If you google “pitch deck” or "how to pitch investors", you’re going to find thousands of Silicon Valley opinion pieces written by male TechStars. Not the greatest fodder for reading nor always appropriate for a Maine audience. Thankfully, the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs’ Top Gun Maine program has done a lot of the work in pitch practicing for us, by aggregating information and giving us forums to practice and finetune our pitch. In March we had a live pitch demonstration from Kristel Hayes of Fibher, a custom apparel company. We’ve been working on our 1-minute, 3-minute, and 5-minute pitches in preparation for the Top Gun Portland Top Gun Pitch-Off & Showcase. It’s humbling, painful, and great learning experience to pay attention to your body and your visual cues.
A few things learned:
Gender matters. Statistically, investors are 60% more likely to invest in male-owned companies than female entrepreneurs. Women own 39 percent of all businesses in the US, but female entrepreneurs get only two percent of venture funding.
Practice, practice, practice.10x times a day or more. Record yourself, and practice in the mirror.
Earn the attention of your audience. An investor should love your business in the first 5 minutes.
If you want advice, ask for money. If you want money, ask for advice. To succeed, you will need both.
Prepare for the unknown. Every investor will focus on different aspects of the business. I found this Y Combinator flashcard-style interview pitch deck preparation to be helpful
Up next: I’ll be pitching the Little Red Sauna at the Portland Top Gun Pitch-Off Event on May 9th, 2019!