Knowing how to pitch your startup is essential for your company’s success. It’s the way to attract investors, customers, and talent to your business. The ability to quickly tell someone about your startup while building enough interest so that they want to learn more is not a natural skill for many. It takes time, practice, and confidence.
At Altitude Lab’s Demo Day 2023, we saw 13 health care startups pitch their companies. Here is what we learned:
Know your audience
Get to know who you will be pitching to. Although your audience may be well-educated, familiar with startups in your industry, and understand business, chances are that they probably don’t understand your field or the problem you are trying to solve as well as you do. Focus on educating your audience rather than impressing them.
Some helpful tips to remember when pitching your business are to skip out on scientific jargon and industry assumptions. This doesn’t mean that you need to dumb down your presentation, rather explain it in a way that the general public outside of your industry can understand. Analogies and using personal stories can help make the science and technological concepts relatable. It is also important to know what your audience is looking for and be sure to emphasize that in your pitch.
Tell your story
It’s easy to get lost in the research, facts, and numbers when presenting your startup. Although this information may be important to you, it almost always loses your audience’s attention. Save the nitty gritty numbers and facts for when investors ask for them. Instead, focus on making your startup memorable by telling your company’s story.
A great way to tell your story is by taking your audience on a journey. Start with the problem, or why you started the company. Then proceed to explain the solution and the impact of what you are trying to build.
“A good pitch should have a clear narrative flow. What the future will look like and why, how we’re going to make it happen, and why we have the team and proof points to do it. It should tell a story, not just be a jumble of facts.”
—John Collison, Cofounder and President, Stripe
Keep it simple
Less really is more when it comes to pitching. If you have multiple products, therapies, or technologies choose one to present. Select 1-2 meaningful data points or charts and focus on presenting how your solution is differentiated rather than the technical details. Your pitch deck should be simple too. Keep to only a few slides with digestible content and large fonts if you include text. Remember, your pitch deck should only serve as a visual reference to enhance your presentation - not replace it.
Sell your audience on your product or service by showing them what sets you apart from your competition. All startups in your industry are trying to solve a specific problem. Explain to your audience why your method of problem-solving surpasses any other company. Oftentimes, it can be beneficial to emphasize the problem you are solving and explain the importance of your cause.
Showcase your accomplishments. Don’t be afraid to share all the good that you and your team have done so far and your future plans.
Engage your audience
If your audience is interested, then they’re listening, and if they’re listening they’re more likely to invest in or remember you. Capture your listeners’ attention by giving them a reason to care about what you have to say within the first one to two minutes of your presentation. Tactics like humor, trivia, or relatable examples work great to engage with your audience. Making a human connection with your listeners makes you more personable.
Don’t be afraid to express your personality while you pitch either. You should do whatever feels natural and don’t force anything. It won’t come off as genuine.