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Looking to attract investment? Esteemed angel investor Susan Preston offers her tips on delivering the perfect two-minute pitch.


What are you trying to do with your pitch? You’re trying to be remembered. You are standing out.

Tell me the whole story, because you’ve got me interested. Connect with your audience. Show your passion. I know it can be nerve-wracking and scary to do presentations, but it is a necessary evil. So practice with friends. Practice in front of the mirror, for that matter. Know your audience.

Susan Preston, angel investor

Remember, investors see lots of companies. You are not the only one they’re going to see. You’ve got to stand out. You need to be more interesting. You’ve got to be a presence where I lean forward in my seat to hear the rest of what you’ve got to say. It’s so important.

What’s really important is the pitch. Those two minute pitches are the most important thing that you’ll ever learn how to do. You want to interact, and be able to answer any question that is asked. You want to be realistic in what you’re offering as terms.

Your appearance is important. I really don’t like it when you’ve got entrepreneurs who come in and they’ve got holey jeans on. It probably doesn’t happen here as often as it happens in Sillicon Valley. But appearance is important – you have to comb your hair! It astounds me.

The two minute pitch

There’s nothing more important than that two minute pitch. 

In those two minutes, you have to cover: your market size and your marketing, your solution, your team, how you’re going to make money and your accomplishments to date. Easy, right? No problem.

I know a lot of people say ‘I can’t do that’. Yes, you can. There’s an app I can think of. What they say is ‘we’re an uber for mobile auto detail’. Right there, they’ve described what their company is by referencing another company that I know. That’s always a great way of doing it. If you can, do that.

If you’re an i-phone app, I know how you’re operating. What you’re doing is you’re talking about the value you’re adding to the consumer. What you’re telling me is that this also adds value to the pain of those who provide the service.

You’re finding those customers out there, and easily connecting with them. On both sides, you’re solving market pain. Tell me how big the market is - £2 million sterling. You’re making money by taking a transaction fee, you’re marketing primarily online, you’re telling me about your track record.

Saying you have deep domain experience is probably ok at this time – unless one of the big factors in the selling attributes of your company is who you are. If so, you might want to spend a little more time talking about your team.

Their market approach is a first-mover, and you can see a few things that they’ve already accomplished there. If I read a good sample pitch to you straight through, I could probably do it within forty-five seconds. I’ve given you all of the information that you need as a potential investor. That’s a great pitch – and you can do it too.

Tell the whole story

Susan Preston, angel investor
Susan Preston, angel investor

When you’re doing your full pitch, use that two minute pitch as the intro, and you’re going to get me hooked.

I’ll be thinking – they’ve already done this, they’ve already done that, they’ve told me their market size, they’ve got a great team...

Tell me the whole story, because you’ve got me interested. Connect with your audience. Show your passion. I know it can be nerve-wracking and scary to do presentations, but it is a necessary evil. So practice with friends. Practice in front of the mirror, for that matter. Know your audience.

It’s ok to ask who’ll be in the audience and what they’re interested in. Please use facts – not adjectives. We do get tired of them. Use facts to back your claims up. You’ll lose credibility if you don’t.

Facts are a great way to convey information. Don’t put too much information on one slide.

Ensure that there’s an order to what you do. Give the market opportunity in more depth than simply talking about the market size – so I get a picture of how big your company could be. What is that market pain? So now you’re telling me the market pain, and now you’re telling me why you’re the most competitive, ideal solution for that massive market pain.

Understand your finances - inside and out

Tell me how you’re going to make money. Who are your competitors? Everybody has competition. This is a great place to use graphs – you can show your sales and different variables that you’re rating yourself on. Show your growth strategy – how you’re going to retain customers, how you’re going to grow, how you’re valued, how you’re going to be able to scale, what traction you have, your customer.

Let me know that even if you’re not out there and you don’t have customers yet, that you have spoken to potential customers and they love what you offer, and they will buy it.

When I look at a company, I go to their pitch deck, and I look straight at their financials. I don’t read their business plan till I’m done with those two documents. And if I’m still interested in the company – then I’ll look at the business plan.

The financials tell me as much about the business as any other document you could draw up. One, because I love financials, and I know how to read them. But I can look at those and work out if you are a reasonable entrepreneur and if your expectations are reasonable, or if you’re just passing gas.

This only needs to be one page – and it could be graphically showing the revenue you’re going to make, what your cost of goods are, and what your profits could be over a four/five year period.

Of course, the team. We want to know all about you and your team members, your funding needs and your exit. How are you going to use the money? How are you raising money right now?

Be prepared and patient

What I strongly encourage is that even though your actual presentation is going to be fifteen slides, have as appendices a list of back-up clients. So when you pick up that question from the audience and you can answer it – that’s impressive.

Angels rarely write a cheque on the spot. So be prepared for the investor saying that they’ll get back to you in a couple of weeks. Put things in your pitch that you know they’re going to ask for. Your key contracts, etc. Just put them in!

It’s going to take you a few hours to put them in and build it, but I’ll tell you – you’re going to win friends and impress the heck out of those investors by having this ready. Be ready to respond.

Be quick and prompt in terms of responding. It’s essential that you’re excited about bringing investors into your company. You’ve got to be excited. If you don’t want investors – don’t get them. Don’t be rigid. Be coachable.

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