Pitch Perfect!

Pitching to investors is a challenge in itself. Your pitch is the single thing that could either get your business off the ground or plunge your idea into eternal oblivion.
Sometimes, even with well-planned presentations and numerous rehearsals, a pitch can go wrong. It is therefore of prime importance to hold a few things in mind as you begin your proposal for fund-raise.

Here are a few important guidelines on how to Pitch perfectly:

  1. The startup should prepare a pitch for no more than 5 minutes. You can always extend, expand and provide details in Q&A. But being crisp is extremely important.
  2. Typically Pitch needs 5 sections
    • Problem: What Problem are you solving?
    • Market: How big is this problem?
    • Solution: How are you solving the problem? What is the current traction, feedback, testimonials
    • Team: How are you best poised to solve this problem against anyone else.
    • Ask: How much funding do you need and why. How will you do it if you don’t get funded versus if you do get funded.
  3. In the pitch, you should establish that you
    • Are a world class team
      1. Even if you don’t have any big credentials, highlight accomplishments from the past that would make someone want to bet on you
    • are solving a BIG problem for a LARGE number of people.
      1. Investors look at it to understand how big a company can you potentially become
      2. Investors want to invest in companies that will become 200 – 1000 Crore in a 5-7 year period. If you are someone who is unable to think at that level, chances are you won’t attract big and serious investors
      3. If you are able to think at that level, then paint them a picture of how are you going to accomplish this target. It should be crystal clear to you. Think big and plan things. You’ll get several questions that you don’t know the answer of. Find the answers to those questions.
      4. Then pitch to your mentors and people whose opinion you value. Let them punch holes in your pitch and ask you difficult questions. Find the answers to their questions as well.
      5. Establish that you are actually capable of working out your plan. This can be done by initiating conversations with potential customers and getting letters of intent.
    • Have a great product that works well
      1. Find the most important feature that your product has. Ideally, this should be the USP (unique selling proposition) of your product.
      2. Demo this for 1 minute. This demo should be flawless.
    • Encouraging traction / Some early users or customers
      1. Share about your early customers and their feedback
      2. Talk about your revenue and the growth you have been experiencing month on month
      3. If you are a consumer application, share your MAU / DAUs
    • Teach them something about your space that they did not know.
      1. This is an important point and you should not take it lightly. You know your business well. Talk about user behavior or other fundamental insights uniquely available to you out of operating this business and in this space.
  4. Have extra slides for the investor’s questions.
    • Questions can be to test your understanding or to actually evaluate your startup’s suitability for funding
    • Don’t try to justify your point, try to absorb what the investor is saying. Even if the man/woman is speaking out of his/her ego, there would be something to learn from his/her point of view. Try to be a person who is mature and hungry enough to be able to do this. Many good startups get rejected because of their founders’ arrogance and unwillingness to take feedback/correction
  5. Practice your 5 minute pitch at least 10 times in front of the mirror.
    • Now practice it 10 times in front of someone else (perhaps your mentor or your business partner) and take their feedback

Contributed by: Amit Singh
Edited by: Ujjwal Trivedi

By Amit Singh

Amit Singh is the co-founder of Headstart - India's largest early stage startup community. He has a keen interest in startups, technology and design. He runs an award winning product engineering firm called Wow Labz in Bangalore, India. He has invested in multiple startups via Wow Labz as well. He has also cofounded Design Day - a pan India design community