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Impact Investing Advice from a Social Entrepreneur who's Been There

Lisa Jones | June 9, 2014
2013 Fellow Alejando Maza Ayala

2013 Laureate Global Fellow Alejandro Maza Ayala recently shared his insider advice about the world of impact investing through YouthActionNet's "Living Leadership" webinar series.

As founder of Yo Propongo, an organization that leverages technology to promote civic engagement, and OPI: Open Intelligence, a new venture that seeks to facilitate data-driven policy decisions in countries around the world, Alejandro has experienced the ups and downs of impact investing. Estimating that he’s had somewhere between 60 and 80 meetings with impact investors, Alejandro was willing to share his experience in great detail so that other young entrepreneurs could be prepared for the challenges and opportunities involved with impact investment.

Key tips shared by Alejandro include:

  • Find impact investors who align with your vision, not just your strategy. With innovation comes uncertainty—your strategy could change, but your vision will stay the same.
     
  • Don’t shy away from risk—Impact investors are looking for investments that are high risk/high return.
     
  • Pitch a scalable project—Impact investors aren’t interested in funding a 1-2 year plan, they want to supply capitol to help you kick-start something huge.
     
  • Try traditional funding methods like grants or loans to prove your concept, then move on to impact investment when you have a long-term vision.
     
  • The best time to ask for money is when you aren’t desperate for it. Plan ahead and convince investors that you'll achieve your mission with them or not.

How to Pitch your Project to Investors:

In responding to a webinar attendee who asked “What are the key elements that investors want to see in my proposal? Alejandro explained “I would recommend going with a traditional deck structure consisting of 10 slides at most, if you can get away with 8, even better.”

Alejandro’s  Slide Deck Template for Pitching to Investors:

Slide 1: Elevator Pitch (If someone read only one slide, would they have an idea of what you do?)

Slide 2: Problem statement

Slide 3: Solution/description of your product

Slide 4: Why your product (competitive advantage/analysis/impact)

Slide 5: Business model (who do you charge? how much? how often?) 

Slide 6: Go-to-market strategy 

Slide 7: Traction to date (deals closed, metrics or revenue—whatever best proves your model)

Slide 8: Market size and/or trends

Slide 9: Team (who they are, why they are equipped to lead this project)

Slide 10: Ask (we are raising Y to hit X, X and X milestones)

Learn More:

Below is a clip from Alejandro’s webinar where he describes the keys to attracting impact investors. To learn more, watch Do I need Impact Investors?, The Impact Investment Ecosystem, or the full webinar, From Start-Up to Scale-Up: When to Say 'Yes' and 'No' to Investors.

Alejandro was recently featured in Forbes Mexico and is also a 2014 Ashoka Fellow. Watch this video to hear Alejandro explain more about how Yo Propongo is leveraging technology to connect citizens with policymakers in Mexico.