The Short Story on Pitches

The short story on pitches is:

1.      The purpose of the pitch is to get the next meeting. This rule applies to everything from a 30 second elevator pitch to a one hour VC pitch. Note that the purpose is NOT to tell the entire story, especially about your technology, what you built and how it works.

2.      The most important things to talk about in a B2B business model pitch, in priority order:

a.      Relevant and target market size (see stage 1 at Idea to Exit)

b.      Market pain you are solving

c.      Sustainability of that pain (will the pain be around long enough for the company to grow into and be viable over the company’s life cycle)

d.      Level of that pain (who, specifically, is in pain, e.g. CEO, CxO, VP, director, manager, users)

e.      Price they will pay to solve that pain

f.       Recurring revenue aspects of that price

g.      Sales model (type [direct, channel, etc.], sales cycle, signing authority, # of functions you need to sell to, e.g. finance, CMO, IT, etc.)

h.      Distribution channel(s)

i.       Barriers to (competitive) entry (Intellectual Property (IP) rights (patents), proprietary sales/distribution channels, etc.)

j.       Everything else, especially the technology, what you built and how it works


Note that what you know the most about, have the most passion for, etc., is down at the bottom.

This is why most pitches fail.

Most startup guys come in and spend 99% of their time on their tech, what they built, how they built it and demoing what they built. That is, in the end, the least important thing when you are pitching.

The most important thing is the pain you are solving, the scale of that pain, the sustainability of that pain and who owns that pain.

The impact on pitching and funding are:

  • Large scale market (.5 – >billion dollar scale) = VC
  • Medium scale market (several hundred million) = Angel & Super Angel
  • Small scale market (<several hundred million) = bootstrap, Friends & Family

You can cover points a – f in less than 90 seconds. That’s enough time for an elevator pitch.

Remember, all you want them to do is follow you off the elevator. The point of the pitch is to get the next meeting.



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