The basic thrust of pitching your business to investors — or to co-founders, or indeed, to yourself — is to portray confidence about what you are going to do with the investor’s money.
Investors invest in people. They seek strong, capable navigators of their financial future. You must demonstrate the skill and will to succeed, ideally skill born of experience and will born of hunger. Your startup must not be optional for you; it must be your sole focus. It must be your vision and your purpose. No one can be more excited about your company than you. No one can be more informed about your company’s business or its competitive landscape than you.
During the pitch, be prepared to have your assumptions questioned. If they like you, will they will try to shoot holes in your presentation. Be passionate, but always argue from data and evidence, not from feelings.
When pitching, you are on stage. This is an audition. Everything you do and say counts. So dress sharp. Be respectful. You should know the investor’s investment history. It’s all out there. Do the research. Google them 9 ways from the weekend. Why are you like what they like?
You need to tell them a clear, exciting story with the following elements:
- you’ve identified a big problem,
- having a big addressable market,
- for which you’ve devised an innovative and proprietary solution,
- which you can deliver with your awesome team,
- in order to generate substantial ROI.
Start strong. State what you do in one sentence. Formulate a captivating hook. Do not be mysterious or suspenseful. Be informative and direct. Be authoritative. By all means, be truthful. Do not exaggerate.
Max 20 slides, if you’re using slides. Ten is better. One take-away point per slide.
Showing is better than telling. Bring prototypes and handouts and diagrams and bright shiny objects. Measuring is better than guessing. Have data to backup your claims.
Don’t forget to ask for money. Make sure you know how much money you need. Make sure your company valuation makes sense. You need to know exactly how you are going to spend every penny invested. You need to reasonably confidently predict when you’ll be making money from sales and how much.
Be prepared to speculate on who might buy your company.
Break a leg.