What are the different kinds of startup pitches?

This article outlines a range seed or pre-seed fundraising pitches, depending upon the time available.  Series A and subsequent funding pitches are not addressed

The purpose of the pitch is to convince investors when you first meet them that they must learn more about you, and your company.  Investors will not write a check based just on the pitch.  Venture capitalists often invest in only 1 in 100 companies they encounter. The bulk of the information to the investor is provided by what you say during the pitch.  The pitch deck is not intended to be read as a standalone document.  Other documents, such as your executive summary, are be intended to be read as standalone documents.

There is a difference between a pitch (which is what the founder says) and the pitch deck (which are the slides)

The objectives of the pitch are:

  • Convince investors why the company must exist.
  • Be memorable – the investor must remember you the next day. Otherwise you won’t be called back.
  • Be professional – look and speak as if you already are the CEO of a successful company. This includes your body language, how you stand, and how you speak.
  • Create a trust, confidence, and emotional connection between the investor(s) and presenters.
  • Create the excitement and interest in the investors to learn more, while demonstrating your oral presentation skills and ability to have a Q&A dialogue.
  • Be able to communicate with an audience that has no previous information about you. Assume that the investors are not experts regarding your customers, your industry, or your technology.

The objectives of the pitch deck are to:

  • Support your presentation. The pitch deck is not intended to be read as a standalone document.
  • Help you tell your story and vision in simple human terms.

You need to answer the key investor questions:

  • Who are you?
  • Who is the customer, what is their problem, and what is your solution?
  • How will you make money?
  • How much cash do you need and what will you do with it?
  • How will you manage the risks?
  • How does the investor feel about you? Do they like you?  Do they think they might be able to trust you with their money?

Your approach is:

  • Engage the investors emotionally with the story about the startup.
  • Make a great first impression. The first few seconds can make or break you.

The following illustrate a range of pitches, depending upon the time available.  Pitches using slides are similar in terms of the slides used.  What varies is the amount of time the CEO/founder talks and goes into detail.

15 Word Positioning Statement

When someone asks you “what do you do”, you need to be able to answer in 15 words or less:

  • Who you target customer is.
  • The #1 benefit your target customer perceives from doing business from you.
  • The result of doing business with you.

I learned the concept of the 15 word positioning statement from Michael Hughes, Networking Guru.

Further information is available at: https://networkingforresults.com/

The 2 sentence Email Test

The Email Test”. Write up a two-sentence explanation of what your startup does then email it to a smart friend. Ask them to explain it back to you in different words. If they ask any clarifying questions, you need to revise your pitch. It’s important to revise your two sentence pitch because you can’t add explanations as you would in conversation.

Further information is available at:   https://blog.ycombinator.com/how-to-pitch-your-company/

 Your one-minute pitch

When you have only 60 seconds to make your pitch, the critical elements are:

  • Who are you? < 5 seconds. One sentence.
  • What’s the customer problem? < 20 seconds. 3-5 sentences.
  • What’s your solution? < 25 seconds. 2-3 sentences
  • What’s your ask? < 5 seconds. One sentence.
  • What’s the one sentence everyone in the audience needs to remember? < 5 seconds/

Further information is available at: https://www.techstars.com/content/community/rock-1-minute-pitch/

 Your two-minute pitch

When you have only two minutes to make your pitch, the critical elements are:

  • Describe the problem, using simple and easy to understand words. What is the customers’ need?
  • Describe how your solution will meet the customers’ need.
  • Describe the target customer (age, gender, lifestyle, etc.). Estimate the market size and the number of customers you can reach at each stage of your growth.  How are your differentiated from competitors?
  • What is your business plan to get, keep and grow customers? What will be your approach to marketing, distribution channels and partnerships? What will be your revenue model, and related costs. What will be your pricing model?

Further information is available at: (https://www.techstars.com/content/community/pitch-startup-idea/

 Three-minute pitch

When you have only three minutes to make your pitch, the critical elements are:

  • The introduction. What does your company do? Ideally in one sentence.
  • What’s the customer problem?
  • Who is the target customer and what is the solution?
  • What is the total addressable market, illustrated bottom up. g. each customer will provide $x in sales and we will have Y customers in Z months time? What has the customer traction been?
  • What are the relevant skills and experience of your team?
  • The conclusion. End with WOW!  List the 4 critical points you’d like the audience to remember: What are we building and for whom? Why hasn’t this been done before?  Why is it hard to do what we are doing? Why is this an opportunity not to be missed?

Further information is available at: https://blog.ycombinator.com/guide-to-demo-day-pitches/

 20 minute pitch

Your 20 minute pitch has 10 slides:

  • Title page, with you name, title, and contact information.
  • What’s the problem?
  • What does the customer see as your solution and your value proposition?
  • What’s your business model? g. how you make money, who pays you through what distribution channels, with how much gross margin?
  • What’s your magic? What’s your secret sauce?
  • Marketing and sales – how will you reach you customers?
  • How do you compare to the competition? Where are you better or worse?
  • Who is on your team and what are their relevant skills?
  • What are your financial projections and assumptions?
  • What milestones have your achieved so far? What are you asking for and what milestones will that ask achieve?

Further information is available at:  https://www.marsdd.com/mars-library/how-to-create-a-pitch-deck-for-investors/