Delivering the perfect pitch is one of the biggest challenges all founders face, and they all do at some point, whether it’s explaining to their mothers what they do all day in the garage, or closing a million dollar deal with a hedge fund.
Pitches come in all kinds and sizes. Some investors will stop paying attention after 30 seconds; others will let you speak freely for as long as you need. More than an exact recipe, we have gathered the best tips from VCs, Angels, Founders and friends to give you an idea of the ideal pitch.
First of all: Keep it simple.
Just because you have 30 minutes to talk about your startup doesn’t mean you should. Plan a 5-minute elevator pitch and work on it until you can do it in 30 seconds. Your pitch time will vary greatly (Y Combinator pitches are 2.5 minutes), but if you can nail a 30 sec pitch, you’re done with the rest.
Be clear and memorable from the start
Introduce yourself and your startup with one sentence. You should have no problem introducing yourself, but try to describe your startup in a short idea. If you can compare your service to existing (and well-known) ideas, yours will be clearer without explaining more.
Bring the idea to life
How did you come up with this idea? What industry are you trying to disrupt and why? This information is important for investors to understand you, where the idea was born and whom will it affect. Share a story on how the idea came to mind after X problem arose. This will give your audience a framework to understand the idea. If you are really revolutionizing an industry, explain why and how.
Who is this valuable for?
Now that your audience knows what you want to do, they must understand how many people you can help solve the same problem for. Your market size is the best thermometer for the future of your idea. After all, if your idea solves your problem only, who will buy it?
How will it grow?
We now know what you’re solving and who is it valuable for. Now tell us how you plan to reach all these customers? How will you grow and what milestones will mark this climb. Investors need to know that you are planning ahead and understand the market/ industry not only now, but also in the long run.
What’s been going on so far?
Your audience now understands what you’re doing, for whom and how you plan to execute this. Now it’s time to show off all the work you have done so far (not that you haven’t before) and show your numbers. What’s your growth rate? How have your early adopters used your product and what have you learnt from them? Again, stories compel an audience so share your user’s stories.
Repeat, repeat, repeat!
Congratulations. You just packed an impressive amount of information into a short pitch with all the info to get your audience hooked. The problem? This is certainly not your audience’s first pitch, it may not even be the first or last one they’ll hear that day. Make yourself memorable, and reiterate on your strongest points. Assume your audience has serious ADD and guide them through your product, market and value one more time.
The secret sauce: sell the dream
Guiding your audience through the points above will sell a working business model and convince your investors that you are a solid destination for their money, but nothing sells an idea like passion!
Investors want to be passionate about what they are spending and want to see this passion in founders. When you pitch, don’t sell a business model only, sell an experience and make your audience feel like they are missing out on the future without you.
Now that you know how to prepare for your pitch, join us in our pitch nights and other events.