Ten Tips for Pitching Your Company

1) An investor is taking a meeting with you to confirm or deny a hypothesis they undoubtedly already have about your business.  Find out what those are right off the bat by saying something like, "Based on what you know, what interests you about what we're doing so far and what are some of the concerns I can address?"  No sense going on and on about the market if being excited about your market is why I asked you to meet me in the first place.

2) Investors will jump around no matter what order your deck is in--be comfortable about it and be able to answer any question at any time.  Don't get visibly frustrated if they interrupt. 

3) Have offline copies of whatever you're doing, so you can demo using screenshots if you have to.

4) Be able to say what you do in a concise manner, in the pitch, in the opening e-mail: "We do X for Y using Z solution, and that's exciting because there are a billion Ys who currently pay a million dollars a year for that."

5) Be clear about the ask:  "We're here to get advice about the following specific three questions."  "We're raising 500k to get us launched and a growing userbase."  "We're here because we have an offer on the table to sell the company and we're not sure what to do."  Don't try to pretend you're not raising.

6) Be honest about your situation.  If you can't figure out what grows traffic yet, just say it, because pretending you have growth when the numbers don't look good is even worse.  If you made mistakes, say what they are--because otherwise I'll be scratching my head trying to figure out how you spent what you spent to get to this point.  Mistakes happen.

7) Know that back of the napkin math of how many people need what you have and why this could be a big business.  

8) Persistance is good, but when someone is clearly not going to get there on your deal, figure out what else they can be good for, besides other intros to investors.  Most of the time, an investor is going to take a pass, statistically, so have a backup ask--like a contact you know they know who can help you with biz dev.  Don't spend a ton of energy on one investor like they're the last investor on the face of the earth.

9) Speed is not a reason to raise money--unless lack of it is hindering basic aspects of your development.  Usually, being the fastest one to market isn't necessarily an advantage.  Actually, it often makes a company look too nervous about the competition--as if there aren't enough barriers to entry or execution in your market.  

10) Know how much time you have for the pitch and stick to it.  Don't be halfway through your hour long version before you realize the investor only had 30 minutes.  Finish up five or ten minutes early in an hour long meeting and an investor will love you--because they'll have time to think, get coffee, use the bathroom, or make the intro you asked them to.