PITCHING FOR A SEED ROUND
John Stokes | Partner, Real Ventures
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)
(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
(and don’t forget that the objective is to make money doing so !)
The Attention Catcher
not about your Company or Product !!
me something I didn’t realize about the world or about your industry ; or
me something obvious that I can easily relate to (perhaps something that
frustrates or excites everyone - and I mean everyone!)
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...
this slide is referred to as THE PROBLEM, but often it can be thought
of in terms of a “gap in the market”
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
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:
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
The Greedy Slide
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
a degree of comfort that if you can just execute well the world is your
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
is it about your team that should give an investor comfort that you can
track record of execution
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
has the company achieved to date that proves in some way your ability
of the product (beta, live, customers etc) and time frame of
development (double edge sword !!)
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?
is the next “proof point” for your business?
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
would reaching this proof point mean to the viability of the business
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?
are the barriers to your eventual success, but more importantly what
difficulties are you going to face in achieving your next milestone?
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?
is a slide that shows you can take strategy and turn it into execution
slide shows that you understand exactly what you need to do to achieve
your next proof point
key tactical steps that you are going to take
The Ask (with more greed on the side)
do you need to help you get where you are going?
Investment (be specific about amounts)
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