Written By: A.J. Rounds
As a member of the founding team at RevRoad, I’ve reviewed hundreds of pitches and learned a few things that may be helpful for you as an entrepreneur.
Bring Your A Game
When you pitch your company to venture capitalists, investors, or other partners, bring your A game. I’m not just talking about the 10/20/30 rule coined by Guy Kawasaki (although, also extremely helpful). I’m referring to answering crucial questions in your presentation.
Pitching is an art, and there are few who do it well. Out of the entrepreneurs I’ve seen pitch, about 25% present extremely well, while 20% pitch on an average level and give the basics. The remaining 55% need to read this article.
My goal in writing this is to help you secure the resources and partnerships (in some cases Venture Services) you need to succeed.
What should you include in your pitch?
Let’s dive in.
Know your customer
Before you begin building your pitch, answer the following questions.
- Do you know your audience?
- Have you identified your target market by needs, demographics, geography, and ability to pay?
If not, that’s step 1. It is also helpful to understand what their experience level is when it comes to using your product or service. What do they currently say about your company?
Now you are ready to begin constructing your pitch.
Can you explain what you do or offer in one sentence? If not, please practice.
Frame it in terms of the problem your target market has and how you solve it.
Additionally, ask yourself if your market is big enough. Is your solution good enough? Putting your audience through a long, tedious exercise of trying to understand what your company does, the problem you solve, and how you are different from other options in the market will not help you.
Make it quick, easy, and obvious.
Revenue Model, Projections, Timeline, & Financial Outlook
Remember, often you are pitching to an audience that is financially minded. Be sure to spend time on your business model or revenue model.
Questions you should answer include:
- What is your revenue model? Is the revenue recurring (preferred)?
- Do you have multiple streams of revenue?
- What is the price point of your product and corresponding profit margins?
- What is the lifespan of your product or service?
- How have you funded your business to this point?
- Who else is on your cap table?
- What does an exit look like for you and when?
- What is your current valuation?
- Are your financials and projections realistic?
- What is the timeline to revenue milestones?
One of the things I expect to hear about when listening to a scalable company pitch is traction achieved.
Maybe that’s a revenue number. Or, if you are pre-revenue, maybe that traction number equates to followers, an email list, or even submitted pre-orders.
Closely related to traction is your market size. You should also be very familiar with this information.
Please don’t present an unrealistic TAM when pitching your business. I often hear the statement, “If I can just convert 1% of the population of China or the U.S. market, then we will have achieved our goals.” This is an instant turnoff for educated investors or partners.
Talk more about your Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM) or what portion of the market you can realistically reach.
Defensibility & Competitors
In your pitch, include how your product or service is unique and defensible. Do you have intellectual property or patents filed?
Risks are mitigated when your closest competitor can’t easily copy your value proposition—which brings me to competition.
Who are your competitors? Are they well-funded? Do they have large market share? Where might your product overlap with theirs? There are many templates available that can help you create a competitor analysis report.
Discuss your team. Who are you? Who are your teammates? Why did you get into this vertical?
Talk about your successful exit(s) or epic failure(s). Maybe even both. This shows you’re an experienced entrepreneur that understands the roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship. If done right, talking about these items will give you credibility and show your passion for your company.
If you have an advisory board, which is highly recommended, discuss who those individuals are and the value they bring to the table.
It’s also helpful to mention who’s working full time in the business and who is not. This is critical. At RevRoad specifically, we seldom work with companies that don’t have at least one founder working full time in the business.
Summary and CTA
Include a concise summary and clear call to action as the last slide of your presentation and boom, you are ready to pitch!
As someone who listens to entrepreneurs pitch for a living, I recommend that you follow these guidelines. Your chances of a successful pitch will skyrocket.
Whatever the pitch event, be it the annual Entrepreneur Competition hosted by RevRoad, a pitch to become a RevRoad portfolio company, or a community pitch competition like the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit Competition, incorporate these tips and you’ll nail your presentation.