Best Tips for Investor Pitches


Hey everyone!

I wanted to share a few of my best tips for investor pitches, and see what else you all had to add. Investor pitches can be really difficult (especially if you’re not a fan of public speaking!), and sometimes it helps to have a few reminders.

  1. Remember to ask for something! Sometimes, people get so caught up in their product or service that they forget to have an ask. If you want an investor to give you something, you have to let them know. Is it money? Time? Connections? Mentorship?
  2. Slow down - This is one we see in investor pitches a lot. People talk too fast, move around too much, and end up distracting their audience because they won’t calm down. Remember to breathe, plant your feet, and pause between sentences. Make sure you leave plenty of space for questions as well!
  3. Don’t share your entire life story - Give your audience the highlights. Don’t weigh everything down with the details, because your investors can hear about those later! If it’s your first pitch, make sure to paint a broad, exciting picture that will get you a second meeting.

After watching dozens of investor pitches, those are the three things we see that people need to do the most. What are your favorite tips for investor pitches?

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Thank you, Claire, for the tips above. I still have a long way to come in experience with investor pitches, and I can utilize these concepts for the next time I find myself in front of an investor or really any form of public communication, particularly slowing down.

One great thing about this discussion is how applicable it is to any form of communication. I have come a long way in my ability to stand in front of a crowd and speak intelligibly and, sometimes, intellectually. But fear still strikes even hearing the term “public speaking.” Who else just shuttered? :fearful:

Before my first investor pitch, I was able to take part in a session with Barbara Tannenbaum, a professor at Brown University internationally known for her Persuasive Communication skills. This was hands down one of the most influential 1.5 hour class sessions ever! I highly recommend finding her work and videos online to learn some quick tricks on how to speak powerfully, stand strongly, and bleed confidence in your next pitch!

Here is a great article I found online with an interview: http://magazine.ivy.com/2015/11/barbara-tannenbaum/

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okay, so I’m really new to this - what does an investor pitch normally look like? are there going to be 20 people in the room or just two? I get really nervous speaking in front of large groups of people, and the idea of pitching has always really scared me. does anyone have any thoughts/advice?



Sarah, I completely understand you. The idea of speaking in front of a crowd really stunts me to non-action, but this is something I know we can both overcome (on that, please let me know if I can help or be an accountability partner in that journey for you).

From what I know and have seen, every investor pitch is different. Sometimes it will be between the founder and one investor; sometimes it may be the founder in front of a panel of investors. I think it depends upon the environment and how you got the pitch to occur in the first place - was it a pitch competition, a private meeting, etc.

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I think this is right: there’s no such thing as a “standard” pitch. I see somewhere between 100 and 300 pitches a year, and what I can tell you about a “great” pitch is included in the lecture we have on “Getting Behind the Perfect Pitch” - among these are a few key tips (in no particular order):

– make clear “why you” - what is the unique insight, experience, passion that you bring to the venture. The people who started Wayfair (boston-based furniture shopping website) weren’t particularly passionate about furniture, but they were passionate about the business opportunity that they saw and they were able to convince all their stakeholders that they were onto something. So you don’t have to be passionate about the actual product (though that can help), but you do have to be passionate about why you’re doing this thing you’re trying to start and why others should get excited about it.

– make clear what the opportunity is that you see - and why others haven’t seen it or don’t see it the way you do

– make clear what “tests” you have done or plan to do, to prove that you’re onto something - a mindset of quick testing and quick adjusting is critical for the investor to have confidence that you’re in learning mode - and that’s what we look for! If you have all the answers, you’re going to undermine yourself

– make clear what you think you need and why: time, money, introductions, customers, people, etc. A pitch isn’t always for money!

I hope this is helpful!

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