An Attractive Startup Fundraising Pitch Format

Before the pitch:

The entrepreneur sends their pitch deck in advance to the investor(s).

The pitch deck contains essential information regarding the investable startup and the investing opportunity: the startup’s market size, how the market size was derived, a product description, the product’s status, its primary distribution method, the startup’s business traction, progress on business metrics, team biographies, location, founding date, funding-to-date, current funding stage, what the new funding will be used for (and why), IP status, the competitive landscape, corporate status (incorporation status / how the company is organized, the company’s legal location and its attorney of record).

Include anything that an investor will likely have questions about given the startup’s business, category and industry — e.g., if the product / service is regulated, then include the regulatory status of the product / service. Include anything that is especially compelling about the business — e.g., attractive customers, patents that have been granted, etc.

The pitch:

  • [Company name] [makes, offers, sells, etc.] [A] for [B].
  • The market for [A] is [$XX].
  • Our product / service does [describe in a few words or single phrase].
  • [Use an analogy or comparison if appropriate.] We’re building the [C] for our market.
  • Our product / service is [describe product status].
  • We sell / distribute our product by [describe the primary distribution method].
  • We’re [describe traction].
  • We’re [describe progress on key metrics].
  • We’re [describe growth rates if applicable].
  • [If the founder has a compelling background then emphasize that here.]
  • My background is [describe background].
  • The team includes [Simply give a general description, e.g., “3 people. I am the CEO. Q is the CTO. R is the Head of Product.”] [Be sure to mention who is leading distribution if it’s not the CEO. If it is the CEO, be sure to say so.]
  • We founded the company in [date] and have been [describe the work effort to date, e.g., “working full-time on it since then.”]
  • Our competitive advantages are [describe differentiators and advantages].
  • We’re raising $[target raise].
  • At a valuation of $[valuation].
  • [Show target milestones that follow this round or verbally describe them.]
  • We’ll use the money to achieve these milestones, which we know will position us well for our series [next series initial].
  • We know this because [describe why you know the milestones will position you well for your next round].
  • Questions?
  • [Answer questions.]
  • [Have discussion.]
  • Are you interested?

Tips for interacting during the pitch:

  • Ask if the investors have read the pitch deck.
  • If an investor says, “Got it. I understand,” move along. Even though you have a lot to say on a given topic, they are indicating they have the necessary information and/or understand the concept.
  • Most likely the investor will have specific questions, especially if they’ve reviewed the deck and thought about the business. You will want to create space for those questions.
  • Even though you have a lot of info you’d like to impart, the info that matters and is necessary to convey is relatively focused for the first pitch.
  • If you capture the investor’s attention and align with their goals, which you won’t really know until you have a dialog with them (either in advance of the pitch or during the pitch), they’ll continue the discussion and process.
  • Your goal is to respect your time and their time, operate efficiently and knowledgeably, engage them in a discussion and ask if they are interested.
  • It’s best not to think of a pitch as a proselytizing event where one is seeking to convert the investor.
  • Investors see many investments, they will view the event as a potential step towards a relationship, developing the opportunity and possible investment.
  • Investors have specific goals and are looking for specific things. Not every good business will be a business that fits with their goals.
  • Treat investors as a category, develop a pipeline and avoid fixating on a specific investor.
  • Your goal is to efficiently find a match, not convert outliers.