Author: Pascal Heymann
When preparing startups for pitching to investors, the question of who will swallow the proverbial bitter pill comes up frequently. So how do you decide who pitches? It’s easy, really.
First of all, that’s the wrong attitude towards pitching, regardless of your position within the company. Ignoring the fact that presenting is both fun and rewarding when done right (they usually concede this after the training), the pitch is a vital instrument in a startup’s communication. It’s the distilled flavour of what the company represents, does, and hopes to achieve. If you’re working in a startup, you should be able to pitch that startup in your sleep. Even if you’re the new intern.
Second of all, the discussion tends to centre around the wrong core question. Instead of thinking about what each of your colleagues want and who feels most comfortable doing what, the real question should be what investors want. That’s right, investors have a preference of who they want to hear a pitch from. After all, it is their money and support that will (hopefully) take your company from a small startup to a multi-billion dollar corporation.
Put yourself in an investor’s shoes. You’ve got $250k to invest in a new product and you’re looking for the right team with the right idea/product to multiply the investment. Who would you want to see presenting the company to you? The new intern? Obviously not. The Marketing Manager? No, their focus within the company is fairly limited. Investors want to speak to the person in charge. The person who will ultimately be responsible for handling the investment. They want to speak to the person who runs the company. The person that is the company. They want the CEO.
If you’re a startup CEO and you consider yourself to be a bad speaker, that’s no reason to pass the puck of pitching to investors to someone else in the company. Hire a trainer to develop a strong pitch with you and prepare you for the stage. The investors will thank you for it.
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