Published on February 5, 2014
PITCHING FOR A SEED ROUND John Stokes | Partner, Real Ventures September, 2013 CONFIDENTIAL
The pitch isn’t a pitch It’s a roadmap for your business Its a window to your product or service It’s a decision making tool It’s a living document
It’s outrageously hard and time consuming to prepare Unless you really, really, really understand the opportunity, milestones & challenges ahead !
goal for today Help you bring clarity to order (ie how you should think about pitch structure) Not order to clarity (ie how you should structure your pitch)
COMPANY NAME “Catch Line” (Short, concise, no jargon)
The Brave Intro (give a sense of your “space” & size of your ambition) We are (Company Name) and we going to tell you how we are going to (something) (and don’t forget that the objective is to make money doing so !)
The Attention Catcher ‣ It’s not about your Company or Product !! ‣ Tell me something I didn’t realize about the world or about your industry ; or ‣ Tell me something obvious that I can easily relate to (perhaps something that frustrates or excites everyone - and I mean everyone!) ‣ It ‣ In should be something that will focus and narrow your audiences attention. either case, the attention catcher is your start to a “story” that will give you a lead into the next slide...
The Opportunity ‣ Sometimes this slide is referred to as THE PROBLEM, but often it can be thought of in terms of a “gap in the market” ‣ If you could provide “something” the problem would be solved or you would be able to attack an untapped market ‣ Please don’t say “(something) is broken” ‣ Limit saying anything negative - people “feel” negativity and it sticks with them .... even if they can’t remember why !
The Insight Slide ‣ Assume you’re never the first people to have seen the opportunity - so what is unique about the approach that your company is taking that will give you a: ‣ Short ‣A term competitive advantage long term competitive advantage ‣ Two companies that look similar at “a point in time” but are driven by different insights will end up in very different places ‣ Where you are going is more of a “competitive advantage” than what will get you there ...
The Greedy Slide ‣ Give ‣ a sense of scale for this size of opportunity for making money Remember that this is a pitch to an investor - she shouldn’t “care” about your product, just the opportunity you represent ‣ Give a degree of comfort that if you can just execute well the world is your oyster ‣ Investors see many ideas with potential but don’t invest because they don’t have faith that the opportunity can be delivered .... ‣ ... so once you get them excited by the opportunity, move on to execution and team - not product (unless that proves execution)
Option 1 - The Team Comfort Slide ‣ What is it about your team that should give an investor comfort that you can execute ‣ Past track record of execution ‣ Knowledge ‣ of the industry Just the highlights and only stuff that is directly relevant to execution (e.g. education per say doesn’t matter - only applicability of educational experience)
Option 2 - The “So Far” Comfort Slide ‣ What has the company achieved to date that proves in some way your ability to execute ‣ Stage of the product (beta, live, customers etc) and time frame of development (double edge sword !!) ‣ What ‣ If metrics are you measuring (explain why they are important first !) the team haven’t had startup success before this is more important than the Team Comfort slide - and in fact it’s often a good idea not to have the Team Comfort slide if there isn’t much on it
What Are We Going To Do Next Slide? ‣ What is the next “proof point” for your business? ‣ What would reaching this proof point mean to the validity of the hypothesis ‣ You aren’t going to prove you can win, but prove you have a chance of winning ‣ What would reaching this proof point mean to the viability of the business ‣ technology or market interest proven ? (would make investment less risky for follow-on investors and valuation would rise) ‣ Cash flow positive isn’t a necessary objective at this stage
Who Or what Is Trying To Stop You? ‣ What are the barriers to your eventual success, but more importantly what difficulties are you going to face in achieving your next milestone? ‣ Competitors ‣ Legislation ‣ Customer ‣ ? ? habits or embedded culture ? There is a fine distinction between a visionary and a dreamer - visionaries can see the hurdles too !
How Are you Going To Get There? ‣ This is a slide that shows you can take strategy and turn it into execution ‣ This slide shows that you understand exactly what you need to do to achieve your next proof point ‣ Provides key tactical steps that you are going to take
The Ask (with more greed on the side) ‣ What ‣ do you need to help you get where you are going? Investment (be specific about amounts) ‣ Anticipated ‣ Assistance ‣ Finish future investment (at the next milestone) other than money (smart investors) with greed: This “ASK” will provide investors with access to “AN OPPORTUNITY” that doesn’t come along very often
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