How to Pitch Investors?

Coming up with brilliant business concepts that you strongly believe in may be easy; selling them to others is hard. Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to listen to a number of pitches from both Swedish and American entrepreneurs. Here are my notes that I will take into consideration the day I come up with my grand business idea. 

 The Shark Tank panel at the  Life Tech Forum  hosted by SACC NE; Johan Christenson (Health Cap), Jeffrey M. Arnold (Boston Harbor Angels and Mass Medic Angels), Rasmus Goksor (Bison) and Doug Cole (Flagship Ventures).

The Shark Tank panel at the Life Tech Forum hosted by SACC NE; Johan Christenson (Health Cap), Jeffrey M. Arnold (Boston Harbor Angels and Mass Medic Angels), Rasmus Goksor (Bison) and Doug Cole (Flagship Ventures).

First of all, you have to adjust the pitch to the people that you are pitching to. If you are pitching to American investors, with the aim of entering the U.S. market, I can guarantee you that they do not care about the market demand in Sweden, amounts in SEK or competitors in Sweden. Skip all references to Sweden! 

  • Investors are humans: You have to connect with them on an emotional level and understand what they are interested in. You also have to convince them that you are going to make your dream come true with or without their help – they just have the opportunity to be a part of your success story. Connect with the investors by telling an inspiring story that addresses the market problem you are trying solve. Do not hesitate to talk about who you are, your background and why they should choose you.
  • Investors are business oriented: Even if the investors do get inspired, they will not make a move if your business concept is vague or fuzzy. You need to have a deep understanding of your business concept and market. You should be prepared to answer the following questions:
  1. Is your product solving a problem or is it a "must have"? 
  2. How large is your market, and is it big enough? 
  3. Who are your competitors? 
  4. What are the advantages of your business concept compared to others?
  5. What is your customer acquisition strategy? 

  • Be precise and straightforward: Do not use a super complex 20-slide PowerPoint. I always find it easier to connect with, and fell attracted to, a simple idea. Furthermore - stick to the timeframe, which I find really depends on the relevant circumstances. 
  • Do not forget your team: You may be an excellent business leader and your business concept may be awesome, however, you will never make it in the U.S. by yourself. Your team has to be strong; it should be a dynamic and powerful core of the business. Frictions within the team will scare investors, and bad partnerships can ruin any brilliant business concept.  
  • Investors are not investing to be nice: Investors expect to get back at least as much as they put in, and in most cases a lot more. Therefore, you need a strong exit strategy with clear information on how the investors will get their money back - otherwise they will share their wealth with someone else. 

Finally, you have to practice your pitch – and keep in mind that, you will probably get different feedback from different people. Even if you take into account all the feedback you get, I guess it all boils down to hard work and commitment, but also timing and some luck.  

 Jonathan Ortheden,  AppUniverse  pitching.  

Jonathan Ortheden, AppUniverse pitching.  

By: Kajsa Morawetz

kajsa.morawetz@sacc-ne.org