Technologies, business models, and economic conditions change pervasively. But when it comes to winning the hearts, minds, and investments of venture capitalists, some past methods remain unchanged today.
Pitching is hard – I know, because I was an entrepreneur before I became a VC. But as I’ve observed, some entrepreneurs sabotage their own efforts by neglecting pitching fundamentals that are, in effect, table stakes.
So you’ve got a revolutionary startup idea that you’re ready to pitch to investors? Great. Now make it count by using the guiding points below to build the narrative around your startup idea.
The Pitch Content
Even if you exchange key information with a potential investor before an actual meeting, you should still include it in your pitch materials. Chances are, the information will be new to others at the meeting.
- What is the market problem or opportunity?
- How does your product or service solve that problem or address that opportunity?
- What is the market size and growth rate?
- Describe your technology and its unique aspects.
- What is the competitive landscape?
- Highlight your core team and their strengths.
- What is the current and target state of your financials?
If you land a meeting to pitch a VC, congratulations! Now it’s time to prepare for the big day. It’s always obvious to me when an entrepreneur has prepared – or not.
- Do research on the VC firm and its partners.
- Decide which team members will attend and participate at the meeting – don’t bring colleagues who will sit there silently.
- Rehearse your pitch to fine-tune the timing and duration.
The Pitch Meeting
The unifying theme for pitch day is being aware of the audience and adjusting your approach accordingly.
- Show up on time – first impressions matter.
- Focus on the disbeliever in the room.
- Encourage discussion – pause and ask questions.
- Answer questions immediately rather than saying, “I’ll cover that in an upcoming slide.”
- Mix the medium and demo with video, apps, etc.
- Ask for feedback or next steps.
The Post Pitch
The pitch may be over, but you’re not finished yet. The follow-up is an important piece of the pitch process, so finish strongly. Don’t wait to hear back from VCs – even if you wowed them, they’re busy creatures.
- Send an email that includes answers you didn’t have during the meeting, an attachment of your pitch materials, and any additional relevant information.
- Connect with VCs on social networks, if you haven’t already.
- Follow up with another email if you don’t hear back after a few days.
- Stay in touch, even if the VC turns down your pitch–you might have a pivot or new idea that may interest the VC.
Don’t underestimate the importance of covering the basics outlined in this quickstart pitch guide. These are the fundamentals that carry significant weight. And if you nail all of these areas and you’ve got a revolutionary idea, then your future looks bright.