How to Talk About Your Competitive Landscape In Your Investor Pitch

Donna Griffit
4 min readFeb 23, 2017
“Oh we don’t have any competitors.” Um — yes you do — and it’s great!

“Oh we don’t have any competitors.”

When I hear that from a startup I know it’s going to be a painful pitch session.

On more than one occasion I’ve had to awkwardly show a startup a competitor that they’d never heard of, sending them to do some homework before working on their pitch. (Hey, better me than an investor!)

First, let’s get something straight — competition is a great thing! With no Jerry we’d have no Tom, with no Roadrunner we’d have no Coyote and then there’s the Microsoft/Apple, Samsung/Apple, Google/Apple rivalries that fuel the tech game and keep things fresh and interesting.

So how should you address your competition when pitching to investors?

  1. Know your Landscape Inside and Out — Look under every tree and rock to find your direct and indirect competitors. Direct meaning they are doing something very similar to you and targeting the same audience, indirect meaning they touch on your target audience but solve their problem in a different way. Where do you find your competitors? Google is the obvious first stop (and set alerts for keywords of your startup so you find out if any new competitors emerge), Crunchbase and SimilarWeb can give information on competitors and here’s a great Quora post that gives other insights and tips. My favorite and most exciting find of the past few months is Wonder, an amazing site with analysts that for a low fee can do your competitive landscaping for you.
  2. No Trash Talking — Don’t ever say anything bad about your competitors — you don’t know who might be sitting in the room that’s an Investor/Board Member/Mentor of one of them. It also reflects badly on you that you have to belittle your competition to to make yourself look good. Try something like — “What Competitor A is doing is ABC, we do ABC plus we have a magic dose of XYZ…”
  3. Build on Your Competitors’ Success — If a competitor of yours just was acquired or received major funding, use this to show…
Donna Griffit

Storyteller and Pitch Alchemist for Startups who over 18 years has helped 1000+ startups and VC's raise over $1.5 Billion.