Two things could happen when you walk into a conference room full of VCs at your next pitch
One, that you could clam up and give a so-so presentation that doesn’t get your funding.
Or two, that you absolutely crush the pitch with a clear, engaging story that gets VCs competing for a piece of the pie.
Obviously, every startup wants scenario #2. But it doesn’t always work out that way. If this is your first time pitching VCs, you might not be sure what direction to take with your pitch. What’s the best way to kick things off? How should you end your presentation?
Instead of feeling sweaty palms during your presentation, go in with a level head. The right presentation will get you the VC money you need to go from point A to point Z—at warp speed.
Plan, write, and practice a killer pitch to win over a room full of investors to scale fast.
5 must-have components for an all-star VC pitch
There’s no such thing as a perfect presentation, but you can sure make the best of your pitches. Every great pitch follows a proven flow and pattern that gets results.
Clarify who you are, get VCs interested from the start, and secure the funding you need from the right partner. Use these 5 must-have components in your next VC pitch.
1. Set the tone
You should never shoot right out of the gates, asking for money. You need to ease VCs into the story behind your brand. Since humans make decisions based on emotions, the best way to get an investor engaged with your brand is to tell a story.
Whether you realize it or not, you’re a natural-born storyteller. All humans are. But jitters and stress turn us into data-vomiting robots once it’s time to give a presentation.
Please don’t do that.
Instead, set the tone with a story with this format:
- Start with the customer. This can be a real-life customer, a past situation, or totally made up. Either way, the customer should be the hero of the story.
- The problem. What problem afflicts the hero? Do they need to save time or money? Do they have an outdated process? Tell investors what’s keeping your customers up at night.
- The solution. Here’s where you shine. Introduce your business as a solution to the customer’s challenge. What problem do you solve for the market? Why is this the no-brainer solution for your customers?
- Today. How does your solution bring you to today? How many people are you serving now? Why are you here asking for funding?
You don’t need to tell a 30-minute story or anything. But this should be an emotional, interesting, and high-level overview of your business.
2. Your company
You briefly touched on your business during the story, but now you’ll give inventors more deets. Give investors a high-level view of your:
- Leadership: Who’s leading the company? What’s their experience?
- Processes: How does your business work? What are your processes?
- Operations: How does your startup get profitable? What products are in development right now?
Again, this doesn’t need to be a soliloquy about your org chart. Just give investors the info they need to understand who the heck you are.
3. The product
Next, give investors the nitty-gritty on your product. You can briefly mention things like features and specs, but the point here is to highlight why you’re a better mousetrap.
What makes you truly unique? Why are you different from everyone else who came before you?
If you have intellectual property (IP), that’s pitch gold. Let investors know if you have anything proprietary about your business.
Aside from your current product, you can also tell investors about where you want to go in the future. What products are in the pipeline? How is this a brand vision and not just a one-hit-wonder?
3. A path forward
The great thing about startups is that they grow explosively over time. VCs like investing in startups for that very reason. But that means you need to explain how your business will look moving forward.
Where are the opportunities? How will you take the business from zero to sixty? Over what time period? What’s your marketing plan?
Be very specific here. VCs want to see that you have a vision and a plan to move forward for the startup. If you have cost breakdowns and projections, even better. Slap some visualizations on your slide deck to emphasize your value.
4. Talk money
Now that they’re warmed up, this is your chance to talk numbers. But please don’t slap an entire Excel sheet into your PowerPoint.
VCs just need a high-level view of your financial data. Sure, you should always have more in-depth reports available as a handout, but you don’t need to accost everyone’s eyes with a wall of data.
Use data visualizations to help VCs understand your financial performance. Visualize your projections and financial summaries to perk up investors’ ears.
And don’t forget to touch on your capital needs, too. Preemptively answer VCs questions here, which will probably be something like:
- What will you use the money for?
- How much has been invested so far?
- How much do you own in the company?
- How much money are you raising in this round?
- Is this an equity deal, convertible note, or something else? What terms do you want?
Don’t be shy. You’re literally here to ask for people’s money.
The bottom line
You can’t tell your entire life’s story in a 15-minute pitch. That’s okay: you can’t put everything in your pitch, after all.
The purpose of a legendary pitch isn’t to transmit information. Your purpose is to persuade and engage with VCs. From there, you can answer questions and do due diligence on both sides. That’s the appropriate time to dive into the nitty-gritty of your data.
As you write your next high-pressure VC pitch, make sure it has these 5 components. They’re the key to giving an engaging, unforgettable pitch that connects you with the right strategic partner.