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Pitching
Masterclass
2023 Edition
1. Who am I
2. Funding Basics
3. How to
fi
nd investors
4. How to contact investors
5. The Funding Game
6. Startup Financing Sources
7. What investors are looking for
8. The Three Types of Pitches
High-Concept Pitch, Elevator Pitch, Pitch Deck
9. Addendum: Know Your Metrics - The Basics
10.Addendum: Pitching Tricks
11. BONUS: Airbnb’s
fi
rst Pitch Deck (went on to raise over $6B to date)
THE
CONTENTS
FULL VERSION
pitchingmasterclass.com
FREE SAMPLE
vidarandersen.com
VIDAR ANDERSEN
• Startup Founder
• Educator
• Corporate
Innovation
Whisperer
MEET YOUR TEACHER
PEOPLE
I PITCHED
IN PERSON
Pitching Masterclass - 2024 Edition. The definitive guide to raising money for startups.
PLACES
I HAVE BEEN
FEATURED &
RECOGNIZED
Pitching Masterclass - 2024 Edition. The definitive guide to raising money for startups.
CO-FOUNDER
THE RHINELAND PITCH
GERMANY’S LARGEST PITCHING EVENT
I HAVE
TRAINED
OVER 1.700
STARTUPS
HOW TO
PITCH
FIRST
THING
FIRST
ARE YOU A
NEW COMPANY
OR A STARTUP?
REALITY CHECK:
IF YOUR COMPANY
CAN GET A
BANK LOAN
YOU ARE NOT
A STARTUP
BOTH
AWESOME
BUT
DIFFERENT
FINANCING
EXECUTION
SCALABILITY
DIFFERENT
THIS IS
FOR PRE-SEED,
SEED, TO
SERIES-A STAGE
STARTUPS
IF YOU ARE A
NEW COMPANY
WRITE A
BUSINESS PLAN
THAT IS YOUR
VEHICLE TO GET
A BUSINES LOAN
IF YOU ARE
A STARTUP
THIS IS
FOR YOU
THE
BASICS
An investment
is the next step
a
ft
er
fi
rst having done
some interesting sh!t
on your own.
Not the
fi
rst step…
…unless your name
happens to be
Zuckerberg, Jobs,
or Musk
- aka you’ve
done sh!t before.
Investors
do not exist
to give permission
to start anything
or to make gold
out of crap ideas
nor sh!tty teams.
source: steveblank.com
SHOULD
I RAISE
MONEY
NOW?
REALITY TODAY
WARNING
REALITY CHECK:
STARTUP PITCH
COMPETITIONS ARE
SUCCESS THEATRE
BULLSH!T
STARTUP
VANITY
THEATRE
TRUE
NORTH
REVENUE
GROWTH
EXIT
BUT…
WHERE ELSE ARE
YOU GOING TO
GET THE TRAINING
PRO TIP:
NEVER MISTAKE
COMPETITIONS
FOR PITCHING
INVESTORS
HOW TO
FIND
INVESTORS
OTHER FOUNDERS
Reach out and ask about their experience with their investor,
possibility of a warm intro of you to them.
ANGEL LIST
Look for startups in your vertical and
fi
nd out who’s investing
in it (and see above).
CRUNCHBASE
PitchBook, CB Insights, and your local / national listings, e.g.
Deutsche Startups (and see all above).
LINKEDIN
Beware that people w/ “investor” in title o
ft
en aren’t and that
“cold calls” usually won’t
fl
y, so better get a warm intro.
EVENTS
Local demo-days, LAUNCH, SxSW, WebSummit, etc where
investors are out to meet new founders in-person already.
HOW TO
CONTACT
INVESTORS
“There’s a virtual line
of thousands of startups
wanting to get a meeting
with an investor, so a warm
intro helps you bump to the
top of the list”
— VENTURE HACKS
ABOUT
NDAs
FORGET
NDAs
Investors see thousands of di
ff
erent
pitches (many similar to yours) a
year and won’t sign anything that
will make them legally liable for
any information your share
- they will think you’re a n00b if you
ask them to sign an NDA - so don’t
WARM INTRO
From other founders
From other investors
From Domain Experts
3
2
1
Pick up the phone and call everyone you know,
who knows investors well, and will listen to you.
Email everyone. Ask! Call in all your favours to get the
attention of middlemen, someone who can give you
a warm introduction:
“Can you suggest just one person we should be talking
to? We’ll
fi
nd our own way to him or her,
we won’t use your name.”
— VENTURE HACKS
COLD CALL
One-Line Ping
Lead with Traction
Done the Research
3
2
1
ONE LINE PING
Reach out per mail, LinkedIn, or Angel List with your High
Concept Pitch and ask if you can keep them updated
on traction / signi
fi
cant milestones as a one-liner say
once a month - if yes, build a relationship over time
LEAD WITH TRACTION
If you already have interesting traction, you might want
to do a cold call leading with your traction numbers
and bluntly asking if they’ll take your deck and a
meeting
DONE THE RESEARCH
You might be sh!it out of luck, not connected, alone on
a virtual island - then do your research about who
would be your ideal investor, reach out to them and
explain the hell out of why they are right to invest
REALITY CHECK:
COMPETITION
IN THE PAST
VS
TODAY
PAST
IVY LEAGUE
You were where and what you graduated
SPECIAL CONNECTIONS
See above and below
FROM RELATIVE WEALTH
No money in pocket already, no startup
- much less investor capital available
MOSTLY HARDWARE
Di
ff
erent costs to set up startup
- a lot of $$$ needed
TODAY
ANY IDIOT
Hardly anybody cares if you’ve graduated
NO SPECIAL CONNECTIONS
Almost everybody’s got the Internet
to connect and build a network
FROM NEAR ZERO WEALTH
No money in pocket, much less of a barrier
- never been more risk capital available
MOSTLY SOFTWARE
Di
ff
erent costs to set up startup
- close to zero costs
REALITY CHECK:
CAPITAL
AVAILABLE
VS
COMPETITION
TODAY
COMPETITION
CAPITAL
WARNING
REALITY CHECK:
THE
INVESTOR
IS NOT YOUR
FRIEND
REALITY CHECK:
INVESTORS ARE
COMMODITIES
YOU ARE
THE PRIZE
THE
FUNDING
GAME
YOU
LEAD
INVESTORS
FOLLOW
STAY
IN THE
DRIVER’S
SEAT
THIS IS A
NUMBERS
GAME
“I did eighty pitches to
di
ff
erent venture capital
fi
rms. Eighty.
All of them failed.”
— Tony Fadell, iPod/iPhone/Nest
SHOP
AROUND
ANYTHING
NOT YES
IS NO
MOVE ON
TO THE
NEXT ONE
DO NOT
MARRY
THE FIRST
YES
LEVERAGE
THAT YES
PLAY
INVESTOR
AGAINST
INVESTOR
MAKE THEM
FEAR
MISSING
OUT
ON YOUR
ROUND
FOMO
AND
THEN…
BOOM
PARTY
TIME
CLOSE
YOUR
ROUND
AT A
VALUATION
YOU CAN
LIVE WITH
ON
YOUR
TERMS
BUILD
YOUR
DREAM
DECK SENT
EVERYBODY KNOWS
Once you’ve sent a pitch deck to an investor, you
should assume any and all investors know you’re
raising the round - the investment world is a small one
- and don’t be surprised if your pitch deck ends up
somewhere you didn’t intend it to.
REALITY CHECK:
DECK SENT
CLOCK RUNNING
Once you’ve sent a pitch deck to an investor, the
round is uno
ffi
cially running - you’ve now got ca. 3
months to close, a
ft
er which it is going to become
exponentially harder (investors wondering why you
haven’t closed yet and thus getting cold feet).
REALITY CHECK:
STARTUP
FINANCING
SOURCES
SELF-
FUNDING
YOUR OWN
SAVINGS
FFF
FRIENDS
FOOLS
FAMILY
NOT EQUITY, NOT LOAN
GRANTS
PUBLIC &
PRIVATE
ACCELERATORS
*The real kind that gives you money (10-500K)
- in exchange for a small piece of your equity
(0-10%) - as a lump sum payment up front,
not in rates, not for services, not depending on
milestones.
BUSINESS
ANGELS
INDIVIDUAL
INVESTORS
VENTURE
CAPITAL / VC
INSTITUTIONAL
INVESTORS
CORPORATE
VC / CVC
CORPORATE
INVESTORS
STRATEGIC
PARTNER
A COMPANY
OR A CVC
CROWD
FUNDING &
CROWD
FINANCING
CROWD FUNDING
No equity changes hands, also known as
“pre-sales”, depending on the platform
you get to keep all the money (minus their
rake) raised - even if you don’t reach your
funding goal
CROWD FINANCING
Equity funding through a large pool of
smaller cheques from average people
(unsophisticated investors) represented by
(hopefully) a single point of contact and
contract for you, terms may vary (wildly)
BOOT-
STRAPPING
FINANCING
THROUGH
REVENUE
FINANCING FOR STARTUPS
•Self-funding (Your savings or trust fund)
•Friends, Fools, Family (Not a loan, no equity - usually)
•Grants (Public & private)
•Accelerators (That provide funding)
•Business Angels (Well-todo individual or syndicate of such)
•Venture Capital (VC)
•Corporate VC (CVC)
•Strategic Partners (Usually a corporate or CVC)
•Crowd Funding (Pre-sales) & Crowd Financing (Equity, pooled)
•Bootstrapping (Funding through revenue - Crazy idea, right?)
VENTURE
CAPITALIST / VC
VS
BUSINESS
ANGEL
VENTURE CAPITALIST / VC
Glori
fi
ed funds manager, invests other
people’s money, gets paid if you die or not
(2 & 20), 1 of 10 bets must pay o
ff
- you’re just
a number, can write much larger cheques
than Angels, but must see +10x returns
potential, most o
ft
en in later rounds because
of this - investment thesis more risk averse,
must be able to purchase signi
fi
cant stake for
it to play out, doesn’t like to co-invest (won’t
admit it), usually does follow-on.
BUSINESS ANGEL
Individual investor investing own
money - o
ft
en exited founders - and
because it hurts losing own money, their
bets must be spread into more baskets
and into smaller cheques than VCs,
Angels must be in early round to get
enough equity for their smaller cheques,
may not need to see potential 10x
return, may or may not co-invest, may or
may not follow-on (o
ft
en not).
ANGEL SYNDICATE
A group of individual investors
investing their own money but
pooled together in a single
investment, can write larger checks
than individual Angel, invests in
early rounds, may also co-invest
with lead VC investor(s), may or may
not do follow-on
THAT’S
THE DIFFERENCE
EVERYTHING
ELSE IS NOISE
WHAT
INVESTORS
ARE LOOKING
FOR
TTT
TEAM
Compelling persuasive people
TRACTION
Exciting results so far
TREASURE
Something special here
WHAT
FOUNDERS
PITCH
WHAT WE PITCH
Problem / Need, Solution,
Market Size, Goto Market,
Team, Competition,
Financials, Ask,
BLAH BLAH BLAH…
WHAT
INVESTORS
HEAR
WHAT THE VC HEARS
1. Can f*u money be made here?
- Is the problem or market size f*ing huge?
2. Are these the right people
who can make me f*u money?
- Right obsession, mindset, & skillset?
3. Will these people be able to raise money
from other investors if I don’t say yes?
- Do I fear missing out on this round?
“Most VCs are looking for extreme
outliers, and when evaluating
your startup, they’re asking
themselves if this business is one of
the 15 businesses that year that
will get to $100MM in revenue.”
— Marc Andreessen
TL;DR
THE ONE SINGLE TAKE-AWAY
TL;DR
What problem / need
are you solving,
(for whom), and how
are you solving it?
THE
THREE
PITCHES
THE THREE PITCHES
High-Concept Pitch
Elevator Pitch
Pitch Deck
3
2
1
1. The High-Concept Pitch gets people’s
attention, gives them incentive to let you
keep talking
2. The Elevator Pitch convinces investors to
ask for (and hopefully read) your Deck
3. The Pitch Deck sells investors on taking a
meeting
4. A Meeting will lead to a funding decision
THE PITCH PROGRESSION
A high-concept pitch
introduction captures an
investor’s attention, a
great elevator pitch
gets a meeting, in the
meeting you present
using your pitch deck.
THE
HIGH
CONCEPT
PITCH
“Summarise the
company’s business
on the back of
a business card.”
— SEQUOIA CAPITAL
THE INTRO
HIGH CONCEPT PITCH
- Distills your startup’s vision in a single sentence
- Also the “We are the X for Y” pitch
- The “ice-breaker” when introducing yourself
- A shareable “twitter pitch”
Also the perfect tool for fans,
intermediaries, and investors to help
spread the word about your startup
BE BRIEF
One short sentence…
BE FAMILIAR
…that a 6 year old can
understand
DON’T MAKE ME THINK
HIGH CONCEPT PITCH
IF I DON’T
UNDERSTAND
I WON’T
SHARE IT
PRO TIP:
What problem / need
are you solving,
(for whom), and how
are you solving it?
HIGH CONCEPT PITCH
EXAMPLES
- “Facebook for dogs.” (Dogster)
- “Flickr for video.” (YouTube)
- “We network networks.” (Cisco)
- “The Chrome of media players.” (Songbird)
- “Massively Multiplayer Online Learning.” (Grockit)
- “The entrepreneurs behind the entrepreneurs.” (Sequoia)
- “Create your own social network.” (Ning)
THE
ELEVATOR
PITCH
https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Elevator_pitch
HISTORY
THE
INGREDIENTS
THE ELEVATOR PITCH
Traction
Product
Team
Social Proof
3
2
1
4
PATTERN
RECOGNITION
The 4 topics most
salient to investors
KEEP IT
SHORT
PRO TIP:
DON’T OVERDO IT
The Elevator Pitch should be
somewhere between 30 and
60 seconds - max.
Practice, practice, practice.
TRACTION
TRACTION
NUMBERS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
“Traction is a measure of your product’s
engagement with its market, a.k.a. product/
market
fi
t. In order of importance, it is
demonstrated through pro
fi
t, revenue, customers,
pilot customers, non-paying users, and veri
fi
ed
hypotheses about customer problems. And their
rates of change [over last 6-9m].”
- VENTURE HACKS
PRO TIP:
GOT EPIC TRACTION?
Then you’ll most likely be able
to raise funding regardless of
product, team, or social proof
- so lead with that.
PRODUCT
PRODUCT
NOT YOUR PRODUCT MANUAL
“High-level” - from 10k feet description - of
the product, where it lives (web/mobile/
cloud/physical/combo, etc), what status it
is in (PoC, MVP, Alpha, Beta, Version 4, etc),
now is not the time to demo (a
ft
erwards if
asked to do so by the investor)
TEAM
TEAM
WHY YOU ARE THE RIGHT FOR THIS
Highlight past accomplishments of the team
(if your team has been successful before,
investors may believe it can be successful
again, focus on the team’s complimentary
skill-sets and why you are the ones that will
succeed, and mention yourself last to segue
into you telling the story of how you
discovered the problem you’re solving
SOCIAL
PROOF
SOCIAL PROOF
PROVE YOU’RE NOT JUST A CRACKPOT TALKING SH!T
Investors do not want to be the
fi
rst to
fi
nd out that you are
full of sh!t. That’s why they’d like you to show that someone
else already took a look at your stu
ff
-
Be it in the form of testimonials from paying customers,
rave user reviews on social media, publications, patents,
domain expert quotes, winning awards - anything that will
prove that you have already exposed your solution to the
world and the world has already reacted to it.
Any founder can talk about their own sh!t - fewer can show
other people talking (positively) about their sh!t.
PRO TIP:
An Elevator Pitch is like a cake recipe - you need to
have the right ingredients to make a tasty one, (and
in this case it doesn’t really matter in wich order you
add them).
To make it your own, you can emphasise the
ingredients than makes you special;
Got a unique personal connection to the Problem?
That’s your main ingredient right there!
Add the wrong ingredients,
and it becomes tasteless.
REALITY CHECK:
BE QUICK
60 seconds tops (the amount of time at a
cocktail party you can talk about yourself
before it becomes socially awkward).
NEVER FORGET THE 4 INGREDIENTS
Add to the 4 only if it adds signi
fi
cant
value (never subtract, still keep the max
60s time).
ELEVATOR PITCH
EXAMPLE
PRODUCT
“Ning lets you create your own social network for anything. For free. In
2 minutes. It's as easy as starting a blog. Try it at: https://ning.com
THE WHY (Bonus Points)
We built Ning to unlock the great ideas from people all over the world
who want to use this amazing medium in their lives.
TRACTION
We have over 115,000 user-created networks, and our page views are
growing 10% per week.
TEAM + SOCIAL PROOF
We previously raised $44M from Legg Mason and others, including
myself. Before Ning, I started Netscape (acquired by AOL for $4.2B)
and Opsware (acquired by HP for $1.6B)”
THE
PITCH
DECK
THE
PITCH DECK
IS WHAT YOU
SEND TO
INVESTORS
THE
PITCH DECK
IS WHAT YOU
PRESENT IN
A MEETING
THE
PITCH DECK
IS NOT A
BUSINESS PLAN
IF AN
INVESTOR
ASKS FOR A
BUSINESS
PLAN…
ASK IF
THEY MEANT
A PITCH DECK
IF THEY
INSIST ON A
BUSINESS PLAN
THE
PITCH DECK
IS WHAT YOU
SEND TO
INVESTORS
THE
PITCH DECK
IS WHAT YOU
PRESENT IN
A MEETING
RUN
RUN
RUN
PRO TIP:
No sophisticated early-stage
startup investor worth your
time will ever ask you for a
“Business Plan”
DATA
PITCH
VISION
PITCH
VISION
DATA
PRO TIP:
PRE-LAUNCH = CREATE A VISION PITCH
Sell your vision like no tomorrow
- it’s all you’ve got right now.
POST-LAUNCH = CREATE A DATA PITCH
Be prepared to show all your current metrics
- so help you god if you don’t know them.
or don’t have any
REALITY CHECK:
THE PRE / POST LAUNCH PARADOX
Most times shortly a
ft
er a spike at launch
absolutely nothing happens - that means that
at an early stage, you might not have much
data, much traction to show an investor.
Yes, that means that it sometimes easier to
raise money just before launching instead of
immediately a
ft
er launching.
ALL TEXT
30PT FONTS
OR HIGHER
PRO TIP:
3-5 BULLETS
PER SLIDE
IDEALLY ALL YOUR TEXT
PRO TIP:
REALITY CHECK:
PRAGMATIC REASON
Thou shalt not commit biblical
proportions of text on each slide.
SAD REASON
Most investors are (still) older males
- and we don’t see that well.
PITCH
DECK
CONTENTS
END OF
FREE SAMPLE
CONTINUES ON
pitchingmasterclass.com
Pitching
Masterclass
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