This applies to in-person pitches but, even more, to virtual ones. Only bring someone if you really feel they will add value and are better suited to present a portion of content. And I don’t mean bringing your CFO just to help answer financial questions. Otherwise, in person, they can crowd a room and distract from you. Virtually, they can do even more damage, since the bigger a video conference the more likely a connection issue is to happen. Managing multiple people talking over each other is also much harder. So, despite the virtual pitch events I have seen advertising ‘the more the merrier’, it’s a different story when it comes to private pitches.
DON'T: Get caught looking
Have all your relevant due diligence files open on your machine and a mouse-click away, including summaries of each. If we ask a question about financials and your nerves have zapped your memory, it’s OK to quickly check. But it soon becomes very awkward if we have to wait more than a few seconds in silence during a video conference, while you desperately search for the right file. You’ll feel tempted to fill the silence and things will just get worse…
DON'T: Forget the ask
I’m shocked by how many decks I receive that don’t tell me what they want from me, my team and our money. It’s OK, we all know you want our money – that’s why we’re all here! So, just tell us clearly and on one slide how much you want and what you want it for. If you tell us one without the other we won’t trust you have properly planned for this investment.
Kristen MacDonald is the founder of The Hopper – a new tech incubator helping startups at the seed and pre-seed stage, across ideation, incubation, and acceleration. We’re especially keen to close the funding gap for female-founded and female-led startups, but equally open to hearing from anyone with a great idea.
Visit www.thehopper.tech to find out more.