How to pitch your startup to a VC

In a recent excellent panel, five investors talk turkey about what is for them an everyday experience – listening to pitches and picking winners.  WIM-VCIf you are looking for funding or even just starting out on a venture – this will get your thinking off on the right track – certainly as far as seeking investment goes.  Between them, this group goes in from seed at $250k to Series A+ expansion stage at $12 million.

The first question: “What do you want to hear in the first 5 minutes of a pitch?”

“Just get it out your mouth!  I mean 20 minutes in you have no clue what the heck the product is – I’ll stop ‘em at 5 minutes.  And another thing: they want to show you a demo in the first one minute.  I hate that.  Here’s why.  We’re talking about the business of the business, not the features and functions – I wanna know how you’re going to build the business.”

Jeanne Sullivan – Starvest

“I want to know about the person and who I’m talking to.  I want them to be really passionate about what they’re doing.”

Kathleen Utecht – Comcast Ventures

 “Why does the world need what you’re doing? Especially at the seed stage we see a lot of teeny iterative product ideas. Why would someone want to use it?  What problem are we solving? That is the primary thing.”

Joy Marcus – DFJ Gotham Ventures

 “Why are you the right team to solve that problem.”

Ellie Wheeler – Greycroft Partners

“Make sure you’ve articulated how big the opportunity is in money.”

Donna Novitsky – former VC. serial start up CEO, Stanford prof.

You can see the whole panel discussion here: there is much more of this lively and practical advice from the people with the money.  It runs one hour and it’s worth your time; it is a tiny investment that could pay out for you in spades.