The perfect pitch - a slightly different guide

March 26, 2019


Welcome to a slightly different guide and blog post! Instead of overwhelming you with preachy advice, today I'd like to give you a few tips on how to make sure you mess up your next pitch. I thought this might be more entertaining and just as helpful in the end. If you like my approach, perhaps you'd like to write a few of your complementary experiences in the comments?

So, the introduction is important if we want to really screw things up. Announcements such as "We are the Google of the ..." or the "Facebook of the ... industry" have proven their worth. This makes the eyes of 75% investors roll upwards. This extremely unassuming introduction creates a good basis for further frustration in the audience.

I hope I don't need to emphasise that we avoid eye contact with the audience, mumble quietly and quickly and put as much text as possible on the slides in a serif font (Times Roman has proved its worth) with a maximum of 12pt. With plenty of text and detail on the slide, we make sure that nobody listens to our poor sentences and that our audience is busy reading throughout.



After our grandiose start, we present our start-up in such a way that we present the product as technically as possible. We avoid any statement about the benefits or value for the customer and focus entirely on the individual technical components of the solution, which nobody cares about (except us), but which we are suitably proud of and for whose systematic selection we want to be admired. 75% of the investors are now asleep. The others are hard nuts to crack and will be eliminated step by step.

When it comes to the question of the market for our solution, there are two tried and tested strategies: either we ignore this question completely (a good investor is used to this), or we work with the pattern "huge number multiplied by tiny share = absurd but sufficient number of customers". For example, we offer something that every German citizen needs (market = 80 million) and, in our boundless humility, we only assume a defensive 0.1 per mille market share for our plans. That gives us 8,000 customers in the first quarter - who could doubt that? A good basis for future growth. And then at some point we will internationalise.



Of course, we use the desired investment from our investors to 90% the further development of our product. Marketing and sales don't actually require any capital, and nobody in the founding team is prepared to talk to customers anyway. Sales - yes, we will have to hire someone at some point. Which brings us to the team: poor, inconsistent, low-resolution photos showing badly shaven and apparently bad-tempered men are ideal here. After all, the investor mainly wants to admire their academic degrees, and the question of why this particular team is the one to make the idea described above a commercial success can be clarified later in a bilateral discussion if necessary.

Of course we include figures in our pitch, as we are well-positioned in terms of analysis and engineering. Lots of figures always help, and amounts in euros should also be stated with at least two decimal places, especially if they exceed 1 million. Otherwise it becomes unnecessarily confusing. Ah, and we spread the figures across different slides and look out for subtle inconsistencies. This boosts confidence, even if we can resolve these inconsistencies confidently when asked. We make sure that we use all the important terms such as ROI, break-even etc. and ideally mix them up fluently.



The end of the pitch should not be the climax. Perhaps we repeat the most important learnings (speaking of which: every Anglicism is good!) and let the tension curve slowly creep down to zero until we ourselves no longer know what else to say at the end and sneak off the stage with the message "Sorry I was there...". Of course we ran out of time! But you can't explain our brilliant product in such a short time.

Now we should have reliably fucked it up. We can easily explain the fact that nobody is interested in investing. It's not down to us, they simply haven't understood us. It's just stupid that the rich bastards have no idea about our business.




Contribution by Thomas Lindner

Managing Director of innoWerft