As a startup founder who has successfully raised capital and exited and also advised over 196 companies how to refine their investor pitch. I often get asked what a good pitch looks like. Here are 10 important tips to makes sure you include. I prepared this video for muru-D as I was advising the 2018 cohort 2 days per week on growth strategies, sales strategies and overall founder feedback to grow a successful company. Below is the transcription of the video. Dont blame typos on me it was the AI robots. I also wouldn’t do it in the order I described in the video. You often need to chop and change depending on your companies strengths. I think mostly you talk about competition and market sized after you have demonstrated the product - Get to Demo as fast as possible is always my advice.
My name is Dean McEvoy. I'm a serial entrepreneur, I've started a few companies and lived over in Silicon Valley. I came back here and started Spreets and sold it to Yahoo. I'm also helping advising the muru-D startups in this cohort of startups, which is very exciting, and super happy to be here.
So I want to talk to you today a little bit about what it takes to do a great pitch.
Understand your customer and their buying process Yes Investors have a Buying Process too
And so the first thing to understand is, You've got to understand your customer in any pitch, you've got to understand what is their buying process and investors are exactly the same, you are selling them and idea you, you're selling them the certainty that you're creating something really valuable. So what you've got to really do, first of all, understand their buying process, what's the process that an investor goes through to understand how to make an investment. So that's step number one,
What is it going to take to move them to just the next stage of the buying process
step number two is your job as the as the pitcher whether you be up on stage or face to face is not to close them on day one, it's to really kind of just work out how to move them to the next stage of the buying process. I've never heard of anyone going up on stage and, and an investor running out with the cheque and writing one straight away, there's a process that they go through. And your job is just to move into that next stage of the process.
Your first 20 seconds is the most important part of your pitch
Now, the first part of your pitch is the most important part. So the first 20 seconds of your pitch when you're standing up if you're on stage. So first of all, it's important to understand the environment of your pitch. I understand you guys are probably going to be up in front of a crowd, but maybe your pitch will be one on one. So make sure you understand the environment you're in. And then keeping in mind your goal is just understand what this person or this group of people think about me today, and how do I change their thinking, so that they will take the action that I want them to do, so that they will come up and give me a business card, so that they will ask me for our next meeting. So understand, how do you change their thinking about you, so that it moves it to the next stage.
So first of all, an investor, they hear thousands of pitches every day. So you know, you really got to stand out. And so like I said, that first 20 seconds, so you got to stand up and excite them about your problem, excite them about you being smart, and intelligent person who kind of do it and excited about the opportunity and making money and give them a little fear of missing out. Because actually, the only thing that motivates investors is the idea, they're going to miss out on the next biggest deal.
Start with an engaging story that also highlights your awesomeness & your authentic connection with the problem.
So once you've nailed your first 20 seconds, you've got them excited, they're leaning in, they're ready to kind of do the next the next part of the pitch, or I like to do at the start of a pitch is really engaging with a story that starts to do a few things. One, it'll, it'll often identify how smart and intelligent and clever you are, it'll also often identify your authentic connection with the problem. And then how, how you've gone about kind of starting this. So the most important thing is, is that you identify the problem clearly, so that people can understand it, articulate like your solution in a short succinct way. So try not to use the cliches that investors hear all the time of I'm the Uber of dog washing, because, they hear that a lot if you and if you have to rely on that to explain what you do. It's really as a last resort. If you can really just articulate succinctly what you do how you solve that problem.
The best thing to pitch is traction. The next best is team
Now, the best thing to be able to pitch in a startup pitch is traction. So if you can walk up and say, you know, we've already got 100,000 users were making millions of dollars, you know, that's obviously the best kind of thing to pitch is traction, now often in these early stage, you don't. And so the next most important thing to pitch is your team. So you've already you've already establish your credibility of how awesome you are as an individual and smart and you've uncovered this problem, you have an authentic connection with this problem, then the team that's going to bring this to light is going to be super important,
Dont pitch a business, pitch a movement
it's really important that when you're attracting people to your business, and and when you're attracting investors and other people to that you really pitch it as a movement. So no one wants to come and join a company so that, you know, you can come and help me pay for another set of golf clubs you go to make it seem like it's it's a company that people are joining that, they are part of. It's a we movement, it's not your company. It's not someone else's company. It's a movement that they're joining. And they're part of. So it's really important that you articulate your business as something bigger than who you are. It's not something that people are joining help make you rich, its a movement that they're joining to help make the world better. And so that's a really important distinction that'll help attract great team members to your teams.
So everybody is chasing a big market. So how do you stand out?
The next thing you need to talk about is market size. Now, everyone, everyone's going to pitch that they're in a billion dollar market. And all I need to do is get 2% of this market and they'll be multimillionaires. That's a very naive way of pitching about market. Yes, it's important to understand how big a market needs but everything's big market, what people really need to articulate is how they got out attacking the market. So Peter Thiel talks about this really well in his book zero to one that when you launch your your startup, you want to monopolize a very small market. So basically, you want to know that you're targeting the dog owners in Surry Hills with poodles and that market is is how you're going to address and monopolize that market. And then it's really important to articulate how you roll out to the next market so that it becomes a big and huge addressable market. That's a really clever way to understand and talk about market. So yes, it's a big vision we're attacking the pet food market, which is 100 billion dollar industry. But actually, specifically, what we're going to do first is about the poodles in Surry hills. And here's how we got to address that. So it's almost like talking about market but also go to market in the same time. So that's a really important distinction which will help you stand out from a lot of people that just need that 1% of people in China to buy their thing to make them a multi million dollar billionaire - so don't do that, please.
Competition - There isnt any right?
So make sure you've done your research, make sure you know, if there are competitors out there. And maybe if there's no one doing what you're doing, what are people in the market used as the next best alternative? So how do people actually solve that problem at present, because that is competition. Yeah, they may be nobody that builds your widget in your certain way, or has your software service that does it for free.
How are you going to sell this thing?
Now, it's really important if you're in the beginning , to understand how you're going to sell this process, or how you're going to sell this business. Because if you're required to go in and spend three weeks demoing and understanding and showing people this, and then you charging people $100 a month, you know, you're going to go out of business pretty quickly. Now, in the beginning, you might do that just to kind of learn about the market and to train your sales algorithm. But if that's your ultimate way of selling, then you can really out of business. So it's understanding what's the cost of acquisition of your customers, and then what's the lifetime value of the service you provide. And you need to tell a story of how that's going to be very favorable, obviously, low cost of acquisition and high lifetime value of customers.
The best way to show you are 10x better is to SHOW them.
Finally, you really just want to sum up with, say, how your business how your service is 10 times better than everyone else in the market. And I always find this is a nice way to finish, you know, articulate and show that your, your product is 10 times better. So if you build a product already, I probably would put, you know, a live recording or not a live demo live recording of a demo of what you're doing. And, and that's it, that's often a good way, I think, to kind of finish.
Remember, your number one job is about selling uncertainty, how do you convince me as someone who doesn't know you that you're going to do something that makes a difference as well - that what you are going to build is real. So your job is to get out there and sell uncertainty. And that's a whole combination of the things that I said here today
its about team.
It's about exciting people at the start, so that they lean in and and get involved,
its about articulating the problem and making sure you have an authentic connection to it its about clearly and succinctly nailing what your solution is. So people remember it and understand it,
it's about understanding the market and articulating your go to market in a way that's kind of clear and clever,
make sure you know your business model so that your actual cost of acquisition is less than the lifetime value and then
finally some up make sure you kind of clearly articulated how your product is 10 times better than the next best alternative in the market and the best way to do that is show them.
And that's always a good kind of closing moment, if you are face to face let them ask questions. If on stage summarise your key points above so they can remember you and ALWAYS finish with a follow up, ask what the next stage in the process is and or give them a reason to stay connected.
Make sure you do what you say you're gonna do. And if you do, you're going to nail it.