Did you hear about the startup pitch competition at AsiaBerlin Summit 2022? If you are in, we have some tips for you to make a great pitch!
Here we go: You have done your research on your audience, you have the projections ready and are ready to pitch to investors. We have put together a few pointers for you to refine your pitch and make it land with investors. If you are interested in entrepreneurship, apply for our AsiaBerlin Summit from 12-16 September 2022. At AsiaBerlin, we are connecting entrepreneurship ecosystems across Germany and Asia.
- The message: The ‘Why’ and ‘How’
Framing the message is the essence of targeting a communication to a specific audience. The aim is to pitch an idea to get the broadest possible support. Although it might sound intuitive, we do not think about how to properly frame our ideas as we take communication for granted.
There are two popular approaches to framing the message. Simon Sinek says that if we want people to rally behind our idea, we need to emphasize the why of what we are trying to do. According to him, when we communicate the purpose of an idea, it makes it easier for people to engage with it as they can understand the motive behind it. On the other hand, organizational psychologist Adam Grant in his book Originals says that it is more important to focus on how to implement the idea, as a loft purpose might violate the notion in people’s minds about what is possible.
A recent study by Falchetti et al. compared the two approaches and showed that the audience receiving the pitch decided which approach you should take. If you are championing novel ideas to novices (e.g., the crowd, friends, family members) a pitch emphasizing why it is desirable is more likely to succeed. However, the same ideas pitched to experts (e.g., professional investors, and innovation managers) would be better served if the emphasis is on how something can be done.
- Body Language Matters
Yes, the content of your pitch is important, but the way you present your pitch seems to matter too. Passion, gesture, energy, posture, and expression help investors get a sense of how you actually feel about your startup idea.
Chia-Jung Tsay, Associate professor at UCL School of Management, studied over 1800 participants and asked them to predict the winners of VC pitch competitions. The results showed that participants could predict pitches favored by investors by just looking at body language and facial expressions; the slide decks or content did not matter as much.
- Talk about your team
Investors think about the team and team dynamics when they make a decision about investing in startups. Investors want to know if the founders have worked together before, whether the early team members have complementary skills and if the team can be trusted to make crucial decisions.
It might be a good idea to have more than 1 person from the team pitch to investors. This can be a chance for you to show the experience your team brings and establish expertise. Investors look at the people in your team first and then consider the opportunity the startup wants to tap. It might be worthwhile to showcase your team while pitching your idea.
- The first impression
Investors typically decide if they want to invest in your idea or not in the first 30 seconds. It is important to have a strong elevator pitch ready that showcases your value proposition. If investors know the target market, the need you are addressing, and the solution- you are more likely to have the investor’s full attention.
- Tell a story
When you talk about your startup, focus on how you are solving the problem better than your competition. It can become easy to focus on numbers, trends and forecasts. It is important to take a step away from data and talk about the bigger story.
The story could be your own or a hypothetical one. Think about your journey. What problems inspired you to create your business in the first place? What successes have you had since then? What setbacks have defined or changed your company? Where are you headed now?