A pitch refers to the act of throwing the ball in a baseball game. The term has found its way to the startup world to denote a business plan that a startup founder presents to their potential investors within a limited amount of time, intending to hit a home run — to secure funding, that is.
However, pitching has been used in a broader context. Startup founders pitch not only to investors for that much-needed capital but also to their clients, business partners, and employees to generate trust and support.
Here is a summary of 3 common forms of pitching:
As a startup investor, I often attend startup competitions and read pitch decks sent to my mailbox and office to select potential projects that deserve a meeting with their founders. It is common for me to receive and read more than ten pitch decks a day. Well-established investors can receive even more.
Typically, startup founders will proactively contact venture capital firms or ask for a helping hand from a mutual acquaintance to set up a meeting with investors. Another avenue to approach potential investors is through pitch contests and startup events where entrepreneurs can connect with investors and follow up by sending them a pitch deck.
Pitching to investors isn’t just about introducing a startup
As startup founders often go to great lengths to prepare their pitch and to have their first meeting with an investor, I always want their time and effort to be paid off.
However, it often happens in the first meeting that a great deal of time is spent getting to know each other from scratch and discussing what has been showcased in the pitch deck, such as products, market opportunities, or competitors. This is a waste of time, so I want to redefine pitching for founders and investors to make the most of the meeting.
If business owners have gone the extra mile for the pitch, investors must make an equal attempt to keep the ball rolling. In other words, the pitch meeting should not be a one-way monologue but an interactive conversation based on their prior understanding of the project.
As in my case, I will do my homework by contacting the founder one week before the meeting and perusing their pitch deck. And this is how a typical meeting goes:
- Introducing the venture capital firm (3 minutes)
- Pitching (0.5 – 1 minute). This step can sometimes be skipped if the investor has already read through the pitch deck. Otherwise, the pitch can be a stepping stone for a longer conversation.
- Discussing business plans and development strategies, such as acquiring customers and expanding market share. (56 minutes)
Of course, the meeting agenda can vary, but it should make more time for an in-depth discussion on business development strategies.
This priority is more likely to help startup owners generate more ideas for their business while creating an opportunity for investors to assess their receptivity and mindset and the potential of a long-term partnership.
Pitching is not only about persuading an investor to fund a startup but also finding a partner who speaks the same language and contributes to a startup’s development. From my perspective, it is what pitching truly means.
At Genesia Ventures, startup founders are always invited to sit with investors and discuss their projects and the likelihood of a partnership. If your startup is looking for a funding opportunity, you are welcome to send me your pitch deck or contact me for a meeting in any possible way, including Facebook or blog.