Venture capitalists get flooded with startup pitches, which can make it difficult for founders, especially those building in crowded categories, to stand out. While every investor is looking for something different, there are ways founders can improve their chances of getting noticed.
Speaking at last weeks’ Disrupt 2022 conference, investors Annie Case, a partner at Kleiner Perkins; Sheel Mohnot, co-founder of Better Tomorrow Ventures; and Jomayra Herrera, partner at Reach Capital, said that the founders who manage to capture their attention are the ones who come to the pitch process prepared.
Of course, this could mean a lot of things. Case said that it’s incredibly helpful when founders help investors prepare for their pitch meeting. When founders send over information before the pitch, or offer a preview of the deck, she can to go beyond surface-level questions right away, which leaves more time for in-depth questions, she said. That allows her to walk away from the meeting with more information, which could help a founder get a check down the line.
If you’re starting a company, and there are three or four other companies that people would look at, I expect you to know intimate details about them. Sheel Mohnot, co-founder, Better Tomorrow Ventures
For Herrera, just sending over a partial or basic pitch deck, or a demo, if relevant, can be wildly helpful.
“I generally recommend having almost like a teaser version of the deck with enough data and information to give us a sense of where you are in terms of the journey of your company,” Herrera said. “Just enough information so that we come prepared to the meeting.”
The three investors agreed that founders should come to the pitch meeting ready to answer questions about the team, progress and TAM. Mohnot said it’s a red flag when companies don’t seem to have thought through these potential questions, especially when it comes to competition.
“If you’re starting a company, and there are three or four other companies that people would look at [in the space], I expect you to know intimate details about those companies,” Mohnot said.