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5th Jul 2023

Ask Jamie: Top 7 Lessons for Investor Pitching

Hear from the GROW Team: Top 7 Investor Pitching Lessons

Hi! I’m Jamie, a Programme Associate at GROW, with over 7 years of experience in the startup and innovation ecosystem.

One of the most important skillsets to building high-growth startups is pitching. I recently led current startups in Cohort 4 of the AgFunder GROW Impact Accelerator in an outdoor Pitching & Storytelling workshop to help them maximise their business acceleration opportunities.

Here are some of the top lessons (in no particular order) that I’d like to share with you. 🌟

Ask Jamie: What’s pitching all about?

Lesson #1 – A versatile skillset πŸ“’

Pitching is not just for investors. Anytime you’re presenting about yourself and/or your business to people, it is a skillset you can tap on. Be it trying to convince a new client or attracting talent as a cash-strapped startup with little to offer besides an inspiring vision.

Lesson #2 – Understanding your audience πŸ’¬

The focus should be on the audience – why they should pay attention to you, what is in it for them. Make sure to adapt your words to the audience. These two questions are why you’ll often hear advice to focus on the (i) problem and (ii) benefits over features.

Lesson #3 – Clarity over comprehensiveness 🎯

It’s more important to be clear than complete. Yes, some business models/technology are more complex than others, but being able to clearly communicate (i) what is your value proposition, (ii) how the value proposition is delivered to / enjoyed by the end-user and (iii) how you are capturing value $ is of utmost importance. Any gaps can then be filled in by answering follow-up questions.

Lesson #4 – Setting yourself apart πŸ₯«

What is your special sauce? Seriously consider that your audience may have come across any number of similar competitors and the last thing you want is to be boxed in the “oh I’ve seen this before” box. Make it obvious what is your competitive advantage.

Lesson #5 – Your pitch flows from your business modelπŸ’‘

Clarity in your pitch comes from clarity in your business model and growth strategy. Sometimes (but less likely) you can get away with a clear pitch with an unclear business model, but the illusion can quickly collapse once interested investors start asking questions.

Lesson #6 – The “story” in your pitch πŸ’­

Storytelling is the most helpful technique in pitching. It’s not about over-dramatisation or fear-mongering. But ensuring your pitch has an emotional hook (optional but often powerful), a logical flow/structure, and ending with an invite to join you in your journey.

And lastly, lesson #7 – Gathering feedback for your pitch πŸ–Š

Test out your pitch. With low-stakes audience who are willing to be candid with you. We recently got our startups to practice their 1-min elevator pitch in small groups of 3-4 and it was the first time for some of them to hear really helpful and constructive feedback from fellow founders. And it was one of their favourite learning experiences!

Jamie leading the outdoor Pitching & Storytelling workshop for GIA Cohort 4

Sometimes we really want our work to speak for itself instead of having to “dress it up”.

However, the reality is that doing so really makes you stand out just that bit more and be more memorable. Most importantly, a good pitch gives investors the confidence that you’ve got the clarity of mind to chart your strategy and positioning, and attract the next round of investments necessary and/or become profitable.

It takes guts to put yourself out there again and again and often receiving rejections, and I have the utmost respect for any founders who’ve chosen this journey.

Stay tuned for more insights for startups from the GROW Team! 🌱

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