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5 Surprising Techniques that Work When Pitching to VCs, Angels, and Other Investors

5 Surprising Techniques that Work When Pitching to VCs, Angels, and Other Investors

Monday, June 06, 2016/Categories: business-tips

Securing interest from investors often comes down to how you pitch your tech startup. Your pitch is your chance to make a great first impression, and first impressions matter when money is on the line.

When you get a chance to meet with a potential investor, remember these five tips that can help you land your pitch.

1. Keep it Simple

“You’ve got 20 to 25 minutes, you’re trying to cover 10 to 15 slides and show a quick demo,” says Rob Kornblum (@rkorny), a serial entrepreneur, startup mentor, former venture capitalist, and author of It’s Never Too Late to Startup. . “So keep it simple.”

You don’t need pyrotechnics to wow angel investors or VCs. They’re more interested in the business fundamentals anyway, so make your pitch easy to follow and straightforward.  

2. Tell a Story

Kornblum says entrepreneurs often make the mistake of being too wrapped up in their product. They focus more on a product’s features and design instead of making a compelling case for themselves.

“You’re trying to convey a story to investors,” he notes.

Your pitch should highlight the problem you’re solving, how you're solving it, and how your business will make money in the process. Tell a narrative where your business is the heroic protagonist, and investors will want to root for you. The nitty-gritty technical details can wait.

3. Remember the Investors’ Perspective

Investors are looking at a lot more than just your idea. They’re paying attention to things like your management team, your product, and your business’s traction, says Logan Cohen (@LoganECohen), cofounder and co-CEO of (@KudzooApp), a mobile app that rewards students based on academic achievements.

“Too often, founders have tunnel vision for their company's needs," says Cohen. She added: "Once I started to think from the potential investor's perspective, my pitches converted to executed agreements."

Highlight the traits that make your startup seem like less of a risk – because that’s ultimately what it is for the investor. Focus on why your startup is a good gamble. For example, if you have a highly experienced team and early success with the product, make those a key part of your pitch.

For more ideas, check out "Investor Group Alliance of Angels: What We Look for in an IT Startup."

4. Ask for Advice, Not Money

It’s an old adage, but if you want money, ask for advice, Kornblum says, and Cohen agrees.

“You're asking an individual to trust you with a piece of their livelihood,” says Cohen. “They are going to come to the table with questions and even critiques. If you approach the meeting by asking for advice in addition to possible capital, the potential investor already feels invested.”

This is also a good way to make initial contact with an investor who's not in your network. Rather than pitching your startup outright, approach potential investors by asking for some feedback. You might just get their attention. 

5. Aim for Another Meeting

Remember the goal of the pitch, says Kornblum: “It’s not to get a check; it’s to get another meeting.”

In his experience, fundraising is more about building the relationship. Cohen agrees.

“As much as investors are vetting you and your business, you are vetting the investors,” she says. “Be sure you're bringing on investors who you want on your journey. They are the phone call that you must pick up throughout the process.”

To learn what not to do when going after investors, check out “3 Red Flags That Send VCs and Angel Investors Running.”

About the Contributors

Logan CohenLogan Cohen started KÜDZOO in 2015 with cofounder Trevor Wilkins. They were both named Forbes 30 Under 30 in Education. For their app, they raised $1.7 million in funding through high-net-worth individuals, pitch competitions, and an investment from Princeton University.


Rob KornblumRob Kornblum has spent 25 years building high-growth businesses and supporting entrepreneurs. He’s a former venture capitalist, but continues to mentor startups privately and at various accelerators. He also runs the Start Launch Grow blog.

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