skip to Main Content

8 Tips For The Perfect Startup Pitch

Pitching your business to a room of possible investors is daunting. If you are number 5 on a running list of 8 pitches at a pitch session read on – you have to stand out. A room of potential supporters will have their minds full of a whole of other stuff. It’s your job to get their front of mind – and keep it.

Have a clear target for your pitch. If you are looking for investment – make sure that is clear. If you are looking for support or partners – say it. Make sure you know who your audience is and make sure your key message is clear.

1. The First 20 Seconds
Your pitch is judged in the first 20 seconds – or rather they will decide in that time whether it will be listening to the rest of it, or simply nodding thinking about the million or so other things they have in their heads. So get their attention. This doesn’t mean you have to have a hook in the first few sentences, but you must do enough early on get their full attention very early.

People judge books by their cover. You don’t binge on a Netflix boxset if the first episode is crap.

2. Lexicon
Don’t use the same words over and over again. Its shows a lack of character and ability. And, do not use words like huge, massive or vast to describe the market opportunity for example. Tell them how big it is – in understandable numbers. Compare your target market to similar markets so that we can easily gauge its size without thinking too much.

Why say you are ‘very tired’, when you can say you are ‘exhausted’.

3. Stories
Before books, TV or the net, history was told by tribes and villages by stories. We sat around fires and exchanged ideas and recalled what had happened that day or to previous generations. So, where you can tell the story of how to you got to develop a solution to a pain you discovered. Engage your audience with your struggle and quest to develop a product for a problem you saw or experienced.

Get connected through a telling a story – with a start, middle and end.

4. Convey Meaning
You are trying to convince people to invest their money in your idea. Your narrative, language and speech must all convey meaning. There has to be a valid reason why your business will make an impact on a market or society. Meaning will support the establishment validity.

At Xcell we help you build a pitch that wins support, is meaningful and will become part of your everyday conversation.

5. Create A Conversation
You are not giving your pitch to listened to. You are pitching to create a conversation with the audience. So the possible investor in your corporate innovation is listening and thinking about your idea – considering and thinking about what you are saying. That they might go home or to the office and talk about you to their colleagues, or better, reach out to you afterwards in person or by email.

6. Numbers Are Important
You have to have numbers in your pitchdeck. But keep them simple, and easy to understand. Do not try to cut and paste your financials on to a slide. Present easy to understand figures, in tables and perhaps pie charts – but avoid complicated graphs – they take too long to interpret. If you are looking for an investment figure – get it up there. Likewise, if you have revenue or user figures. Let’s be seeing them.

Investors are looking for a reason to ‘get you out of the room’ not to keep you in the room.

7. Use Pictures
If you splatter your slides with too many words people are either drawn to read them and try to digest them – and don’t fully listen to what you are saying – or they don’t bother to read them at all, and get switched off. Startup pitches are supposed to be fun. If they are reading your 500 words essay on your slides they will not be listening to you.

Imagine you are pitching to a room of people with little English. How do you get your message over? With images.

8. Never Trust The Technology
Last but no least. Just because you use Prezi, doesn’t mean the laptop you will be using likes Prezi? If you need a WIFI connection to show a video, for example – will the network connection be strong enough at the time you pitch be good enough. What will your video look like on the venues screen? Do not assume anything. Check, double check, but better still take away as many tech related dependencies you can.

If you are building a pitch for your business innovation project or startup, we can help with a team of expert pitch mentors. Get in touch.


We take the methods and experience from startup thinking and apply it to any business.

Back To Top