Startup Pitching Checklist

This is the checklist/boil down of the techniques listed in the prior 3 posts in the “Startup Pitching” series. After you complete a draft of your pitch, go over this list to make sure you’ve applied as many of the techniques as possible. If you want any of the checklist items expanded just click on the section header (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) to go to the blog post that explains the details.

  1. Beginner (101)
    1. One rehearsed presenter – Pick one person to deliver your presentation, don’t tag-team your pitches.
    2. Know your audience – Customize everything about your pitch to meet the cultural norms of your target audience.
    3. Set your objective – Your objective is to get another date, not marriage/investment. Stop freaking out :).
    4. No jargon or acronyms – Use plain English accessible to a lay audience.
    5. Split up your slides – Turn a slide with X bullets into X slides with one bullet each.
    6. Make fonts readable – Minimum of 30 points. Period.
    7. No Math – Don’t show any derivations, just show the results.
  2. Intermediate (201)
    1. Dead seagulls – Put a large, immediately relevant image on almost every slide.
    2. Front load credibility – Put the 1-3 most credibility-establishing facts about your company right after your title slide.
    3. Plant seeds, don’t tell it all – You don’t have time to tell it all, so boil down each section of your business to the 1-3 most important parts.
    4. No BS Financials – Focus your financials on fundamental economic drivers of your business, not BS projections.
    5. The one number rule – Don’t have more than one number (maybe two) on a slide.
    6. Use relative values – Don’t give absolute values, instead convert them into relative values.
    7. Prep for Q&A – Before your pitch identify the most likely questions and have polished answers ready to go.
  3. Advanced (301)
    1. Timing is everything – Make sure that on the slides immediately before powerful images your speech prepares the audience.
    2. Tell a story – Don’t rattle off facts, weave them into a story.
    3. Inoculate the audience – Address any deal-killing objections right in your presentation. Don’t wait for Q&A.
    4. No complex issues – If there are any complex issues in your business that you know are not relevant, don’t bring them up on the 1st date.
    5. Results not resumes – Identify the 2-4 most critical skill sets a company like yours needs and then show examples of your team doing exactly those things… brilliantly.
    6. Risk reduction, not line items – Don’t tell us what things you are spending money on, tell us what risks you will mitigate.

Hungry for more? Here are 25 more tips from some of the top people in the angel investing world.


View all posts in the “Startup Pitching” series

3 thoughts on “Startup Pitching Checklist

  1. Pingback: Startup Pitching 301 – Paul G. Silva

  2. Pingback: A Canvas That Tells a Story: KISS Canvas (v3) – Paul G. Silva

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