The Perfect Pitch: Getting Investors to Listen, Engage and Act

Written by Allison Way on . Posted in Get Funding

According to Guy Kawasaki, "the purpose of a pitch is to sell, not to teach. Your job is to excite, not to educate."

But how? How can you sell your idea, excite investors, get your message across, inform your audience, and remain confident all in one presentation? We've got some tips, tricks and secrets to creating the perfect pitch that will get your investors listening, engaging and acting.

Three strikes...you're in! The perfect pitch has to accomplish three main things in order to get investors completely interested in the business idea.

  1. Provide a clear, easy-to-repeat and exciting story about your startup
  2. Fit in with the other investments that the VC has made
  3. Beat out the other investments that the VC is currently looking at

In order to keep organized throughout a pitch to investors, most entrepreneurs need resources. Most successful pitches utilize a Powerpoint slide throughout, so we will be organizing this helpful guide in terms of "slides"—what you should put on each Powerpoint slide in order to get those VC's interested and tuned-in to your pitch.

Company Information and Introduction

The first two slides of your pitch should give concise company background information including company name, location, tagline, presenter's name and title. The intro slide should present the three or four key players in the company. Do not mention these people at the end of the pitch; instead, mention them at the beginning because investors are always very curious as to who they are! This establishes credibility for your idea or potential business.

Slide 3: Company Overview

In your third slide, give an overview of your company that fits with your core value proposition. In other words, answer this question: What unique benefit will you provide to what set of customers to address what particular need? Slide 3 should provide the foundation for the rest of your pitch.

Slide 4: Addressing the Problem

Investors are interested in ideas and new companies that solve problems. Start off your pitch with presenting a problem at hand that you want to solve. This is your opportunity to show that you understand the particular market segment and to frame your market analysis. Be sure to address the problem's size by using facts and statistics.

Slide 5: Provide a Solution

After presenting the problem, relieve the investors by offering up a solution—your business idea. State what you are specifically offering and to whom. Use common language that states concretely what you have, or what you do. You may want to include one extra slide in order to show how your solution fits in the value chain or ecosystem of your target market.

Slide 6: State the Benefits or Value

Your solution needs to have benefits and value to whomever you are pitching to. This is the "WIIFM" concept: What's In It For Me? Provide three or four benefits that you will provide. How do customers benefit? How do investors benefit?

Slide 7: Convince That You're the One

You need to convince investors that no one else can easily duplicate or surpass your solution (but make sure that this is a true statement!). Highlight the ways in which you are unique.

Slide 8: Acknowledge the Competition

Every business has its competition. But where do you get your edge? Present to investors what your competitive advantage is. Do not enumerate all the deficiencies of the competition, but rather, highlight how you excel beyond what they do. Discuss domain expertise, high-level connections, relationships, and intellectual property.

Many pitches include a competitive advantage matrix within this slide. A matrix provides a detailed list of competitors by category. Make sure you do your homework when creating this slide!

Slide 9: Present Your Market Strategy

The part of the pitch that most investors are interested in is your market strategy. What customers have already expressed some interest in your idea? Present the non-obvious, potentially disruptive elements of your marketing strategy.

Slide 10: Display Your Business Model

Your business model shows investors how you (and they) will make money. Explain your pricing, your costs and why your business will be profitable. During this slide, investors may test the depth of your understanding of capital by asking questions.

Slide 11: Show the Financial Projections

You must show your investors a 5-year financial projection. Show 2-3 key metrics that drive revenues, expenses, and growth (such as customers, unit sales, new products, expansion sales, new markets), as well as the revenue, expense, profit, cash balance and headcount lines. Be sure to prove to the investors that you understand the economics behind your business.

Slide 12: Include the Milestones

Outline how you plan to take in the funding. Include how much each round will be, the timing of each round, and map the funding against your key near-term and medium-term milestones. In this slide, include your key achievements to date. Investors would much rather see a measure of accomplishment table than a use of funds table.

Slide 13: Summarize

Do not waste your summary slide! Do not repeat what you've said throughout the entire pitch—instead, finish with a bang. Solidify the core value proposition, reinforce your tagline, and attempt to leave the investors in wonder and awe.

Remember: "the purpose of a pitch is to sell, not to teach. Your job is to excite, not to educate." Investors will be interested in what you have to say if you pitch the right way. Create your own perfect pitch. Then take a deep breath, get comfortable, and get ready to hit it out of the ballpark!