Start-ups: Pitch your business, but please do it correctly!

I was recently at several start-up pitching events in Vienna and Berlin. As an investor and business angel, I shake my head every time. What I get to see is not even third-class – and I don’t mean the business ideas, I mean the pitches. Catastrophic.

Please quit boring me. I do not want to know how great your product is. You don’t need to demonstrate it to me.  A business pitch is not a product demo and it is not a pre-sales event.

I also do not want to know how fantastic you are or how great your solution is. I want to know if you are able to solve or have solved a real problem for many companies or potential customers.

I want to know if you not only have the technical competence to build a prototype, but also if you have the competence to develop your solution into an enterprise. Do you have the know-how to build a company? Or do you at least have an idea who you need to conquer the market?

Quit telling me that you already have a few customers. Everyone already has a few customers. Show me the foundation for your hypothesis that you will find thousands of customers and how you will reach them. What does your business model look like?

I want to know if you have a growth strategy. If you realize that every start-up looking for venture capital – i.e. you – should also look for an exit as quickly as possible. What is your exit offer? What do I get as a business angel? What can you offer me?

I want to get to know you as a team, because that is what I am investing in. Show me the people and what they can do. Why will this team succeed? Show me that I can trust you.

And then tell me specifically what you needand what you want from me. How much money do you need, how must additional support? What does you offer to me look like?

If you can fit all of that in within 3 to 5 minutes, I am probably interested and would like you talk another 30 minutes with you.

Your future business angel.