The average startup will stand on stage in front of half-interested strangers seeking validation for their life’s work hundreds of times during a company’s lifecycle.
In this week’s Ask a VC podcast serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Bud Deffebach, shares what makes a pitch great. He has personally invested in dozens of companies and reviews hundreds of startup pitches each year.
Pitching is vital to a company’s success. Even if founders are not actively seeking investment. It forces founders to take a hard look at their product, audience and the problem they’re solving. Deffebach adds that feedback is critical to addressing talent gaps and potential challenges.
Build multiple decks. Companies should have 2 or 3 decks in order to cater to more or less technical audiences.
Free online resources are everywhere. When resources are low, most early stage founders build their story using visual presentations tools like PowerPoint or Slides.com to develop pitch decks on their own. But once the funds are available, Deffebach recommends that founders work one-on-one with a content professional to develop one of the most valuable tools in the startup toolbox.
Keep it simple, eliminate technical stuff. Many founders try to explain all of the technical nuances of their product in only a few slides. Deffebach advises companies to create a basic outline for their pitch and fill it only with details that contribute to the big picture and be sure to read their audience’s interest level. It is better for the presenter to grab the audience’s attention rather than lose them in the slides, a common problem, according to Deffebach.
Don’t mess up these two slides. According to Deffebach, two key slides that many struggle with are the target market and the use of funds. “Understand how the market works in the world as it exists today without your product,” Deffebach says, “the more you can have your product slide into existing market behavior, the quicker [conversion] is going to occur.”
Prove your coachability. “I would rather have a fair product and a great team, than a great product and a fair team,” Deffebach said. Deffebach looks for founders who display a sense of humility, who understand and genuinely consider feedback coming from potential investors and who show tenacity and dedication are much more likely to succeed.
Deffebach had one final piece of advice for founders: “Take a swing in life, don’t ask ‘what if.’ Reach out to Groundswell or other organizations that can help.”
Work one-on-one with Groundswell startup mentors like Deffebach for 8-weeks and enter a chance to win $2,000 in awards. Apply Today.