Study reveals that contacting a ton of investors won't get you more money -- but it will get you more meetings

Raising capital for your startup can sometimes feel like more of an art than a science.

a new study — conducted by secure file-sharing company DocSend and Harvard Business School professor Tom Eisenmann — suggests that it might be good to listen to the hard numbers when preparing your pitch.

The study examined over 200 companies as they went through their seed and Series A funding rounds, which resulted in a combined total of over $US360 million raised. Additional topics explored with the participating companies ranged from how to craft a successful pitch deck to how much time a funding round usually takes to close.

But the study’s most striking finding was that contacting additional investors didn’t result in the companies receiving additional investment. That’s not to say that contacting more investors didn’t “work” in the short term, it did, but it simply secured them more meetings.

In other words, the study found absolutely no correlation between the amount of investors contacted and the amount of funding eventually raised.

The researchers also found that investors only spend an average of 3 minutes and 44 seconds reviewing each pitch deck — even though the decks themselves averaged 19.2 slides.

Investors spent the most time (23.2 seconds) reviewing the a deck’s slide covering the company’s financials, though only 57% of the successful decks even contained this slide. Investors spent the least amount of time reviewing the “products” and “solutions” slides, but of course this could be spun as a positive — one of the main goals of a pitch deck is for the point you’re making to be compelling and easy to understand.

One part of the study is sure to calm down a few founders who are freaking out. The researchers found that rounds took an average of 12.5 weeks to conclude, but that even if your round it taking longer, that’s no reason to despair. Some 17% of funding rounds took more than 16 weeks to close, and the longest successful round observed took 40 weeks.

You can read the full study here.

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