You may not be entirely surprised to know that we hear a lot of pitches at Seedcamp! We’ve heard the good, the bad and plenty in-between. While there’s always going to be room for improvement and each pitch should be tailored for the audience you’re presenting to, there are a few common mistakes that we see again and again.
1. Forgetting to talk about the team
There are typically three key areas an investor will want to understand about your startup; Product, Revenues and Team. Every pitch talks about their product, the vast majority talk about their current or projected revenues – but for some reason, we see plenty of startups forgetting to sell themselves.
Great people make great businesses, so when you undersell the qualities of the team that’s embarking on what can be a long and gruelling journey, an investor will want to be sure that you have what it takes; whether that’s relevant industry experience, a great network of contacts, or previous startup experience, you can bet your audience wants to hear about it. So tell them about your CTO’s PhD in Artificial Intelligence or the fact you were part of the team that built a similar startup. It all counts.
A great idea is a great place to start, but a startup’s success lies within its execution. Without talking about why your team is best equipped to pull off your master plan, an investor may be left unsure whether to trust in your ability to execute.
2. Trying to cram in too much information
The purpose of a pitch is to get your audience excited about your startup so they want to find out more. It’s a hook.
So don’t worry about needing to go into detail about your multi-channel marketing plan; you’re wasting valuable time you could be using to sell yourself..! Be concise, present the big picture – if you excite your audience enough then they’ll ask about the detail.
Additionally, slides with lots of information can be difficult to take in, so try to keep text down to a minimum. If you really need to cover something complex (such as your marketing strategy, for example) then a simple chart or illustration is a great way of distilling that information. Often, less is more.
3. Not explaining the ‘How’
Sometimes even the better presentations fall short on this point – there’s always room for improvement! Explaining where you expect your product or revenues to be this time next year is useful, but even more valuable is an overview of how you plan to achieve your ambitious goals.
Quantifying your projections is important because it demonstrates the forethought and aptitude needed to execute a plan. It helps investors believe in your team as well as your vision; without both, you’re in for a tough ride.
This article coincides with Seedcamp Week London, our quarterly flagship event where 25 of Europe’s hottest startups have been selected to present and meet 300 mentors and investors from our prestigious network. You can follow progress via our Twitter and Facebook pages.