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15 Tips for Creating an Incredible Startup Pitch

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Delivery means everything. But in the competitive world of tech startups, your pitch is the difference between getting funded or going home empty-handed. Follow Leslie Bloom's 15 tips to make sure you walk away with the backing you need.

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15 Tips for Creating an Incredible Startup Pitch

  1. 1. AN EXPERTS EXCHANGE GUIDE Tips for Creating an Incredible Startup Pitch 15
  2. 2. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH 1 LEAD WITH THE NEED Grab their attention! The beginning of your presentation sets the tone for the rest of the meeting. Investor skepticism can be easily mitigated by immediately establishing that your product addresses a gap in the market. If your pitch doesn’t articulate both the need for your product and how your product fills that need, we have two words for you: hard pivot.
  3. 3. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH 2 KEEP IT SIMPLE Your presentation should be easy to understand, well organized and free of complicated numbers or highly technical terms. Going into detail about your development platform takes time away from demoing your product (and will likely bore your non-technical investors). Often, big numbers confuse listeners when not paired with proper visual representation, which leads us to our next tip...
  4. 4. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH 3 VISUALS MATTER If your market research includes big numbers, compile that data onto a clean, professional piece that you can pass out to investors while you’re speaking. This is your chance to show you’ve done your research and are a polished presenter. At the very least, make sure you write out the largest numbers in your presentation deck so your audience can visualize the data as you discuss it.
  5. 5. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH 4 CUSTOMER VALIDATION By the time you’re ready to make a pitch, be sure you have received feedback from potential customers. Tell your investors how you incorporated customer feedback into your overall product development, they’ll want to know the product has an addressable market. Perhaps the biggest piece of information to include: how much potential customers say they would pay for your product. Investors will ask that question regardless, so you might as well offer up the information.
  6. 6. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH 5 DEFINE A BUSINESS MODEL This sounds like a no-brainer, but many people think that an interesting product is good enough, and finding ways to make money can come later. Unfortunately, that’s only true for a select few. The more money you make, the more money lands in the pockets of your investors. Advertising revenue or charging $1 for an app is better than nothing, but you’ll need to think long-term. Investigate how your company can generate recurring revenue or target enterprise clients with deep pockets.
  7. 7. 6 KNOW WHEN TO SHUT UP After you’ve given your pitch and investors are done asking questions, it’s probably okay to interject one more thing about your product you left out of the initial pitch. However, it is not ok to introduce five more things you want them to know. If there is that much more left for you to say, your pitch was probably lacking in the first place. Your best course of action here is send a follow up email and hope for a second meeting. For the next time, be sure to revise your pitch to include those additional items, you’ll thank yourself later. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH
  8. 8. 7 DON’T GET DEFENSIVE Investors are going to ask questions and make comments about your product – that’s their job. While you might not like what they have to say, it’s important to keep your voice at an even tone when responding. Be sure to evaluate if it’s even necessary to respond to their comments, sometimes it’s best to just listen and take notes. If you don’t have an answer to their question, don’t try to evade it (they will see right through you), simply say something like “I didn’t come across that in my research, but I’ll be happy to follow up with you about that via email.” 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH
  9. 9. 8 TALK ABOUT MARKETING Marketing can often be considered a dirty word, but the truth is - it matters! One recurring question we heard at various Startup Weekends was “How do you plan to get your product in the hands of your customers?” Think long and hard about this question beforehand and be sure to incorporate an answer into your pitch or be ready to give a thoughtful response when asked. A good place to start is to investigate the marketing strategies of potential rivals or companies with similar business model, chances are their tactics will be learning lessons for you as well. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH
  10. 10. 9 BRAND YOUR PRODUCT Sure, you have a logo and a website, but have you thought about the type of personality your product or company might have? This greatly influences how your customer base will interact with your brand. If it targets enterprise clients or c-suite executives, you might need to stick with a professional tone. On the other hand, a product focused on students could use more playful language to describe its features. Identifying your product’s voice and personality should be a fun exercise in understanding how to differentiate yourself from the pack. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH
  11. 11. 10 USE HUMOR Public speaking is commonly listed as people’s biggest fear. As the presenter, it’s your job to overcome this fear! However, with your livelihood and big idea on the line, the situation can become all the more terrifying. Harness your fears to your benefit - it’ll give you that confidence boost you deserve. Often, incorporating a few (appropriate) jokes into your pitch will help put you and your audience at ease. Laughter really is the best medicine! 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH
  12. 12. 11 DISCUSS THE LEGAL STUFF This is particularly important if your product has deals with sensitive data or could directly compete with a litigious group of people. Do your homework before opening yourself up to criticism from potential investors. Identify potential issues early on, do your research and inform your investors of why legal problems won’t be a problem. Trust us, they won’t touch your product with a ten foot pole if they think otherwise. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH
  13. 13. 12 ESTIMATE GROWTH Yes, this is different than talking about your business model. Investors want to know how much money you think you could sell your product for and how many people you think you can get to use your product within the first 6 to 12 months after launch. They may phrase a question about the latter by asking “How many people do you think you need to have using your product to reach critical mass?” Think hard about your answer, run some numbers and be realistic. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH
  14. 14. 13 LEVERAGE SOCIAL Would your product integrate well with Facebook connect? Do it! Are you planning to market your app via specific social channels? Tell potential investors about it! Riding the coattails of a well-established social audience that likes to share new products is a big plus in the eyes of many investors. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH
  15. 15. 14 HAVE A TARGET When it comes to a target audience, the more niche, the better – especially if you business model includes a plan to make money by selling advertising. Be sure to give specific details about your target audience and show potential investors why that audience has an unfulfilled need for your product. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH
  16. 16. 15 MOVE PAST YOUR MISTAKES Fumbling over words might happen. Presentation glitches can get the best of everyone. Getting tongue tied is inevitable. But rather than break up the flow of the presentation to apologize, just keep going. If you need to restate something, restate it, but say you’re sorry and don’t admit to being nervous. Believe me, investors already know that. 15 TIPS FOR CREATING AN INCREDIBLE STARTUP PITCH