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How smart founders use design prototypes to pitch seed investors

Mansha Kapoor
November 1, 2022

Startups around the world are launching groundbreaking, innovative technologies as solutions to solve various bottlenecks in our daily lives, as well as professional fields. Today, the option of creating new applications to help consumers is open to many. However, in order to stand out and acquire the required funding to get their idea up and running, founders need to come up with specific ways and means to persuade investors to take out a chunk of their money and invest in the idea. 

It is often difficult to convince investors, understand their perspective and focus on the areas that might seal the deal at the time of pitching your startup idea. For this, having a visual aid to support your pitch, i.e., creating a design prototype that helps the seed investor see and understand your plans more clearly, is essential. Visual aids or design prototypes are famous for bringing life into your pitch and helping trigger emotions, enthusiasm, and feelings that compel investors to take positive action, i,.e. purchasing or investing in your startup idea. 

Significance of design prototypes for onboarding investors

Prototypes are a great way to sell your SaaS idea to investors creatively and engagingly. Design prototypes allow founders to practically pitch their ideas with a live, working example of what they have in mind. The best part about using a design prototype for pitching is that investors can see the product in action, understand the features and functions better and be clear about the intent of the application. Prototyping allows you to present your ideas conveniently and comprehensively. Besides, design prototypes will enable the founder to test the application at a rudimentary level and foresee the bugs and glitches, user experience, and more before making it available to the users and potential investors. 

In order to convince seed investors that your startup idea is a beneficial investment and that having a stake in your brand will be profitable in the long run, you must understand how to pitch your idea using design prototypes. You can follow a few steps to create a successful, unique prototype. 

1. Understanding your product

Before taking your product to the investors, you must analyze its pros and cons, the problems and bugs you may face during development or launch, and how it will impact your users. Additionally, understanding and explaining how it will be profitable for your investors can help you pitch your product successfully. Creating a design prototype will help you experience your product as well as explain it better. 

Today numerous people want to add value to humanity and make processes more accessible and functional. The competition is enormous, due to which getting funded for your startup idea might seem like a distant dream, even if yours is a million-dollar idea that can create a positive impact across the globe.  Having a product pitch that is not only full of well-researched content but is also self-explanatory and enables customers to foresee its potential is the key to the success of your startup.

Preparing a pitch like that requires you to do significant market research, understand the needs of your target audience and analyze how viable your product is for use. A design prototype aids you in implementing, testing, and marketing your product way before you finally launch it. It not only gives customers an idea of the product at the time of elevator pitches but also creates excitement and anticipation that affects sales in the future as well. 

2. Understanding your audience

The pitch meeting is your chance to meet and convince your investors that your product or service is advantageous for customers and stakeholders. However, with the knowledge of your audience's preferences and inclinations, you will be able to win them over. Remember to do your research on your potential investors before the pitch meeting. Adding a design prototype to your presentation can help your audience see your ideas live and make more informed decisions. 

3. Creating an engaging, interactive, and comprehensive prototype 

Design prototypes help in illustrating the final product, enabling the investors to study its functionalities and allowing founders to segregate a target market for the same. However, this is only sometimes possible with a working prototype, which is not only well thought out but also well designed. The initial step towards creating a winning prototype for your SaaS product is to brainstorm a product goal, the objective behind the development, and how it adds value to your startup, the customers, and investors. Alongside, designing and creating a final prototype to use for pitching to the investors can be an uphill task if you need to become more familiar with prototype developing tools such as Figma, Adobe XD, Invision, and more. 

5 tools to create interactive prototypes

Design tools help create interactive and unique visuals or prototypes that provide a solid foundation for the product you are seeking funding for. Here are the top 5 design tools you can use to create interactive UI/UX prototypes for your pitch. 

1. Figma: Figma is an all-encompassing design tool that is popular for its collaborative and user-friendly features that facilitate UX designers throughout their projects. Figma comes with flexible styling options that users can tweak at will to maximize their creativity while creating eccentric prototypes. With Figma, designers can not only control and adjust the appearance of texts, and grids, along with other elements used in the visuals but also benefit from interactive plug-ins like Autoflow, Figmotion, and more, to illustrate user flows and create animations, respectively. 

2. InVision: InVision is a personal favorite of many designers due to its consistent upgradation of functionalities, in-app tools, and the convenient design experience it promises. InVision is the host of many powerful design tools that enable users to implement their vision and creativity and seamlessly share it with others. Besides many features, InVision is specifically known for its handy vector drawing tool, its repeatable elements that can be tweaked sitewide, its choice of visual effects, and its animation tools. Lastly, the reason behind InVision's huge fanbase in the UI/UX design community is its collaboration and communication features. InVision allows users to draw, add notes, and provide feedback to the developers. It also enables them to collaborate effortlessly with InVision Spaces and its handy developer handoff feature for developers. 

3. WebFlow: Webflow allows designers to develop a high-fidelity prototype that can also be a live website, complete with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This has become a rather favored feature since it accomplishes two tasks simultaneously- creating a working prototype and having a live website. Webflow also offers an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, an impactful CMS, and the ability to create advanced animations, transitions, and microinteractions. Besides, it also provides UI/UX designers to collaborate easily.

4. AdobeXD: Adobe XD is a vector-based software popular for its plethora of tools that provide designers with ample flexibility while creating animations, transitions, interactions, and more. AdobeXD offers users the ability to play with the tools and features to create high-resolution, dynamic prototypes, as well as work simultaneously on Adobe family applications such as Photoshop and Illustrator. You can conveniently edit Adobe images (.psd files) in the application itself. What's more, you can also use plug-ins. One of them is the Anima App- a design-to-code platform where designers can turn their designs into interactive prototypes or convert the prototypes into codes with the help of Adobe XD and the plugin.

5. Sketch: Sketch is probably the most beginner-friendly design software in the market. Unlike other UI/UX design tools, Sketch does not have a learning curve. You can dive right into creating awesome prototypes and visuals from day one! It is an industry favorite for creating wireframes and prototypes due to its feature-packed UI. Besides, Sketch’s functionality is popular in the design community for its uniformity, reliability, and consistency. Along with a well-designed user interface and an option for shortcuts, users can reuse elements sitewide with the help of a smart layout feature that changes their dimensions according to the inside content, promising ease of use and efficiency throughout.

Final Thoughts

Prototypes are an excellent way for innovators to dive deep into their ideas, dig up inspiration, and analyze their products before launching them in the market. Prototypes also help founders in detecting any errors in functionality or design flaws before it's too late. A working prototype is also convenient while comparing multiple versions of the same product and tracking its progress and evolution.

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today to nail your pitch with unique, interactive prototypes and SaaS applications!

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Mansha Kapoor