Forty-nine Startup Pitch Mistakes to Avoid 1

Forty-nine Startup Pitch Mistakes to Avoid

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Mistakes inside the pitch deck

1. Unrealistic boom projections

Founders recognize that any monetary projection for early degree companies does now not makes the experience. There are too many variables, which project faulty ninety-nine% of the time. However, this projection enables traders to apprehend how you consider your business and the assumptions that want to maintain authenticity to grow fast. If you venture a revenue growth that is absolutely out of sync with other startups within the industry, it brings out a lack of expertise of the distance until substantiated.

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2. Unreasonable TAM

It is critical to apprehend the distinction between the Market Size and the Total Addressable Market. Investors are moderately conscious whether or not a market is large sufficient or no longer. If you gift a TAM that is unreasonable for the enterprise, it may boomerang and convey a lack of information on the gap.

3. Top-down method to marketplace sizing

Assume that, as consistent with Nielsen, ‘supply breakfast in the office’ is really worth $100mn in India. While Nielsen is correct in their calculation, you cannot use this as the handiest measure of marketplace length.

Bottoms up is a higher approach to color this image of enormous opportunity. “If there are 1 million office goers within the city and you could attract 5% of them, you will earn 1 crore a month in case you supply breakfast 20 days a month”. This bottom-up approach to marketplace sizing is what makes the reduce and indicates your marketplace’s actual capability.

4. A lot of logos and not using sales

Having Fortune 500 groups listed as customers makes buyers expect that the organization is producing meaningful sales. But if the financials do not corroborate, it could imply both the corporation’s definition of ‘purchaser’ is very loose and consists of non-paying ‘clients,’ or the agency cannot price enough for the product. Both options are equally horrific.

5. Fake precision for early level companies

Please admit that you do not have sufficient records of degree metrics like CAC, LTV, and Churn as an early degree agency. Don’t try to convince traders with exceptional metrics, for e.G. 20x CAC to LTV ratio, based on assumptions or unreliable evidence.

6. Writing the anticipated valuation

It’s OK to quote anticipated ballpark valuation in a meeting. It’s now not OK to write down the same (raising $4mn at $16mn pre) for your deck. It is naïve and takes away your leverage inside the negotiation.

7. Calculating buyers’ anticipated returns

It’s nearly impossible for you & investors to calculate returns from funding so early in the existence of a startup. Quoting a small variety would flip off the traders, and a large number will lead them to ask greater questions about your assumptions. This is sincerely no longer in which you should be spending it slowly.

Your activity as an entrepreneur is to build a massive organization. That is what you must be obsessively focussed about.

8. No opposition

Saying which you don’t have any competition generally way either you haven’t completed your homework, or you’re going after a tiny market that does not count number. The odds are you haven’t carried out an excellent evaluation of opposition for your enterprise. Think strategically and develop your horizon.

9. ‘Hardcoded’ financials in your presentation

Hard coding numbers on your presentation is a rookie mistake. Linking your sheets with formulae and assumptions allows traders to play with diverse financial inputs to see how your commercial enterprise version will survive in converting situations.

10. Team slide is, in reality, a short bio

This is one of the key slides of your presentation. Investors are bidding on your crew, and their largest fear is that if you’ll be capable of executing. Make positive you communicate approximately the chemistry, area experience, beyond achievements. Mention the complementary talents of your cofounders and when you have worked together before.

Do no longer create a sub-general presentation of your headshots and levels simplest.

11. Uninteresting or unrealistic projections

Projecting 5mn revenue in 5 years will not excite any investor. Also, projecting 500mn in three years gets you laughed out of the room if you are at 0 sales nowadays.

Avoid assumptions that you may not be able to justify, like a 500% increase in sales with the most effective 30% growth in operating & advertising charges.

12. Lack of know-how of CAC and LTV of your patron

Be equipped for questions about your consumer acquisition costs like what channels you operate to collect a client, what expenses you incur, their probable existence time fee, which areas show maximum promise with advertising, and your regular income cycle duration. Lack of answers to these questions means that you haven’t thought via your business plan.

13. Not being attentive to element

For your criminal safety, placed copyright observe at the bottom and upload the phrase “Private & Confidential.” Include page numbers on every slide so that the buyers can go without difficulty to reference a particular page. Make certain your presentation is a visual deal with, no longer text-heavy, and does not incorporate typos or inconsistencies.

14. Not being able to explain the key assumptions on your projections

It feels you don’t have an actual handle on your enterprise if you cannot explain your monetary assumptions and projections. If you cross unprepared, you may now not get a 2d meeting with the traders.

15. Not articulating why your product or generation is different from a competitor

You will explain why your product is extraordinary and 10x better than your competitor. You can assume that traders realize approximately competitive products or technology and need to have an excellent reaction. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot with a sloppy reaction.

16. Not having the ability to tell how you may use the investment capital and the way lengthy it’ll final


Investors want to know how you’ll use the raised budget and your burn fee (so that they realize when you may want the subsequent spherical of financing). It can even confirm which you recognize your expenses for hiring, advertising and marketing, help & admin, and so on, given their experience with different startups.

17. Not capitalizing your intellectual assets

Investors put a heavy premium on highbrow belongings. Be ready for questions on what IP does your employer has and the way became it developed, whether any preceding agency of your co-founders will have a declare on your IP.

18. Lack of direction and long-term approach

You want to have a clean method in which your employer may be in 5yrs and how you’re going to get there. Unrealistic expectancies, naïve assumptions will not assist you in ultimate this round.

19. Not know-how the distinction between a stand-alone deck and a presentation

My own deck’s stand tends to be textual content heavy because you aren’t there to explain it. It explains sure graphs and different assumptions & thoughts.

Your presentation deck needs to be visually appealing, with most five words in step with the slide if possible. This will help you make an excellent presentation as you will now not be analyzing out-out of your slides (that’s the quickest manner to position a room to sleep).

Use your stand on my own deck simplest while you cannot be there.

Mistakes at some stage in the pitch

20. Apologizing earlier than the begin

Do now not begin with ‘I’m sorry; this isn’t always what I normally do.’

When you open with this kind of sentence, it indicates you lack self-assurance. You have definitely conceded that you might not promote to the buyers earlier than you start. It means your team did not plan an awesome method for how to improve money, and no person in your crew can close a sale as you are satisfied with the worst in your team. Neither gives any self-belief to the buyers.

21. Stated trouble that isn’t always a problem

Frame your trouble assertion such that it is clear what’s the problem. When you assert- ‘The problem is the identical day transport market, and we plan to combat the Amazons of the arena,’ it does no longer mean whatever. Do no longer assume that investors recognize what you suggest.

22. Reading from the display screen

Aside from the juvenile nature of this tactic, in case you don’t know your commercial enterprise properly enough to do a 60-2d pitch, no person would be involved. If you aren’t confident enough in your information about your agency or your industry to appearance the audience in the eye, they may by no means believe you. Even if you stumble a piece, it’s far better than studying your pitch to humans proper in front of you. They stopped listening as quickly as you took out your notes.

23. Smelling of Desperation

Do now not sound desperate whilst you pitch. If you come back off as this investment is the handiest manner for your business to survive, it appears needy and is unattractive to many buyers, and might set you up to be taken advantage of. You’ll emerge as giving away way greater equity you then have to.

It is better to sound assured and make the buyers accept that your startup is a gravy boat that they do now not want to overlook.

24. Taking Criticism Personally

Most investors are direct and are going to invite you to the hard questions. That’s an excellent factor; it approaches they may be thinking about your idea. Don’t take feedback or tough questions as personal assaults. They have nothing against you.

25. Worrying about the demo/presentation that might not seem to work

If something can go wrong, it’ll. Be equipped for the worst-case eventualities. The demo which you planned may not paintings. Keep a video of the demo as the backup. Arrive early and get your computer hooked to the projector before the meeting starts. If the on-display presentation fails, use the print copies as backup.

If something does no longer paintings, flow on. Do no longer kill the effectiveness of your pitch by losing time.

26. Giving an unnecessarily distinct presentation

Most buyers you will pitch to our skilled and recognize exactly what they’re seeking out. You want to present them with the proper records, which can persuade them that your organization is the right organization to put money into.

27. Failure to Listen

Investors could ask you several questions about the business version and tech platform throughout fundraising. They want to make sure that the investment does not become a failure. Do no longer take the questions as a query on your competence. Treat this curiosity as a good sign, and do bear in mind all viable alternatives.

28. ‘This is the final spherical’ hazard.

Do no longer try and scare VCs into investing by pronouncing that it is the ultimate financing round. It makes you appear like a rookie. We all recognize startups want cash to grow and more so for growing speedy. Stay away from such non-affordable threats.

29. Using a stand-alone deck for the presentation

Do not stand there and annoy your audience through reading your deck line-via-line. Please make sure you capture their interest, lead their imagination, and passionately proportion your thoughts. This is your display, be the master of the show.

30. Conservative numbers

You appearance amateur while you say that your numbers are conservative throughout a pitch. Investors want a realistic forecast and might admire it if you could display it on your monetary model.

31. NDA

No investor signs and symptoms these, for the easy cause that they can not be exposed later utilizing someone they did not put money into, claiming that their idea was similar to the only they chose to invest in. Please allow them to recognize which you are pre-marketplace, and they might appreciate your privacy.

32. I’ll get again to you on that

That is very well if it’s approximately one or factor; however, if there is too much info that you don’t know bloodless, instantaneous, it indicates you are not near enough to the enterprise or have not in reality concept it all the way thru. Before your VC pitch assembly, conduct a position player with a team member or close buddy. Ask your “actor” to be a whole jerk – have her poke as many holes to your delivery as viable. Anytime she has any question, difficulty, inconsistency, etc., she has her voice that to you. Record it. Take notes. Go returned and fasten it. Know the answers to her questions – and in case you don’t know, figure them out. Do all of this with lots of time before your real meeting so that you could make your tweaks. The chances are precise that if she’s asking something, so might we – and it’s better to return from a close colleague than a stranger on the cusp of writing you a test (or no longer).

33. Not Saving the Best for Last

As you maintain pitching, you will get better with time. Use habitual questions and worries after each pitch for your favor, and revise your deck for that reason. Once you get to the massive fishes, you’ll be assured to close the deal.

34. Leaving Without the Q&A

No count number how prepared a pitch is, it could fail to reply to positive questions your audience has. Planning for Q&A time lets your pitch be clean to someone unusual together with your line of work.

35. Rushing the Pitch

Speaking slowly makes you sound extra assured and knowledgeable. If you get nervous, try to relax and feature a tumbler of water. Do not memorize your pitch but communicate from the coronary heart.

36. Picking the Wrong Angle

As a developer, you are probably excited about your startup’s exclusive attitude, like new lower back-stop technology, than what the buyers are probably inquisitive about. Investors want to analyze greater about items to help them formulate a judgment, which includes how the commercial enterprise goes to make cash and the way the business enterprise can be scaled. Pitch to your target audience.

37. Coming in with your team to a pitch assembly, but simplest have the CEO communicate

Investors want to recognize that you have an awesome group. They want to get to realize your crew. If most effective the CEO speaks, how will they gauge if the alternative members are any desirable? More importantly, do no longer have the crew members contradict themselves.

38. Not knowing who you’re talking to ahead of time

Know your target market. Different partners in a VC firm focus on extraordinary sectors. It is quality for you if you realize how well known they are in your marketplace phase. If they’re already aware of your place, you’ll no longer explain, for e.G. Why online spending is going to blow up with the mixture of AR &AI.

So when a meeting is confirmed, it’s exceptional to invite who can be attending. The answer will assist set the expectancies.

39. Talking approximately features over advantages

Make positive you enchantment to the emotional side as nicely. Talk approximately how your product is benefiting its clients, in preference to the features. Talk in phrases of the price your purchaser perceives, now not the features that create that price. Make it smooth to understand why the clients love your organization.

Speaking of the derived price is constantly an excellent guess. Sell a perfect night’s sleep instead of only a bed, promote one thousand songs on your phone rather than 1GB of more memory.

40. Not that specialize in commercial enterprise metrics

Investors are concerned with the 5 most important questions: the marketplace possibility, your crew’s capability to turn the idea right into a profitable business, the go-to-market strategy, your current & projected numbers, and what you are requesting. Identify what drives every investor- do they want to be part of a groundbreaking corporation? Do they need to make money and exit rapidly? Target what drives them!

Focus on the business opportunity; prefer to spend an excessive amount of time explaining your product. If you know the possibility, you may have a better shot at keeping the buyers’ interest.

41. Not getting a warm advent

If you really want to hit it out of doors in the park, make sure you get a clear heat intro. Sometimes traders take a meeting with the lukewarm intro, with 99% reality of now not investing, to be courteous to the individual that brought you—the chillier the creation, the lower the possibilities of your success.

42. Not asking the portfolio businesses for advice

If the investor’s preceding founders have funded, let you know even one thing about what the investor loves or hates, your attempt becomes worth it. This is inside statistics, typically available to the internal circle simplest. So go out and rummage via LinkedIn for connections, stalk them on Facebook & Twitter, and find their e-mail cope with. Use LinkedIn premium if all else fails. But do now not return empty-handed from this quest.

43. Do not be uncoachable

Do not scare away buyers by discovering them as uncoachable. Your loss of flexibility, unwillingness to percentage manipulate, or no longer bringing in new executives at the proper time may cost a little you ultimately the round.

44. Discussing ownership stakes

Do now not talk about how a whole lot of ownership you’re inclined to provide investors in the preliminary pitch. These details arise after the investor has completed learning your enterprise. Your number one goal right now is to build a dating with the investor.

If an investor asks approximately ownership terms early on, absolutely say, you are ‘flexible.’ Do now not quote a hard wide variety that kills your pitch right there.

45. Not quantifying consequences

When you use words like a lot of traction’, ‘large marketplace,’ ‘little investment,’ it annoys investors.


If you say anything is ‘little,’ you are essentially discounting it- little business enterprise, little internet site. Let the target audience determine what’s crucial. Vague terms haven’t any region in an investor pitch.

46. Desperate closing

If you shut with ‘Please communicate to me, and I can show you how to get your cash again,’ it seems like an insult to the buyers.

Aside from the obvious determined nature of this plea, buyers aren’t worried about getting their money lower back. They are interested in getting a 10x RETURN for their funding. Getting their money back is not something that excites them.

47. Not following up in a timely way

Follow up with your primary touch a few days after the conversation to suggest possible subsequent steps that the investor can observe to analyze extra about the enterprise and the opportunity. It would be higher if you talk some urgency about your fundraising system to the investor, and your startup is at the pinnacle of his thoughts. Even if the investor gives it a bypass, it’s higher to recognize than waiting in limbo as an entrepreneur.

48. Making traders look forward to the documents

Serious traders will ask for extra files than definitely a pitch deck. This can be whatever from incorporation certificate to monetary projections to tax filings. Have generally requested documents like those prepared in a record-sharing web page like Google Drive or DropBox. There is no motive to make an investor watch for a couple of weeks even as you acquire those medical doctors; it is a waste of time and momentum and might be interpreted as sloppy training without problems. If you are making this pitch mistake, all your previous attempt goes to waste.

49. Phrases to avoid

All we want is 1% of the market,

We will get large viral usage,

This product will marketplace itself,

Google will need to shop for us,

Our projection numbers are conservative,

Lots of traction, huge market.