What Makes a Successful Pitch

Drawing of pitch sessioin

No, it’s not really the format, the pictures, or the design … although those help. Ugly, confused, or disjointed is never an advantage. But what makes a successful pitch in a pitch presentation to investors is not the cosmetics; it’s the content.

Question: Is there one unique piece I’d seen in a successful pitch that made angel investors immediately interested in a startup? No, not really. No one unique thing comes to mind. But here are five things that I’ve seen that make for a successful pitch. Important, but not unique.

  1. A line chart showing very fast — geometric, viral, hockey-stick — growth in subscriptions to a SaaS or website product.
  2. A strong expression of commitment from a powerful distributor, with guaranteed minimum sales.
  3. Substantial non-dilutive funding from a government agency funding research and development.
  4. Strong evidence (patent along with real-world validation by some credible sources) of innovative technology that makes disruption of a big market a reasonable hope, and will offer barriers to entry.
  5. An unusually strong group of co-founders with known successes already and a good match of skills to what’s needed.

Note: this comes from one of my Quora answers: What is one thing you’ve seen in a pitch that makes you stand up and take notice?

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