Striking the Perfect Startup Pitch: Part 1

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The key to success is finding the right tone

Capital. It’s something every business, and especially every startup, needs, and finding it is always a challenge. Approaching family and friends for loans or investments has its merits and its complex downsides, but what about finding business-savvy strangers who are willing to back your dream? How do you get them singing your tune?

For Venture Capital, It’s All in the Pitch

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and though securing funding with a single call or meeting rarely happens that first pitch is your most important. It’s your foot in the door, and your chance to share more of your vision with the people that can turn it into a reality.

1. Know thyself. According to Paul Jones, Chair of the Venture Best group, there are two kinds of entrepreneurs: people who want to stay their own bosses and obtain some measure of security and personal wealth, and people who want to build a business that can scale to a global enterprise and make lots of people wealthy. Make sure you’re the second kind, and that your pitch touts the value you’ll create for others, not an idea that simply makes for a viable business.

2. Keep it short. You’ve no doubt heard of an “elevator pitch,” and you should have one handy, but even your more detailed pitches should be brief enough to allow time for questions. You’re lucky if you get an hour-long meeting with a venture capital group; if you land it, keep your pitch to a half-hour of key points—how you’ll create value, in practical terms that aren’t too data-heavy—and practice to make sure you come in on time. Give them plenty of time for questions, and save the more in-depth analyses for later rounds and the due diligence period.


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