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The Founder's Journey: The Importance of Emotion

Like almost every important decision we make in life, an investor’s choice about whether to back a fundraising proposal is both rational and emotional. “Will this investment make me money?” will, of course, be a key factor, but it’s not the only one.

Humans respond to stories and narratives that bring out empathy, and in the fundraising process, the founder’s journey is the best opportunity to create one. It’s essentially the origin story of a company and the person – or people – behind it, and allows you to present not only a business case, but a human one.

Good stories have highs and lows as well as lighthearted anecdotes that bring the human element home.

What inspired you to start your company? Was a particular event or realisation the triggering factor? Is your company trying to solve a problem that has impacted you personally? And, what hurdles have you crossed to come this far?

The founder’s journey of Kelvin Summoogum is one we remember vividly. He was impacted by the death of his grandmother, who suffered a bad fall at home and was not found until 12 hours later.

Kelvin went on to found MiiCare, and co-create an AI-powered hub which is linked to sensors and wearable telehealth devices to help older people to live safely in their homes for longer.

In many cases, an investor will consider backing a company that appears to share their values, and take pride in supporting a cause that aims to dof social good. It’s perhaps no surprise that a Seedrs survey last year found that 78% of investors factor environmental, social and governance (ESG) – otherwise known as climate impact – into their decisions.

Another strong founder’s journey is that of Gabi Jennings from Love Ocean. She founded the refillable bathroom toiletries company after being inspired by her children’s determination to collect rubbish from beaches, and starting her own mission to cut plastic pollution.

While the telling of the founder’s journey is a useful part of the fundraising toolkit, it isn’t an essential one. If your company’s origin story isn’t particularly alluring, don’t go out of your way to embellish it, or indeed to try to create a fictional one. Just skip it and focus on other key selling points of your pitch instead, such as your team’s credentials, or impressive sales stats.

If your founder’s journey is worth telling, hone your storytelling skills and include it as part of your pitch. Providing the rest of your pitch is strong, you’ll have the best chance possible to win over an investor by appealing to both their rational and emotional sides.

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