Over the past 10 years or so I ´ve been involved in a great deal of entrepreneur pitch training in Norway, geared towards raising money.
I just conducted a two day workshop where I was training a startup team to train entrepreneurs and thought I would share some fresh takeaways in no particular order of importance:
- You do not need to pitch like an American to be a good pitchwoman. Volume and over the top energy do not make for a good pitch necessarily. It can wake people up, certainly, but it can also push people away and annoy them. Rather, it is more about finding an energy and style that is your energy and style — and connecting with the room.
- Take off your modesty hat when pitching (and take off your false modesty hat forever). Do not downplay your accomplishments — quite the opposite. Talk em up. Establish your creds right away.
- Investors are dumb when they are in investment mode. They might be smart otherwise but before they write a check they are to be treated as Forrest Gump. Dumb it down. Keep it simple. Create a lightbulb moment. I do not care how advanced your technology is, Tom Hanks better be able to explain it to that nice lady sitting on the bus stop bench in one minute.
- This is an investment pitch, not a science fair contest. You are asking a person to write a check (for how much? for what % of your company?) and then some business value will be created with that check (how much runway will it buy us? what major targets will be hit? how much are you raising next and at what valuation based on hitting those milestones?). If you run your pitch without answering these questions clearly — well, then it ain´t an investor pitch.
- I take my pitch deck flow recipe straight from Sequoia Capital:
6. Write a script. If you are prepping for the classic 3 minute pitch contest, then write the script, word for word. And practice it. Again and again. You would not show up on stage for a violin concerto without having practiced, would you? You would not show up on stage to play Hamlet without practicing, would you? Then why on earth show up on stage to pitch investors without applying the same discipline?
Break a leg.