Pitching your startup idea to potential investors is a tough ask, but there is no alternative if you want to secure funding. With several companies eyeing the same funds, a startup pitch can separate you from the rest. It is crucial for you to make your pitch intriguing with a great story around it. While you may be feeling nervous and excited about it, here are a few key pointers you need to take into account to create a great startup pitch.
Let’s face it, stories sell better than anything else. While it is good to include all critical technical information, most entrepreneurs make a critical mistake of not covering the story of their company. A great story about the journey of your business, the founders, how you discovered the problem and the difficulties faced gives a human touch to your pitch. The end of the story should create inquisitiveness about the problem and how crucial it is to solve that problem.
You would want to include all the information that you think is relevant to the presentation, but you should refrain from doing so. The best way to ensure that your presentation is a success is to follow the 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint suggested by Guy Kawasaki, a marketing expert, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist. Ideally, your presentation should contain 10 slides that you can explain within 20 minutes with no font size below 30 points. Even though you may have an hour for the presentation, this method ensures that you have more than sufficient time for actual discussion.
Yes, business models are necessary for any startup pitch because ultimately investors want their money back. However, for early-stage startups, it is also paramount to include information about customer traction towards existing customer base. You should incorporate testimonials from customers who have tested the product and loved it. You can also include significant milestones that you have achieved so far in this section. Additionally, a roadmap for future milestones can really make a difference.
Information about competitors is an absolute must in your pitch. You need to explain how your product or service is better than your competitor, the pricing difference, and any similarities. If any of your competitors have been acquired, you can also include some information about it. If you think your business has no competition, you would have to look again. Your potential customers are using some service, so there always is competition.
There are different school of thoughts when it comes to, who should do the talking during a presentation. However, it is recommended that only person should do the talking, preferably the CEO. This reduces the chances of any blunders that arise when multiple people present the pitch. It is worth noting that at the same time it is also important to talk about the team. You need to include their backgrounds and how it impacts the present company. It is also essential for the investors to hear your team members speak, so let them speak during the Q&A session.
Research the potential investor before even thinking about meeting them. If the investors are not interested in your niche, you will end up wasting both of your time. Before you meet the investors, send them a direct PDF file for reference. Do not send a Dropbox or Google Drive link, it will just increase barriers, and your presentation might not be seen. Lastly, while you may think that your idea is ‘one in a million’, asking a potential investor to sign an NDA creates an unnecessary hurdle. If you are unsure, don’t share any highly confidential information.