3 tips to win VC pitch meetings
At Jungle we believe that being pitched to is a privilege. We are being given a sneak preview of amazing ideas & invited to go on a journey with passionate founders. The founders we meet are eager to put their best foot forward & present their idea in the most compelling & most persuasive way possible. To demonstrate their passion, & convince us that they can build a business that will stand the test of time.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Great ideas often fail to shine through because the team’s pitch lacks focus or flair. Having sat through 1,000s of pitches — including for some businesses that went on to become unicorns — we know where people too often go wrong. We see the same mistakes being made over & over again.
We understand that the stakes are high, the pressure is on & the Founders need to get it right. In the end, their success on the day comes down to one thing. Preparation. It is simple really. Know your Market. Plan the Pitch. Know your Numbers.
KNOW THE MARKET
Existing construct- Too often founders are so focused on selling their idea that they fail to acknowledge the market dynamics that surround it. After all, no idea exists in a vacuum, however unique it is. No business has limitless potential & a clear path to success. Your growth might be constrained by the inefficiencies in the value chain, the size of the addressable market & the uncertain shape of the competitive landscape. It’s good to be aware of that and acknowledge the current value chain/market construct.
Realistic TAM- Be really clear on the problem you are able to solve & the size of the total addressable market you can realistically unlock. Make it clear that the problem is important enough that a large community of potential customers will see value in your proposition. Value that they will be willing to invest in & happy to advocate for.
Competitors and adjacencies — The idea is not to be worried about competition but to be aware of them. Not only the immediate competition but potential adjacent competition as well- for example, the implications and likelihood of the big tech giants like Facebook & Grab get involved in the category and the resultant implications on market size and opportunity if that scenario were to play out. We love founders who show a 360 degree awareness of the threats they face because forewarned is forearmed.
Vision of the future- Tell us how you see the category you are involved in, evolve. It need not be a correct prediction of the future (it never can!), but it demonstrates your understanding of the market & category- that you are able to navigate not only the today but shape the future.
PLAN THE PITCH
Time your pitch- Another mistake we consistently see founders make is failing to give their idea room to breathe. As difficult as it might be to keep your story short, you should plan to spend no longer than 20 mins on the pitch itself, even if the meeting itself is an hour. Whilst this is your big moment & you don’t want to leave anything on the field, in reality, it is during the post-pitch discussion that the day is won or lost.
Focus on the broad picture- During these 20 minutes don’t get too in the weeds. Focus on convincing us that there is a very real problem to solve, that your idea exploits a gap in the market & that you are a team to deliver success. Once everyone is excited by the opportunity, then it is time to talk about the details. What is your GTM strategy? How will the business be structured? How does the technology work?
Evaluate your VC- Finally, remember that this is a two-way pitch. Don’t miss the opportunity to do your due diligence on the people you are pitching to. Do they have any expertise in your sector? Do they have valuable contacts? And, perhaps most importantly, do you believe you could work together to build your business? The VCs you bring on board in the early stages of your business will be with you a long time so make sure you are confident in the chemistry.
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
We love the ideas. We are inspired by the founders. We are convinced by the numbers.
What are your critical measures of success? Where will growth come from? What is the growth potential of the business?
Today- First things first, you need to have a flawless understanding of how your business is performing. Founders must be able to detail accurately all their key success metrics. When they can immediately recall their growth rate, margin structures & customer retention rates they instantly gain credibility & earn a share of the VCs attention.
Tomorrow- Secondly, we want every one of our founders to be fast out of the blocks so being able to identify the size of the immediately addressable market is critical. VCs want to know who those first few hundred customers will be & how they will accelerate business momentum. The path to profitability can be refined but VCs need to see that you have an actionable, immediate term strategy for growth.
Future- Finally, don’t forget to demonstrate the scale of your vision. Show us the size of the business you think is attainable. Get us excited. Plucking a number out of thin air is not advisable but, at the same time, don’t hold back. If you believe your business has the potential to reach unicorn status, tell us. Just make sure that your historical numbers & the performance of similar global businesses back you up.
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Welcoming founders & discussing their vision is a thrill for us. There is nothing quite like seeing a brilliant idea, unveiled in a well crafted pitch, delivered by an inspiring founder. When that pitch is backed up by the ability of the founder to answer every question thrown at them, it becomes truly compelling.
Prefer…Good luck at your next pitch. Take all this advice on board & before long it’ll be the VCs pitching at you not the other way round!