How To Write the Perfect One Pager Investment Teaser
Getting people to invest in your startup often requires many documents and presentations. You’ll want a fantastic pitch deck, accompanied by a tremendous verbal pitch. You’ll want to include critical numbers and facts about your company, such as your current user base, projected growth, and financial information. Of course, you’ll want to highlight your team and the strengths they have to help you tackle these difficult problems. You’ll also want a one-page investment teaser, also known as a “one pager” for startups.
As the name implies, this document is short (one to two pages) and to the point. It gives a high-level overview of the startup. Despite its brief nature, this concise document can make it much easier to receive funding. Here’s everything you need to know about writing the perfect one-page investment teaser for your startup.
Table of Contents
A one-page investment teaser is a short, concise document that gives a high-level overview of the investment opportunity you’re presenting. Sometimes people prepare this document for their company (in this case, think of it as a resume for your company). Other times, investment banks and related companies can prepare these on behalf of their clients on a blind basis. Not having the company’s name on the document means that the prospective investor has to work with the bank and can’t go to the company directly.
The one-page investment teaser is essential for two crucial reasons.
First, it’s the initial introduction to your company. It’s the document that the prospective investor reads to determine whether or not they’re interested, not just in your business, but in the investment opportunity in general. And, like a resume, first impressions matter. A well-designed, cohesive teaser will give these investors confidence both in your company and the investment opportunity.
Second, these one or two pages will set the tone for your investment meetings. After glancing at this document, the investors will know most of the essential facts of your business. There’s a good chance that the discussions that follow will have roots in the content you put on this document. Instead of relying on people listening to a verbal pitch and remembering some parts, prospective investors can reference the teaser in their discussions with you. Therefore, you’ll need to ensure that you can answer any questions or comments that may arise from the information contained within.
It might be tempting to “skip” this one-page teaser and assume that you’ll have a free-flowing discussion with a prospective investor, answering any questions that may arise. That way, you won’t have to rely on this concise one pager to describe your business, which is undoubtedly a lot more nuanced than can fit on one or two pages.
In general, even though they may take a bit of work to construct, you want to have investment teasers. For starters, writing up one of these documents shows that you’re serious about getting the investment. Remember, prospective investors – both individuals and companies – receive countless pitches, many of which are from people in their new endeavor’s earliest idea stages. Some may not have even formed a company yet. Anything that you can do to show you’re serious about your startup and have given it a lot of thought will make investors treat your ask much more seriously.
Furthermore, as noted above, first impressions matter. Having a well-designed, clean, easy-to-read teaser elicits curiosity and encourages further dialog. Instead of rattling off many facts in a verbal pitch that the investor may or may not remember, they can see all of these points at once on the teaser pager. They can reference those points, make notes, and discuss anything that requires clarification with you in more detail.
Additionally, by writing down all the key points that an investor needs to know, you’re giving them the ability to understand what your company is about quickly and easily. Instead of deducing what you do, who your staff is, your financials, etc., from websites, Excel pagers, and other documents, everything they need to know is in one place. It’s never possible to overstate the power of convenience, and these make investing much more convenient!
So, you’ve decided that you want a one-page investment teaser for your business. Great! Now, the next question invariably is: what needs to be on this teaser pager? As noted above, you want your teaser to be as short as possible. Consequently, there aren’t many headings within it. Most people have five broad sections.
This one is the most obvious and probably the easiest to write. You’ll want to dedicate most of your one-page investment teaser to a brief overview of your company.
In this section, you’ll want to give a comprehensive overview of what your company does, who the key players are, and what makes it unique amongst the competition. At a bare minimum, you’ll want to include some high-level information about any solutions that you have developed, the products you offer, the market, other competing companies, and, finally, what type of funding you seek. The last part is essential. Sometimes people treat these teasers as high-level overviews but forget to include information about the actual investment opportunity. Make sure you have this information on your investment one pager!
Investors often choose their investments based on the team, not on the company, solution, or competitive advantage. The logic behind this is that a fantastic team can solve almost any challenge, whereas a poor team would squander even the best-run company.
As such, make sure you (briefly) highlight your management team. It doesn’t need to be substantial. Something like “John Doe, CEO/Co-Founder, 15 years experience in marketing and sales, including at three successful startups.” While that description is short, it contains a lot of information. Most notably, it shows the prospective investor that John Doe brings quite a bit of expertise in this particular domain to the startup.
If investors see a well-rounded, diverse team that brings multiple perspectives, they’ll be more likely to want to fund your endeavor.
If your company has developed any IP, make sure you include it on your one-page investment teaser. Having IP makes investors more likely to choose your company because it shows you have something unique that nobody else has. Therefore, you should highlight it on your teaser!
Of course, investors are looking at your company as a way to make money. They’re going to want to know the strength of your financials. Without getting too detailed, you should provide some critical financial information. Most people recommend 2-3 years of historical revenue and EBITDA. However, if your startup is newer, you might not have that. In that case, you should include what you can. Additionally, include your revenue projections over the next couple of years. You might also want to explain what will happen to make those projections a reality.
Again, you don’t want to go too detailed here. The idea is more to give a prospective investor a rough idea of the magnitude of your company. If they want more details, they can always ask you or get the info at the due diligence phase of the investment process.
In the company overview section, you can include some elementary information about the deal you want. In this section, you can get into specifics, like the market capitalization or a justification for the funding you want.
Again, like the financial information, the purpose of this isn’t necessarily to provide all the specifics but, instead, let investors gauge if they’re even in the same ballpark as you. For example, if you’re searching for a $200,000 investment, and the investor is only comfortable putting in $20,000, the deal probably won’t work. You can clear that up before you get to the negotiating phase!
First and foremost, it’s unlikely that a prospective investor would sign an NDA just to read this pager. Therefore, do not include any confidential information. You can say that you have a novel way of solving a problem, but don’t get into all its specifics. By following this rule, you’ll ensure that your confidential information remains in your hands.
You’ll also want to keep your content as concise and factual as possible. Do not include frivolous words or exaggerated phrases. Including something like “this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t miss!” doesn’t make investors want to invest in your more. It elicits quite the opposite reaction. Hyperbole like this makes you seem less credible, and investors will be less likely to choose your endeavor. Keep it concise, easy-to-read, and stick with the facts.
Finally, do not include unprofessional graphics, fonts, or other markings. Use Arial or Times New Roman as fonts – they’re straightforward to read. Keep your text a legible size. Again, the goal of this is to give investors the best possible first impression of your business. Don’t unintentionally sabotage that by including things that don’t reflect well on your company.
Typically, you’ll want to include the one-page investment teaser as something that investors can read before your first meeting. So, you’ll often want to attach that to an email that you send the investor. This email could come after meeting them at a networking event or making a brief elevator pitch to them elsewhere. You can also print off a few hard copies to give if you’re going to be at an event where you’ll think you’ll need a few of them.
As far as the distribution format, while you may type it up in Word, generally, PDFs are more comfortable to open and provide more consistency across platforms. Mac users may not have Word, for example, and try and open your .docx file in Pages. With PDFs, you can guarantee pixel-perfect accuracy across all computing platforms and mobile devices.
Yes, they do. There was an article arguing that angel investors should only accept pitches that include a one-page investment teaser. The reasoning is that writing these points down requires much more cohesive thought than creating a slide deck. It’s easier to “fudge” a slide deck and insert superfluous language. However, when it comes to writing, you have to be concise, precise, and convey the exact meaning.
As an interesting side-note, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is notorious for banning PowerPoints at his meetings. He felt that everyone just sat around, staring at slides, so he replaced the slides with everyone reading a short, six-page memo on the topic. People add comments to the narrative and then discuss it after.
That’s the same logic for why this is important to angel investors. It lets them see a cohesive vision and in-depth thought, not some catchy bullets on a PowerPoint slide!
It is worth noting that there are legal restrictions on non-licensed brokers selling securities. Most startups look to Rule 506 as a safe harbor when soliciting funds. This rule states that they only appeal to accredited investors. Therefore, these one-page investment teasers should be marketing documents, primarily, and not sales documents. It would be best if you always ran the teaser through a lawyer to ensure no securities violations are happening.
While you may not suffer immediate repercussions from a violation, if your startup is wildly successful and you’re attracting significant VC money, how you approached these early investments will matter quite a bit. VCs will be more reluctant to take a chance on a company that skirted the law (even if inadvertently) in the past.
It’s not that challenging to write the perfect one-page investment teaser! At its core, think of what you can highlight about your business in one or two pages. You’ll likely want to go over the team, your company’s background, what solutions you have, your IP, and so forth. This information is what you need to make your teaser stand out from amongst the crowd!
About the Author
Jonathan Hung is one of the most active angel investors in Southern California, his mission is to drive value creation within each portfolio company. In support of this mission, he serves as Co-Managing Partner at – Unicorn Venture Partners.
Jonathan and his team target investments in US companies that have global market potential with a focus on long-term growth expansion to East Asian markets.
Jonathan developed his investing prowess as a Managing Member for his family office fund, J Heart Ventures, which made investments in start-up companies such as Gyft, ChowNow, Miso Robotics, Clover Health, Bitmain, to name a few startups he funded.
Jonathan has various degrees from the University of Southern California, London School of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.