During the last 12 months Qinec, Makielab, Mojiva, Mindshapes and Click A Taxi have raised over $16 million in funding.
We asked the five founders what advice they could offer to other startups on delivering the perfect pitch?
Robbie Hughes of Qinec
“As someone who has repeatedly been told that the perfect pitch should be 30 seconds long and not the 5 minutes it tends to be in my case, I think I’m remarkably fortunate to be included in this group!
Like great marketing, networking or even dating, the goal should always be to give people a reason to be interested – and this is wholly a function of who you’re talking to.
Anything you can do to simplify the message is key – maybe draw comparison to something they know or can use as an anchor for comparison. Assume that they know only what you tell them so make what you do say count.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that no matter how good the pitch on paper, the delivery is key – if you don’t know your stuff and can’t ‘show proper working’ for the conclusions you reach, then you will only have raised their expectations and then disappointed.
Anyone can learn this stuff – it isn’t hard, per se – the trick is simply to have assembled a great team and be able to demonstrate a passion for and deep understanding of a product, market and resulting opportunity.
On a side note, it’s worth emphasising that if you’ve not assembled the team, the sad fact of the matter is that the rest won’t matter – ideas are cheap, but it’s the execution that kills you. VC’s know that only too well and so should anyone trying to start a business!”
Alice Taylor of Makielab
“The best pitch is one done over a cheerful coffee. Be prepared for criticism, be ready to explain – not defend. Be honest where you don’t have answers and show how you’ll find those answers. Brits: don’t be self-deprecating. Be yourself, because that’s who they’re investing in!”
Krish Arvapally of Mojiva Inc.
“It’s important to make sure you’re in an industry that’s growing exponentially and is fuelled by innovation and passion. Mobile is in a strong position in the market; it’s taking off like no other. There are many opportunities to lead the conversation and develop new technologies, collaborate to improve creative execution and, most importantly, deliver results (and revenue) for brands and publishers. Because we have both a mobile ad network (Mojiva) and mobile advertising platform (Mocean Mobile), investors see the value of our products, services, expertise and upward growth we’ve seen in the last four years. Being nimble, having talented and experienced teams and the ability to scale are all benefits to investors.
Be sure to show how excited you are when pitching. Concentrate on an industry problem your business will solve. Too many founders think a pitch needs to be long and extensive. A succinct pitch that’s only about 1-2 sentences (30 seconds) can be just as effective. Don’t overcomplicate things with big words or “fluff”. It’s all about presentation – focus on how your business / idea will solve a problem, rather than over explaining the idea itself.”
David Begg of Mindshapes
“Investors invest in people who have both the vision, and the energy and skills to deliver upon it. So don’t be nervous to suggest that you want to rule the world, but also be realistic and knowledgeable about the steps that you need to take to get there. A balance between big vision and implementation rigour, the same as it takes to build a great business.”
Søren Halskov Nissen of Click A Taxi
They will test your market size, your team and most of all; they will try to apply their decision-making models to your business. So know your numbers!
Know your user or customer acquisition cost, the churn rate of a customer and the lifetime value of a customer. Make sure your marketing budget is aligned with those numbers.
Don’t explain 5 potential revenue streams and 10 back up streams. Explain 1 and explain it well!”
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