In part of the series on Pitching to Investors, we will share our views on an effective framework for pitching. Despite widely available resources on pitching, we find that founders somehow always end up confused.
In part 1, we discussed your primary objective of a pitch, what materials can be used to pitch along with a general framework on pitching.
Today, we will share a generic structure of a good pitch. This is nothing fancy or unique, but observations from numerous pitch decks we have had the privilege to look at.
In the next post, we will share how to take the next meeting, a product demo (if any), FAQs, handling investor questions, and final comments!
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.
What will we look to cover over this series:
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:
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!
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
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:
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:
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:
In our next post on this series, we will share our views on a pitch deck structure! Stay tuned!
It is vital for founders to conduct meetings seamlessly, control the flow, keep everyone a up-to-date, and drive towards the agenda at hand. Sometimes, it does become distracting when the flow strays from the agenda, or it starts becoming too technical which means some members start daydreaming about their lunch, or their next vacation. Don't you just hate it when that happens?
Whenever that happens, you can always fall upon some methods to quickly streamline the meeting and drive towards your goal.
a. Use Venn Diagrams
Why do we love the image of Ikigai? It just drives the point hard, and home!
Does not need elaborate explanations and time for people to understand. Visual representation is the easiest way to help draw attention. It does not matter if your diagram is correctly sized or accurate - it needs to invoke the mental capacities of everyone and make the meeting richer intellectually.
b. Do away with percentages, and use numbers
This is counter-intuitive, but hear us out. It is perfectly normal, and smarter to say "We have a 50% conversion rate". But think about it, we are so used to hearing percentages all the time. What if you say "We convert 1 out of every 2 users.... that means out of the 10 people sitting here, 5 of us can be buyers". This again ingnites the mental capacities of listeners.
c. Note down important points
Always have a notepad handy. You need not keep records as impeccable as minutes of the meeting. However any feedback, inputs, suggestions, changing body language, objections, questions need to be jotted down and revisited to understand why it happened, or how can you incorporate it to make your next meeting better.
d. Revisit some numbers or comments
It almost always helps if you can remember the context of a previous meeting, get everyone up-to-date, and then share a progress report. "If you remember when we last spoke you mentioned X, we've worked on it and I can confidently tell you that we have created 2X". This shows you pay attention, you work on inputs, and you know how to follow up. This, of course, only works if you actually did the hard work of following up!
e. Take a step back
Whenever you find the meeting going around in circles, politely request everyone to take a step back. It can be as simple as "Hang on, what are we trying to discuss - we want to find the best way to do X right? Can we discuss what defines success - and we can take it up from there". This prevents a meeting from straying, and people turning off after a point. Instead of that, you can take control, regroup, and work towards the goal in a time-bound manner. Nobody has 2 hours to spend discussing a point that was meaningless!
And there it is - simple methods to regain control of your pitch meeting and make it into a productive one for you and your team! If you have any suggestions, or personal experiences to share, please reach out to us. We'd love to hear from you!