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A "pitch to investors" framework

Updated: Jul 15, 2019

The perfect pitch doesn't exist, but a solid framework will help get you started.

Your pitch will depend on who you are, your context, who you are talking to, the nature of the relationship with the people you are pitching to, how much they know about you, your project, the opportunity space, etc.

However, regardless of circumstances, this framework contains all the building blocks to pitch your project, whether it's to raise money from investors or to secure an internal budget.

The generic example used here (widget trading) should cover a wide variety of situations, but still specific enough to make it concrete and usable.

STEP 1: Set the stage, trigger the interest, describe the opportunity

1- Where we play: the widget trading market

2- Here is how big the widget trading market is (not the volume of transactions, but how much money widget trading market players make when they facilitate widget transactions)

3- Meet our target customers

  • under-served players on the demand side: A, B, C.

  • under-served players on the supply side: X, Y, Z

4- Here is why we are specifically going after those customers and why we believe they are under-served

  • Big corps used to dominate that market, but are now shying away for X, Y and Z reasons.

  • Big corps essentially care and optimize their service to serve Big customer group T and ignore the smaller players of the market

  • As a result: on both sides of the market (supply and demand) our target customers are under-served, here is how: ...

  • On top of that, emerging players on the supply side are fighting an uphill battle because they don't have this and that (e.g. tech and relationships) 

  • Both sides of the market are currently using workarounds to access the widget trading market

This is VERY IMPORTANT - an existing workaround is a good signal of existing pent up demand) and by the way here are examples of workaround A, B, and C

STEP 2: Describe what will happen if you successfully address the opportunity and how you will do it

5- This is where we come in: we want to focus on connecting both sides of those under-served actors (demand and supply side) in the widget trading market

6- Here is how big this part of the market is today (just the one we are targeting)

7- Here is how big we believe it could be in the future if we unlock that market, and here are all the assumptions we are making here

8- Our solution will: describe the outcomes your solution will generate: focus on benefits, value, outcomes, not features:

  • Connect the two sides of this market (undeserved actors) in this way that wasn't possible before

  • Will make all existing work-around redundant

  • Enable new transactions that couldn't happen otherwise 

9- How? Our solution will specifically address problems A, B, C and D that currently prevent those guys from finding each other:

  • Problem A: here is what we will do to solve it

  • Problem B: here is what we will do to solve it

  • Problem C: etc.

10- Eventually all of those solutions will come together in the form of this complete package: this is the business we are looking to build. 

STEP 3: Explain who you are, inspire confidence, demonstrate traction, show why you are the right team

11- Now that you know a bit more about the opportunity we are trying to address and how, let's look at why we are the right people to create that solution

  • Here is who we are

  • Here are our capabilities (expertise, work history that show that we are credible)

  • Here are some advisers that are helping us

12- Here is why we are confident we can do it: show what you have already built, what traction you have,

  • Here is the prototype - THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT, many investors won't be interested unless you have at least a working prototype

  • Here is a list of relationship we have built

  • Here are some critical resources we have secured

  • Here are some prospective clients who already will work with us when we are ready 

STEP 4: State your ask, what you need from them, why they matter

13- To build that solution and unlock that potential here is what we need from you

$ (investment): here is how we plan on using the investment:

  • X% will go into X

  • Y% will go into Y

  • Z% will go into Z

NB: don't be shy about the amount, ask what you know you need, don't be afraid that you may ask too much, if they are interested, this is a conversation for later.

  • Introductions

  • Access to talent/resources etc.

STEP 5: Clarify what's in it for them

14- With your help, here is the performance we think we can deliver

  • Here is how we are going to make money: revenue sources, monetization mechanics

  • Introduce financial projections: revenue, cash-flow, ROI, etc.

  • Present other potential benefits to the investor/sponsor

Now you might wonder: "why don't we bring up the financial projections earlier? Isn't it what investors are most interested in? Why leave it to the end?"

First of all, the order presented in that post is absolutely not prescriptive. You will need to arrange the order of your pitch based on who you are talking to, what they are most interested in, and how the flow of the conversation evolves.

But also, the reality is that often time investors won't care about your financial projections until they are excited about the opportunity and gain confidence in the project/team.

Even then they won't believe for a second that whatever financial projection you show has good prediction value.

What they look for in your presentation of the financial projections is proof that YOU understand the market.

A good financial projection will highlight the underlying mechanics of the market and the assumptions you are making.

Investors use it to assess your actual understanding of the business/market and whether or not you are making reasonable assumptions. 

I hope you find this framework useful. Questions, comments, and feedback are most welcome!

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