How to Pitch your Product?

How to pitch your product to the investors — this was the question answered by the leading personalities in the field — Alok Mittal from Canaan Partners and Mayank Khanduja from SAIF Partners in today’s session in Delhi.

Before preparing a pitch, you need to ask yourself — what’s the traction that your product has got — how accepted is it? Even if you’ve 500 initial customers, what’s the response of the customers? Are they coming back? How are you getting customers — staff picks on app markets? PR? Offline model? You should also know about the investor. What is his or her background. What kind of startups they’ve invested in, and then appropriately pitch to the investors who you think would be interested in your product.

You need to build a spirit of the pitch. Your pitch is to sell – sell a story – not people or data. Give out some customer testimonials that you’ve got. Have some hooks on the pitch — the first thing you’re selling is the opportunity — the problem that you’re solving. You need to show that you have the appropriate team — and you would be able to execute it — with evidence. Do remember that you shouldn’t have any artificial figures in your pitch. This is how you should go about a pitch:

  • Introduction — a brief about your product — what problem does it solve.
  • Competition — You need to communicate that you’ll win in the existing market. Showcase how — what is that that you offer is special.
  • Team — Show that you’ve the best position to win. Why are you, and your foundation team there in the startup? Never say that you currently have some advisors whose name you can not reveal and would join in once you get the funding — the investors do not take away anything positive from that with them.
  • Monetization — Show some pricing plans that you’ve thought of. If there are no revenue streams right now, will you have a subscription based pricing model or on the same lines in the future? Do remember that either you’ve got to have a lot (tens of millions) of people and then decide the monetization strategy or say that you’ve some people who would pay — not that you’ve some people and still need to figure out how they would pay.
  • Financials — Tell about your revenue projections, why you need the funding and how you’ll utilise the funds.
  • Finally, always end on a high — tell some customer testimonials or some awards that you’ve won for your product.

Elevator Pitch

You also need an elevator pitch — a two minute pitch in which you essentially tell the investor why he should give you 20 minutes more to hear about your product.

  • Tell about the problem that you’re solving — the what. Have the hooks in it.
  • How are you planning to solve it?
  • Who is your customer?
  • Do not have any tech jargons in the elevator pitch.
  • Keep it straight and simple.

Cross posted on the GSF blog. The GSF Accelerator is a 7-week program designed to foster innovation in India’s fast-growing digital economy. It aims to provide select, promising start-ups with unparalleled access to venture and business networks, personalized and intensive mentoring, and initial capital. Coaching is provided to each of the GSF startups by a mentor pool of over 200 cofounders and digital entrepreneurs from across the world. This article is a part of the series of the mentorship sessions held for the startups in the winter 2012 iteration of the accelerator.