Contrary to the popular opinion, pitching events are rarely just about pitching. The opportunity for networking with like-minded entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts along with the chance to meet and connect with investors brings much more to the table to all pitchers and attendees. However, the startup teams, who pitch the investors, tend to forget how big of a chance has been presented to them and focus more on the obstacles, not as much on the opportunity.
During The Pitcher 2017, we watched 20 startups present their businesses in front of some of the most prominent investors in the region. All startup teams had the chance to present their businesses in 5 minutes and then to engage in a Q&A session with the investors. Regardless of how big of an opportunity the 5+5 minutes presented to the pitchers, many of the participants were stressed about the time frame and worried that it won’t be enough.
The truth is when you are well prepared 5 minutes might be even way too much! Mastering the 5-minute pitch, along with the high concept and elevator pitches, is essential for all entrepreneurs. It proves that you understand your business fundamentally and can explain the need and the potential concisely.
Timing is the most critical element of an investor pitch. The truth is that, the less time you need to hit the nail on the head, the better for you. The investors need approximately 30 seconds to understand if the startup is of their interest. You need to start strong, to show the potential and your passion. If you don’t get their interest, in the beginning, you have lost them for the rest of the pitch.
Many entrepreneurs can’t perform well under stress. They are aware of the fact and try to remember by heart their pitches, making their presentations sound robotic and in times even fake. Investors invest in human capital not just in ideas. They need to see the passion in your eyes and to feel the enthusiasm. If you act like you are in a high-school recital, the chances to even receive some questions after the pitch are minimal.
The winner of The Pitcher 2017, E-Sport Akademi, was presented by the 17-years old co-founder Galip Sina Berik, who pitched like a pro on the stage. The young entrepreneur delivered an engaging pitch and conveyed his enthusiasm about the startup to the whole audience.
Did we all know much about e-sports and the need of online gaming lessons? Well, no. But we all were interested because the idea was presented with such an enthusiasm. Some of the attending investors listened even more carefully, as E-Sport Akademi has secured seed investment with a valuation of 1 million TL from Abdullah Özgün, an investor the team met during the event!
Know your numbers
Pitching skills matter! Let’s say that you are a gift-worded pitcher and have the charisma. You know how to win and keep the attention of the investors. But having their sympathy doesn’t mean that they will automatically write you a check. When it comes to investment, the investors need to know all the details. And you must be able to present it to them in your 5-minute pitch.
All entrepreneurs must know their numbers and include this information in their pitch decks. If the investors have interest, they will ask about the numbers. If you fail to give them this information, they will definitely back off. Business is business. In the end, we are talking about investment, so the investors need to know what they will get in return.
Five minutes are enough to pitch perfectly, to get the attention of the investors and to open the door for future dialogue. Entrepreneurs, during the next pitching event, try to focus on the opportunity more than on the obstacles. It will make the whole experience more fulfilling and fruitful for you and your whole team!