In this new series of Pitching to Investors, we will share our views on an effectively framework for pitching. Despite widely available resources on pitching, we find that founders somehow always end up confused.
Pitching to Investors
What will we look to cover over this series:
- A framework for pitching
- Bringing context to a pitch
- Finding a structure for the pitch
- Share some tips on pitching
What is the objective of your pitch?
You used to walk up to the door of the fancy VC office with laptop in hand and freshly updated pitch loaded and ready to go. You now are Zooming your way in a pitching process. But at the end of the day, what are you hoping to accomplish?
Your primary objective of a pitch meeting should be to get the next meeting. You can use the pitch to:
- Share relevant information that can arouse interest
- Try to throw light on your business
- Tell your story
- Leave them wanting for more
But that’s not it. You can also use the first meeting to establish your credibility and create the base for an on-going relationship. You can also use the meeting to seek and work on feedback and demonstrate that you are coach-able. And at the end of the day, you want to show them that you can be a fun or interesting person to work with!
Is it a sales pitch?
Yes and yes
Yes – Its a sales pitch but not for your product or service, but of your business
Yes – If your product succeeds, the company can create a lot of value and the investors can generate large returns
Do I need to be A+ during pitching?
The Indian startup ecosystem has become more ‘American-ised’ in its way of working. So its more about ‘Sell me this pen in 30 seconds’ coupled with smaller teams that run on low bandwidth and even shorter attention time spans. Having said that, an investor pitch is not a make it or break it for you. There are other resources available like:
- Elevator pitch: A 30-90 second verbal communication that arouses interest
- One pager: A one page document that contains relevant information packaged succinctly
- Executive summary: A longer document which deep dives into certain points
- Business plan: No plans work, but planning is everything!
At Malpani Ventures, we do not fuss over a pitch. In fact, we like if it can be a simple phone call where we can understand the background of the founding team and covers the following:
- Why did you start? What was your hypothesis at that point?
- Where have you reached today? How did you validate your hypothesis? What are the learnings?
- Where do you wish to reach in 3-5 years? And How?
How can I be better at pitching?
At the end of the day, whether it is a pitch, or a sales call, or a job interview – some common themes remain the same. Having said that, here are some of our views:
- Your business is the superhero. You are the narrator. Your deck is a supporting actor.
- Do not read from your deck, let the slides support your overall narrative, and focus on telling your story
- Do not try to educate people in the room, instead throw light on how you reached where you have
- Practice different pitching scenarios – 1 on 1, 1 on many, 10 min pitch, 60 min pitch and so on..
- Use different font sizes, images, visuals, graphs etc to attract attention
- Keep a standard pitch, but use different variations (long vs short, high level vs deep dive, examples vs summary)
- Your deck does not need full sentences, it just needs to convey your views
- Be yourself!
In our next post on this series, we will share our views on a pitch deck structure! Stay tuned!