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Pitching Startup to Investors: Tips. Part 3

Friday, November 19, 2021

Startup Jedi

We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.

We are concluding our series about pitching for investors. We already know what the pitch deck structure should be (Part 1), and we’ve also looked at examples of pitch decks from large world companies (Part 2). In the final part of the article, we will share tips on how to attract the attention of investors.


The best startup pitch decks tell us that a strong pitch deck proves to investors that you have a plan for how to develop a product and that you know the market and customer preferences. Here are the main ideas that can be gleaned from the presentations: 

  • Investors are attracted to an innovative approach to solving problems, so make sure to demonstrate this in your pitch.

  • Your pitch deck does not have to have a complex design. Many people opt for minimalistic design. The main thing is that each slide complements the previous ones and fits into the canvas of the story.

  • Practice your storytelling. This is an effective tool that will help make your pitch memorable and not only raise money, but also gain expertise to the project.

  • In the early stages of a project, follow Guy Kawasaki's advice when creating your pitch deck. 10-12 slides are ideal for a young project. In the examples presented in the second part of the series, it can be seen that longer pitch decks with in-depth market analysis are used by startups in the later stages, while young companies rely on brevity.

 1. How to grab attention in 5 seconds

If you were unable to keep the audience's attention in the first 5 seconds of the performance, consider the pitch failed. This is especially true for specialized events like Demo Days, conferences and competitions.

The easiest way to get attention is to ask a question. It’s a proven fact that the human brain is programmed to answer any question asked, even if not out loud. It is also a good tactic to start your performance with a short anecdote or a showcase of your life.

Immediately after the short introduction, move on to the actual presentation, and don't forget about the "elevator rule".

Elevator rule: the most important thing in 30 seconds

Elevator pitch is a technique that boils down to talking about your idea in 30 seconds, approximately as long as an elevator ride takes. In practice, a speech can take as long as 120 seconds, but remember that the longer you talk, the more likely the investor is to get distracted. To learn to speak briefly but concisely you need to train hard. Here's what to look out for: 

  • Do not forget to introduce yourself. Say your name and position / status in the project;

  • Briefly describe the idea —  this is where the slogan comes in handy. Talk about the product and what kind of consumer pain it addresses;

  • Share why your idea is better than those currently on the market - focus on the strengths of the product;

  • Remember that numbers are important to investors: potential annual income, growth rate, monthly customer growth —  show metrics to make your pitch persuasive.

3. Spectacular finale

At the end of your speech, try to show your openness to discussion, your desire to develop the project and acquire reliable partners. Use call to action like "contact us", "tell me why it might not work", and motivate investors to get in touch with you.

Support your call to action with a final slide containing your email and other contacts —  it is important that everything is readable and the QR code —  if you have one —  works.

What to avoid when pitching a startup 

And now the top anti-actions —  what you should never do when talking about a startup.

Use any unverified information: figures, facts, quotes. If any of the above turns out to be false, it will be extremely difficult to restore your reputation.

Show slides with errors. Typos, not to mention grammatical mistakes, make a bad impression.

Cram slides with text or visuals. The more concise the slides, the better.

Include information on the exit strategy for investors in your pitch. This gives out your lack of experience. Nobody ever knows if so and when their startup takes off. 

Make your intro too long. The longer you speak, the less attention people pay to what you say.

Read from slides and move on to a new slide before you start talking about it. People will be distracted by reading the slides instead of listening to you intently.

Use small print. This can ruin the best pitch as people simply won't be able to read the contact slide.


You don't need to be an outstanding public speaker to pitch a startup to investors, you just need to learn simple rules and practice.

The pitch directly affects whether your project will receive money, so it is important to work out its structure and the content of each slide in detail. Particular attention should be paid to the introduction —  because if you lose the audience's attention in the beginning, they won’t listen to the rest of the presentation.

Remember —  the road will be mastered by the walking one. Even if you’ve had negative pitching experiences in the past, don't be discouraged. Work on bugs, collect feedback —  and who knows, maybe your startup will become an unicorn!


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