Last week, I attended a venture capital/angel investor conference in the Bay Area and part of the event involved entrepreneurs pitching their concepts to the panel of VCs and angels. If you read my first post, you already know that there were quite a few mistakes made by these pitching entrepreneurs.
In fact, there were so many, I had to divide up this blog post into two. To see the first five mistakes I listed, click here. Here are the second five mistakes that actual entrepreneurs seeking funding did:
- They didn’t actually state what their company did.
This entrepreneur’s pitch was the shortest of them all. I wrote it down verbatim. It was “We are revolutionizing the way roadside assistance works. We are still in product development phase and are looking for funding to bring it to market. Thank you.”
While I am all for brevity, this pitch gives the potential investor no notion of what the company is actually planning to do. Additionally, the word “revolutionizing” is almost as laughable as “conservative financial projections.” Let the investor decide if it is revolutionary or not AFTER you show us how you plan to change the way things are currently done. Otherwise, this is simply unbelievable and unsubstantiated hype.
- Ended the pitch with a “drop the mic” attitude.
This entrepreneur clearly thought he nailed his pitch, which he didn’t. When he was done, he sauntered off as though every person on the panel was going to chase him down. Even if he DID nail the pitch, walking off as though you are “above all this” shows you probably aren’t someone I want to work with. A bit of humility goes a long way.
- Introduced the pitch with several of the following (nearly 15 out of the 20 did this):
“How ya doing?”
First of all, there were two women on the panel… um, they aren’t “guys.” Second of all, coming out with such a casual attitude causes any investor to discount you immediately. Show some respect to the people you are trying to earn trust and confidence from. If someone were asking for your money, wouldn’t you want to be treated as a professional? Introductions such as “Ladies and gentleman” or “Esteemed panel” would be a much more effective introduction.
- They didn’t bring their prototype with them.
One entrepreneur had a better Fit Bit type of bracelet. After she pitched, one of the panel members seemed interested so they asked her: “Do you have it with you?” I still cannot believe her answer: “Its in the hotel room.” I hope I don’t have to say anymore here.
- They read from their phone or from paper.
Aside from the obvious juvenile nature of this tactic, if you don’t know your business well enough to do a 60-second pitch, I’m not interested. Additionally, if you aren’t confident enough in your knowledge about your company or your industry to look me in the eye, I’ll never trust you. Even if you stumble a bit, it is better than reading your pitch to people right in front of you. They stopped listening as soon as you took out your notes.
Categories: Entrepreneurship, Pitching Your Idea
Hello Dr. Robb,
Thank you for all the great advice.
Thanks so much John!