How to Pitch Your StartupThe Three Pitches You Need to Master


THE HIGH-CONCEPT PITCH

This is the short-enough-to-fit-on-the-back-of-a-business-card summary that describes your business. It's the "we're the X for Y" pitch or the 140 characters or less @twitter pitch. By using known concepts and ideas, you evoke people's interest and capture their imagination in one single sentence - and you enable people to understand and share what you are about.

It's is the ice-breaking introduction at parties and events: "Hi, I'm Chad - I'm creating flickr for videos!" you say as you shake the investor's hand. (Yeah, you guessed it - That was YouTube's high-concept pitch). Hopefully the investor you've just introduced yourself to will say "That sounds interesting. Tell me more!". What do we proceed to tell them next?

THE ELEVATOR PITCH

Now that the investor has invited us to continue the conversation, we continue with a 30 second executive summary that contains the following ingredients: Traction, Product, Team and Social Proof. Although you want to make it sound less like an executive summary and more like an entertaining story you'd tell a friend or family member. And use the ingredients like you'd cook; Use what you have at hand and emphasize what you think will impress the most. Whatever you do, don't go much over 30 seconds. Consider that the elevator pitch concept originally came from Wall Street where the only way to present your new ideas to the management used to be stepping inside the elevator of the office skyscraper with your boss and pitch them the 30 seconds it took to arrive at their floor. Much like the boss was captured in the elevator and couldn't run away, most people won't turn you down or run away for the 30 or so first seconds of a conversation even if you are a bore.

Let's say your name is Marc Andreessen. Your elevator pitch would perhaps be something like: "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: http://ning.com We built Ning to unlock the great ideas from people all over the world who want to use this amazing medium in their lives. We have over 115,000 user created networks, and our page views are growing 10% per week. 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 investor would hopefully then say something like "That sounds fantastic. You've got to send me your deck!". So what do we send the next?

THE PITCH DECK

It's the 13 magic slides that will hopefully lead to an investment decision. It should contain 1. Cover 2. Mission 3. Summary 4. Team 5. Problem 6. Solution 7. Tech 8. Marketing 9. Sales 10.Competition 11.Milestones 12.Conclusion 13.Financing. And no - you don't need more than 13 slides and of course you'll have any number of extra details in the backup slides.

Prepare the presentation in Keynote or PowerPoint using 30pt or larger fonts. Export it as a PDF file and send it to investors. Practice pitching and presenting the contents of the deck in anything from 2.5 to 7 minutes until you could do it in your sleep. Now hope you'll get an invite to pitch the investor you sent the deck to. If you get invited, you'll usually have somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes to pitch them. Make sure the meetings have partners and not only associates present if you want a funding decision and beware that any answer they give you other than a yes is a no.

SUMMARY

The high-concept pitch gets people’s attention and acts as an incentive to let you keep talking. The elevator pitch convinces investors to ask for your pitch deck. The deck sells investors on taking a meeting with you. And that meeting will lead to a funding decision.

THE SLIDES FOR THE ABOVE VIDEO

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Who am I?

I’m Vidar Andersen and I don’t talk about myself in the third person. I’m a Norwegian hack(er), entrepreneur, startup founder, (micro) investor, educator, learner, speaker, advisor, helping large companies innovate faster - and an internet software industry veteran of +21 years. I love to solve problems with technology and help great people succeed.

On my entrepreneurial journeys so far, I've had the fortune to pitch some of the most famous and well-respected startup investors and tech journalists out there and I've been invited to pitch publicly on stage around the world. It's been a roller coaster ride that has taken me from the frontpage of The New York Times, CNN and TechCrunch to helping other founders succeed faster.

Because one of the things I learned from my Silicon Valley mentors is the importance of helping others like you. So I'm sharing my pitching secrets and experience to help you understand what investors are looking for, master your pitch and successfully raise that round so you can move on to the more important things of building a great product and growing your business.

My presentations on startup entrepreneurship have been featured multiple times internationally by e.g. SlideShare, and recently Germany's largest business publication "Wirtschafts Woche" named me one of the most important people in the German startup scene.

As an authority on startup pitching, I've taught over 500 startups just like yours how to pitch successfully since 2013 as a coach and moderator for the monthly Rheinland Pitch, Germany's longest running and largest startup pitch event.

People I've Pitched in Person

Some of the people I've pitched in person include Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee, Investor), Don Dodge(Microsoft, Google Ventures), Steve Blank (father of the Lean Startup, Angel Investor), Robert Scoble (Tech Blogger Legend), Lori Greiner (Investor, Shark Tank), Yossi Vardi (Mensch, Legendary Israeli Investor), Mike Butcher (Mr. TechCrunch Europe), Zach Klein (Founder Vimeo, Investor), Ben Parr (Ex Mashable), Robin Wouters (TNW, Tech.eu), John Bradford (TechStars London), Daisuke Minamide (Investor, NTT DoCoMo, CyberAgent Ventures), Lars Hinrichs (Founder XING, Investor), Christian Thaler Wolsky (Investor, Wellington Partners, Paua Ventures), Christoph Janz (Mr. SaaS Metrics, Managing Partner Point Nine Capital), Daniel Waterhouse (Partner, Balderton), Kurt Müller (Partner, Target Partners), Philipp Möhring (SeedCamp, Angel List), Gilad Novik (Investor, Horizon Ventures) and many more.

Places I've Pitched on Stage

Some of the places I've been invited to pitch my startups on stage include South By Southwest (SxSW) in Austin TX, the Web Summit in London, Le Web in Paris, Tech Cocktail in Austin, C'n'B in Cologne, Pirate Summit Cologne, Campus Party Berlin and more.

You can also book me in person for an on-site Masterclass if you're representing a pitching event, an organisation, a corporation looking for help on pitching internal ventures, or startup institution like an accelerator or incubator, book a free Open Office Hour with me if you're a startup founder or student and apply for the next round of the Rheinland Pitch to receive free pitch coaching by me.

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