6 ways to win over an investor, from someone who's been on both sides of a pitch deck

6 ways to win over an investor, from someone who's been on both sides of a pitch deck
Allison Barr Allen is the cofounder and COO of Fast, a login and checkout startup.Allison Barr Allen
  • Allison Barr Allen is an angel investor and COO of Fast, a one-click login and checkout startup.
  • As both a founder and investor, Barr Allen has learned what it takes to secure startup funding.

Alongside my day job as cofounder and COO of checkout platform Fast, I've also run a personal angel investment fund since 2019. The investors I work with review thousands of deals every year, but most end up funding just a handful of new companies.

In my experience on both sides of the funding equation, I've learned six standout ways that successful founders win over investors.

1. Network, network, network

As a founder, you shouldn't meet an investor for the first time when you're fundraising. Having a rapport or at least knowing each other before such a meeting makes a founder a more favorable candidate for investment.

Familiarity makes investing seem like less of a risk. Having no strangers in the room makes a big difference, one being that when people know each other, there's no need for an introduction or starting from zero.

You never know when you'll work with someone, so it's important to network and build long-term relationships over multiple months and years.


2. Dream big and solve a big problem

The number one thing an investor looks for is a multibillion-dollar company in the making. To inspire that kind of confidence, founders need to succinctly articulate the problem they're solving, whether the space they're in is big enough to generate billions of dollars in revenue, and how they're different — and better — than their competitors.

Investors understand that any company, especially a startup, will evolve, but the founder is still responsible for outlining short- and long-term goals for their company.

3. Surround yourself with a winning team

The second thing an investor looks for is a strong team. Investors should feel ready to bet on a founder's ability as a leader to build a stable and successful company, not just a good product.

This means a founder has to demonstrate that they can hire the right people and run a large organization. Investors also want to hear the story of how the company came to be and why everyone involved is passionate about being on the team.

3. Build a standout pitch deck

A founder has to sell their product and company to investors in 30 seconds. Why? An investor will know quickly — about 30 seconds in reviewing your deck — whether or not they want to set up a formal meeting. Founders need to create pitch decks that will make investors want to ask for more.


Decks shouldn't be text-heavy — the more visuals, the better. Investors are looking for growth charts, data, and metrics — these are the items that catch their eye when they're scrolling on their phones and tablets.

The deck also is a good place to introduce your team. Investors want to know advisors and strategists who are involved with the company as well as leadership. Give investors everything they need to know.

4. But don't rely on the pitch deck going into the meeting

A pitch deck's job is to secure meetings with investors. But that doesn't necessarily mean they read the entire deck, so they'll go into the meeting wanting to know everything — that's when it's time to go in-depth.

Founders should be prepared to talk at length about their company's origin story, their company's journey since launch, product details, roadmaps, competition, and money, as well as anticipating any and all questions an investor may ask.

5. Remember that investors are humans too

I grew up in a hard-working, middle-class family in Central Ohio. A year after finishing college, I had extra money for the first time in my life and didn't know what to do with it. My parents, who didn't know much about personal finance or investing, took me to the bank where I opened a brokerage account. From that moment, I became fascinated with investing. I found it magical that you could own part of a company and grow your money.


As a self-taught public equity investor, I use the knowledge I've accumulated over the years to invest in the next generation of global entrepreneurs. It's not just money I invest, it's my time and experience as well.

Investors all have personal stories about how they came to be who they are. Founders should want to know as much about an investor as the investor wants to know about them. After all, a successful meeting could turn into a long-lasting relationship. It's important to remember that despite money being a driving factor behind getting everyone in the room, there are humans behind the dollars.

While media coverage makes it seem like founders are snapped up and given billions of dollars simply for existing, the reality is that large investments only come after much careful consideration and review. Just like any other large purchase, due diligence must be used and founders improve their chances when they present themselves as an opportunity that investors can't afford to miss.

Allison Barr Allen is the cofounder and COO of Fast, the world's fastest online login and checkout platform. Previously, she was the head of global product operations for the Money Team at Uber. In addition to her role at Fast, she is a limited partner at enterprise technology VC firm Operator Collective and founder of angel investment fund Trail Run Capital.