like sharks—they can smell blood from a promising startup. They are always looking for signs that your startup will be profitable. 

Sure, you hear about those overnight success stories everywhere. Those startups that waltz into millions before you can say “startup funding.” But let’s be real, those are the unicorns. The rest of us face the harsh reality that funding is not as easy as it looks.

Most investors are skeptical of every pitch and proposal. Why is that? Because they know that many startups fail within five years for various reasons.

So yeah, they are cautious. They are jaded. But that’s exactly why your priority is showing them something valuable that makes their eyes light up. And what do startup investors look for? How can you create a lean startup that can thrive for years?

6 Factors that Startup Investors Look For Before Saying Yes

Like in Shark Tank, startup investors need to hear that “Eureka!” moment. There are certain qualities a startup possesses that attract investors to bet on them. Indeed, these characteristics should allow the investors to see your startup ideas’ potential once they start the funding. 

Let’s take a look at the hard-to-miss qualities that startup investors look for.

1. Passionate But Smart Risk-Takers With A Formidable Mindset

What do startup entrepreneurs and investors have in common? They both take calculated risks. Even more so, they are passionate about what they do.

And we’ve all met founders with fire in their eyes. The ones who gush about their startup like a proud parent. They believe their product or service answers the universe’s biggest question. 

But what separates the dreamers from the doers? The ones who bounce back from “No” with grit and determination, fueled by something more profound than just a promising startup business idea. That’s the passion that builds empires, brick by rejection brick.

As Tony Robbins said:

“You must learn how to handle rejection. To succeed, you must learn how to cope with a little word ‘no.’ Learn how to strip that rejection of all its power. The best salesmen are those who are rejected most. They are the ones who can take any ‘no’ and use it as a prod to go onto the next YES.”

So, make every “no” an opportunity for growth and learning. Try to pinpoint what went wrong and improve it the next time you apply for startup loans or pitch an idea to a potential investor.

2. The Intangible X-Factor

Have you ever talked to a stranger at the most random of times?

Like while waiting for coffee at a coffee shop near the company or getting your convention pass for a local event? You expect polite small talk but find yourselves lost in an exciting conversation building up an intangible connection.

Sometimes, that magic happens in investor meetings, too. Maybe it’s a shared passion for the problem you’re solving or a glimpse of your genuine enthusiasm. That X-factor, you can’t force it; you can’t manufacture it.

But when it ignites, it pushes you toward startup business grants or seed funding

The key? Authenticity. Ditch the polished pitch and embrace your true self. Be the confident entrepreneur, brimming with an idea that promises social or financial impact.

Talk with investors, not to them, and listen intently. Their questions and comments are whisper clues about what resonates with them. This active listening becomes your X-factor radar, guiding you toward the connections that truly matter.

3. Your Competitive Advantage

First, your business must have that extra edge over your competitors. It becomes a primary motivation for investors to grab a hold of your business. There should be something unique and cutting-edge about what you do for them to bank on.

It could be anything from the product execution, your talent pool, or the product or service itself. When you talk about that special something to an investor, there should be that feeling of affinity that ties your goals together. Overall, it’s the zinger about your startup that would cling to their interest in investing.

4. Company Talent and Capabilities

Most of the time, your best asset is your organization. The people and teams you work with can help sell your business propositions to potential investors. As mentioned, angel investors and venture capitalists are interested in everything related to your business, including people.

They will be interested in the people building your products or services and executing the plans you have laid out. If you equip your organization with competent experts with reputable portfolios, investors will likely bank on you.

For example, you own a software company and offshore software developers from the Philippines. The Philippines is one of the best countries for offshore software development. Thus, this gives your company the credibility to convince investors to help finance your business.

Read More About Offshoring and Offshore Development Here:

5. Vast Market Opportunity

Time and time again, we stress how vital startup marketing is. You should emphasize what makes your product marketable. Additionally, you should look into what opportunities you can penetrate once you launch your product.

In this note, you should properly assess your product and where it stands relative to its market. 

  • Does this product already exist? If so, what makes it stand out from the rest?
  • Is the market for this product already saturated? What can I do to make it stand out?
  • Are we venturing into a new market? How sure are we that this market has a customer base?

Startup investors will be looking at this area more than the others. Why? You should be able to see revenue and return on investment. Investors need assurance that your product fits the market, leading to sales.

6. Concrete Business Plan and Exit Strategy

In business, all great things transpire with proper planning. After all, there is no substitute for a venture whose directions have been identified depending on its performance.

First, you should lay out your short-term and long-term business plan for investors in a pitch deck. It gives them an insight into what’s also in it for them.

  1. How long will they be funding until you’re profitable?
  2. What position do they hold in your company as an investor? 
  3. How will you execute your plans? 
  4. How much do you need from them?

The answers to these questions should populate your deck.

Finally, create an exit strategy. It doesn’t mean that your company is bound to fail. Actually, this would give the startup investors an idea regarding your preparations however the cookie crumbles. Failing to set things up is a setup towards failure.

investor criteria
What Do Startup Investors Look For? 6 Must-Haves They Can't Resist (Even if You're A Newbie!) 1

What Do Startup Investors Look For? Marketability, Profitability, and Sustainability

Like what a promising startup should be, yours must be a walker and a talker. Seek the perfect balance of having great people capabilities and high product marketability. You must also have a formidable mindset to move on from initial rejections and do better.

Don’t forget to highlight your competitive advantage just like a great salesperson does. Lastly, create a good exit plan to show that your foresight is better than that of other entrepreneurs competing for the startup investors’ attention.

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