How to Judge
a Startup Pitch
teten.com // @dteten
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Judging businesses on stage is a performance art.
Investment Search Process (# Companies)
Profiled initially 20,850 ~3-6
Target Selected 1,315 ~3
Met 1,047 NA
Due diligence 577 2
Invested/launched 541 1
Deals as %
[i] Available at http://angelsoft.net/a/venture-valuation , as of twelve months ending March 17, 2010.
Based in part on http://larrycheng.com/2009/10/01/the-categories-of-risk-in-the-vc-brain/
VC Investment Risk Assessment
Types Of Risk Risk Assessment
Product risk • Does it work?
Market risk • Adoption?
Competitive risk • Existing and potential competitors?
Financing risk • Can the team raise money?
Execution risk • Business development, operational
and sales skills?
Team risk • Breakup risk?
Exit risk • Out of angel investors’ control
Get the logistics right
• Speak into the microphone.
• Arrange screen so you can see it without pain.
• Pick the seat by the moderator, and/or
closest to the audience.
• Research the audiences and the companies.
Master your elevator pitch.
• Stage, focus, check size
• Discuss your personal area of responsibility at the firm.
Choose and demonstrate a personality
Meet the players
• Get the business cards / contact information for the other
speakers, moderator, and sponsor
Always be helpful
• Make pivot suggestions
• Talk about unsolved problems
Cold call the audience
• Mention fellow judges
• Mention the sponsor
• Mention anyone in the audience
How to judge startups
How to speak on a tech panel
How to moderate a panel
How to be a great conference speaker
• And many books on this topic available on Amazon
• Partner, ff Venture Capital, early-stage technology venture capital fund, one
of the best performing seed- and early-stage venture capital firms in the
• Previously serial entrepreneur and technology investment banker
• Advised clients such as Goldman Sachs Special Situations Group, Icahn
Enterprises, LLR Partners ($1.4b fund), Birch Hill Equity Partners (C$2B
fund), and other institutional investors
• Harvard MBA 1998, Yale BA, both with honors.
• Teten.com / @dteten
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