Part two of a three-part series focusing on lessons I have learned along my entrepreneurial journey.
Entrepreneurs are often unsure of how to pitch their startup or ideas to investors. My experience as both an angel investor for early-stage companies and my research on how investors make decisions has sharpened my senses on what investors may consider a good pitch. I have a few key recommendations for entrepreneurs to consider.
First and foremost, entrepreneurs need to come prepared with an understanding of the pitching process. Secondly, have different presentations available.
Now, when you think of the pitching process, you might often think of the U.S. TV show “Shark Tank.” While the investor’s questions on the show are typical, the depth and amount of the questions, as well as the timeline are radically different. For example, as opposed to a startup company being funded within 10 minutes, it often takes 30-120 days to get funded by angel investors.
As you prepare for your big moment, think of pitching to investors as a series of steps, not a one-shot process. Your goal is to get to the next step. You need to be ready to pitch on a moment’s notice, which is why you will need at least a few different types of presentations for different types of investors.
You will need what is often referred to as an “elevator pitch,” which is often less than two minutes. This pitch is only designed to pique the investor’s interest. Have this pitch with you at all times. If you get to the next step, you should have a brief presentation of five minutes or less. You should also have a brief business plan available, about five pages or fewer.
Always consider that one pitch does not fit all. Remember who you are pitching to and create separate presentations for different audiences. Remember, investors want to know the size of the market, the revenue growth, the management team, financials and exit opportunities.
Lastly, be sure to prepare a series of pitches in different time lengths, which include the elevator pitch, a five-minute pitch and a full pitch that is about 12-15 minutes long. By coming to potential investors prepared with these items, investors will feel more confident in your product.
*Featured photo: Sergio Cardenas with startup InSolar talks elevator pitches with Richard Sudek.
Photo by: Amy Vong