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Pitching a Venture Capitalist

Let’s assume your elevator pitch, exec summary and your networking skills have gotten you a meeting with a venture capital firm. What now?

This is where there are tons of different ideas on what to do so we’ll use the advice of Albert Wenger, a partner at prominent venture capital firm, Union Square Ventures.

According to Wenger, you should:

  • Use a PowerPoint presentation
  • Powerful opening statement that gets attention
  • That the company already launched is a good way to start
  • Information about the person making the pitch
  • Info about how far along the company is
  • Info about how prospective customers will find you
  • Other companies in the same space

Wenger also advised entrepreneurs against pitching a VC when there are legal grey areas in the startup’s business plan. “VCs hate legal risks; they’re taking other [financial] risks.”

Some venture capitalists advise you to do a demo of your product. Opinions are mixed on this as well as the best way to pitch. Ultimately, the format of your pitch is not what will impede you from getting a VC interested (unless of course, it is a total mess) so Albert Wenger’s format above should work well.

However, given the increased use of Twitter, blogs and social media by many venture capitalists, you may be able to find out what a specific investor you are meeting likes to see in a pitch with a couple of well-crafted Google searches or just by reading his or her blog. You don’t want to have 50 different pitches for 50 different venture capitalists as that is not a way to optimally use your time, your most finite resource, but you may choose to tweak your presentation in the face of facts about how an investor prefers to be pitched.