Pitching Your Startup
This article is written by Clinton James, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.
Andrea Barrica is a venture partner at 500 Startups and started a company called Indinero about 5 years ago. She is a Pitch Coach and has managed to help a number of startup companies to tell their stories.
Speaking to Startup Istanbul, the biggest problems are never communicated by the kind mentors. Know that no one is as interested in you as you might think they are. The cost of being boring is getting to be normal.
Always have an elevator pitch. Knowing what is the most interesting thing about your business. If you haven’t launched your business yet, then it should be something about your team or your market.
As you prelaunch, be aware that you need to build a big vision and means of penetrating the market. The team is fundamental and could be inclusive of a previous founder of a company that exited successfully or someone with a deep network and tech experience. Things like knowing each other for a long while don’t stand a chance for the investors during a pitch. “Map-Jam founders were people who knew each other for 50 years, met in a geography class.” Such can only be used for pre-launches, not when pitching to investors.
Have an order of level of importance when pitching. Firstly, traction, revenue or KPI, which are the most interesting thing about a company because people don’t have to believe in the delusion functionality, quantified numbers move the investors. Secondly, if traction is unavailable, then focus on the team, bring out what makes it outstanding.
Thirdly, technology, is there a flexible technology owned in the business? Ecommerce may not be as different, but be able to defend things like applications. The traction, tech and the story of the team actually wraps all together. What is an amazing traction? Always say the percentage growth rate in a monthly basis so as to give details of the futuristic projections that can prove that something is growing every month. If there is something really important in your slide, don’t go back, try have another similar one as a proof point.
And fourthly, delivering the pitch has to be educative, motivational or inspiring to the investors.
She encourages to practice a 60 seconds pitch for the purpose of assessing clarity, boredom and delivery as a feedback. Share the essential things and take out the big words. Be specific on the product, for example, “We provide a hardware that pairs with a mobile app and prevents cars from being stolen.”
If you’re in a crowded space like content creation, food delivery or anything that has clear competitors, then differentiation becomes crucial in the pitch and communicate why it is better.
Make it feel like a story and let the tips mesh together. Pitch out loud, slow down and find out the most compelling value about your business.
If an investor doesn’t understand what you do, they won’t invest. They are keen on knowing the problem, the opportunity and the customer.