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Pitching to Angel Investors is more art than science

Orygin (a sector-agnostic incubator in the heart of Bangalore, set up as an initiative of the Fox Mandal Foundation), and its partner, the Keiretsu Forum, which connects Angel Investors with startups, recently hosted a screening meeting aimed at enabling selected entrepreneurs to pitch to a group of potential angel investors. As expected, some of the pitches stood out from the rest.

To me, the better pitches stood out for the following reasons:

Confidence exuded by the presenter: The Founder-CEO making the pitch was supremely confident of the story he was telling. Even when asked questions, he was unruffled and answered them calmly- even where he did not have the answers.
Focused presentation: Those who stood out were clear in their heads about what they wanted to convey in the 10 minutes they had. They covered all the essentials, spending more time on helping the audience understand the business, how it was different and the growth path. This helped the people in the room gain confidence based on “these guys seem to know where they are going and how they intend to get there”.
Go easy on the data shown on slides: The slides were only used as a crutch to highlight specific points; everything else was around what the speaker was saying- crisp, clear, cogent and of course, catchy!
Specific ask and its purpose: Naturally, every pitch for investment does specify how much money the venture is seeking. But some do not devote enough thought or presentation time to articulating where the money will be spent. This is a problem simply because investors like to know that their money is being spent in activities that will help grow the business, and it is important to reassure them on this front.
Clarity about the business: No business can be everything to everybody. Choices have to be made about being a B2B venture or a B2C business and if the intent is to be both, then clearly define the starting point and the roadmap to diversify. But plans must be realistic and not just pie-in-the-sky or wishful thinking.
Sticking to the allotted time: Potential investors like pitches that stick to the time limit, while still conveying the key information they need. Indeed, if they like what they have heard, Q&A will give you a few extra minutes.

Those intending to make pitches in the days ahead will do well to take note of the above-mentioned pointers, so that their pitches are more impactful.

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