5 Tips for a perfect pitch presentation
Next to your business plan or grant proposal, a good pitch presentation is one of the most important elements to convince investors and secure funding. This applies to both private equity and subsidy funding. In private equity you will always have to pitch your project or company to investors, while in grant funding several programs such as the European Commission’s EIC Accelerator include a pitch presentation in front of a jury as a last step to select the winners. The following points can help you perfect your pitch and maximize your chances of obtaining funding:
1. Prepare several pitches and use comprehensive language.
You never know when you will have the opportunity to pitch for an investor or how much time you will have to convince him/her. For this reason, you should always have several pitches of different duration prepared: a short 1-2 minutes elevator pitch, a 10-minute pitch, and a 40-minute pitch. Keep in mind that your pitches should be comprehensible for any audience, so do not use acronyms or technical jargon. You cannot assume that the decision makers are specialized in your field. Practice your pitch with your family or friends to make sure your innovation is understandable for the broader audience.
2. Always start with the problem and connect with the audience.
In order to get the attention of the audience, you should always start by describing the problem that you are trying to solve. The market pull approach is in most cases more effective than the technology push approach. Start with the customer/patient need and then explain how your technology solves the problem. When describing the problem, try to connect emotionally with the audience, for example presenting the need as a personal story rather than just describing it: e.g. ‘I am here today to share Susan’s story. Susan is a 53 year old mother who suffered a heart attack on her way to work. A heart attack occurs when…’. After introducing the problem, you should try to highlight your passion by answering the question ‘why am I doing this?’ before presenting your solution.
3. Know your numbers.
Quantify as much as possible, provide facts instead of editorializing. ‘100 million patients suffer this disease’ sounds better than saying ‘a huge amount of people suffer this disease’. You have to know your numbers very well! The judges or investors will ask you questions after the pitch, and providing numbers during your answers will always make a good impression in their minds.
4. Include all the elements of your business plan.
It is very important to briefly touch all sections of your business plan. This includes: problem, solution, market, competition, unique selling points, intellectual property, workplan, and financials. Try to avoid the mistake of focusing on just one section, such as the technology, as your time might be very limited and investors want to see the full picture.
5. Practice, practice, practice.
Forgetting some part of your pitch in the presentation day will create a bad impression on the judges. You should practice a thousand times if necessary. There is always room for improvement! Take into account that the delivery is as important as the content itself, so also practice your tone of voice, speed, pronunciation, and even body posture and hand gestures. Practicing in front of the mirror or recording yourself are a perfect way to identify what you are doing wrong. Furthermore, be very careful with the time limit, as some judges might just cut your microphone after the end of the countdown. Do not try to pack everything you want to explain. If the judges still want to know something, they will ask you during the Q&A following the pitch.
This article was written by David Alonso Amado, Life Sciences Consultant at Catalyze.