“Tips on Pitching for investment”
By Annette Kramer
Strategic communications advisor & coach, We in Social Tech mentor
One wonderful thing about collaborating with start-ups on strategic communication is that there’s so much to learn. Everyone has different strengths and challenges, and that’s why there are general principles for Best Practices – but no template. The goal is never to turn anyone into someone else because it’s not sustainable. So learning about individual blocks and strengths in a short period of time – and then addressing them – is always a fascinating process.
Perhaps the most salient similarity among the groups is a tendency to cram too much into a 1-3-minute investment pitch.
A few points worth making:
1. Be careful to keep an investment pitch entirely investor-focused– it’s not a marketing pitch. If you combine marketing and investor information, the result tends to be a muddle for your listeners. Know how your audience hears, and keep the data specific to what the room is listening for.
2. Slides should be used to support your story, not to lead it. If you can make a point effectively without the use of a slide, get rid of the slide. Certainly don’t make your listeners read text. It’s distracting and, again, dilutes focus from the point you’re making.
3. Don’t try to be exhaustive when giving a pitch — you win if you find a way NOT to have the last word. The real business is done in another room, after the last slide is shown. So get your audience to ask questions, leave room for curiosity, and just show a little leg.
4. For all you incubators and accelerators wanting to do the best for your companies, avoid VC whiplash. Throwing lots of pitch advice at those pitching can be confusing. And whether you choose me or someone else, it’s helpful to learners to have a standard to which they’re working consistently. Any extra advice is fine, but have one person who is in charge of Best Practices to help companies sort through what’s the best choice of content and behavior for them.
Annette Kramer, PhD is a strategic communication advisor and coach for executives in government, education, corporations, high-growth companies, SMEs and the third sector. Annette’s expertise lies in collaborating with leaders to tell their story with impact to grow their organisations globally.
Annette began her career in the New York theatre and by teaching at Brown University before turning her had to content development in the early days of the web. She was one of PwC’s first hires on thought leadership consulting when Price Waterhouse merged with Coopers & Lybrand. After 8 years, Annette was recruited to advise an American philanthropist on establishing and running a literacy charity in London. Annette is now considered a thought leader in innovation and leadership, perhaps most notably as part of the leadership team at the international support organisation Upward Women, an advisor to the Cambridge Centre for Social Equality and as one of nine life-long Fellows at St.George’s House, Windsor Castle.