The other day, I'm in a meeting where someone told me an industry magazine that would be relevent to one of my companies. I texted the founder and got the following response:
"Funny cause I was one of the people who backed [their] kickstarter campaign and love the idea and what [the founder] has done.
I... would be happy to help [them] with anything."
When I introduced them to a developer, same thing. He already knew the company and was excited to talk to them.
Consider the following mental exercise. You pitch me on some product that... oh, I dunno... helps publishers monetize, or something. I'm not a publisher, so I have to rely on my network to do due diligence. So I ring up my friend on the digital side of a newspaper and say something like this:
"Hey, so I met a team that does some stuff with ads... they take some data and you make some more money or something...what do you think?"
Ok, so it wouldn't be that bad, but the point is: Never let an investor do your pitch for you to stakeholders. We'll totally eff it up. But, 9 times out of 10, that's what happens. We do a quick hacky check with people we know if it seems interesting, and because we don't know how to pitch it as well as you do, they don't get excited, so we don't. Pass.
Now, consider a different scenario...
You've already met with all the key stakeholders. You convince them you have worldchanging insight into how to help them. They agree wholeheartedly and then ask, "OMG, we're going to make an eff-ton of money together. What do you need to deliver this?" That's when you tell them about your upcoming seed round. What do they do?
They introduce you to me...
"Hey Charlie, nice catching up with you at that thing where they talked about stuff. Yeah, so we just met with this company and we think we can make an eff-ton of money with them and everyone else will, too. You should totally invest in them."
How's that for a strong pitch? You'd barely need a powerpoint with an intro like that. Not only would I take the meeting without seeing a pitch, but I'd be psyched and curious.
Well, some people are already doing that, and those are the people who get funded.
When I ask the people who are most knowledgable what what you're up to, do they know you already? If not, why not? Haven't you already gone to them for feedback?
It costs nearly know money to blanket your industry with the buzz that you're onto something--either through 1:1 meetings, blogging, or just being *the* industry expert in the space. You don't need money for that--you need knowledge and hustle, and that's not nearly present enough in a lot of the pitches I'm seeing.