Pitch

These links will take you to resources to help you prepare your pitch. After you have studied the material provided, I hope you go out there and; Pitch! Like your startup depends on it.

Have fun!

  1. The Best Startup Pitches (2012 Edition) – this article from Business Insider includes video and briefly explains why the author thinks the pitch qualifies for the list.
  2. Pitch Envy – This is a gallery of startup pitch decks. The pitch deck for Square and Foursquare can be found here.
  3. Best Pitch Decks – This too is a gallery of startup pitch decks.
  4. Startup Pitch Decks – A collection of fundraising decks from startups that have raised over $400M.
  5. LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock – Reid Hoffman has annotated the pitch deck with helpful notes to put things in context. The subtitle says it best; Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs.
  6. TED – TED videos are worth watching to get a hang of what works, and what does not work in pitching to a room full of people. To start find a playlist on a subject you find interesting, and watch a few of the curated videos. Also, here are some I think you should watch.
  7. Steve Jobs’ 2007 iPhone Presentation – a Youtube video.
  8. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs – a presentation on SlideShare by Carmine Gallo.
  9. For Argument’s Sake – Why do we argue? A presentation at TEDx Colby by Daniel H. Cohen.
  10. Tips and Techniques for More Confident and Compelling Presentations – A lecturer at Stanford University explains key ways in which you can plan, prepare, and practice more effectively for your next talk or presentation.
  11. Want A Better Pitch? Watch This. – Advice from Andy Raskin
  12. Toastmasters International – I do not know a more cost-effective and efficient way to develop your ability to speak in public. I completed the competent toast master program in 2006.

Should you use a pitch-deck?

  1. In Defense of The Deck – By Bill Gurley, he’s a partner at Benchmark Capital.
  2. People Love Stories, Not Decks – By Jason Shellen, he’s a product Manager at Pinterest.

Before you pitch, get a handle on your business model by using one of these resources.

  1. What Is Your Business Model? (Series Compilation) – I wrote this some time ago. I tried to distil business model generation into a few pages.
  2. A New Way to Look at Competitors – Steve Blank explains a new approach to explaining your startup’s competitive position. It abandons the X/Y graph in favor of a Petal Diagram.
  3. Business Model Generation – the best book on developing and understanding business models that I have come across. You can get a free preview. I use the business model canvas to understand every startup I decide to research in any amount of detail. I also use the business model canvas as a first step in seeking areas of business model risk. Note: The website did not load when I tried it while writing this article. If the website does not load for you as well the free preview of the book is also available on slideshare and scribd.
  4. 26 Resources To Help You Master Customer Development Interviews – Customer Development is a key aspect of the search for a profitable, repeatable and scalable business model. This collection of resources has been compiled by the folks at KISSmetrics.
  5. Lean Canvas – The business model canvas adapted for lean startups. There’s a free plan. Take advantage of it.
  6. Running A Lean Startup – The Lean Startup is transforming how startups are built and run. There may be a #leanstartup movement in a city near you. If not, start one. While you are doing that you should read Not Every Startup Should be a Lean Startup or Embrace the Pivot by Marc Andreessen.
  7. Startup Secrets – Michael J. Skok of North Bridge Venture Partners. He also teaches at Harvard’s innovation lab.
  8. Collective Action and Social Change – Frog Design’s Collective Action Toolkit is targeted at non-profits and social change organizations. The toolkit is free.

Understanding Venture Capitalists

Finding Investors
  1. List of VC Funds by Shai Goldman at Silicon Valley Bank: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ar2jKST-_k4GdGlaRFltQlZVWDlNUkZ6VldoVzVicGc&usp=drive_web#gid=0
    • This should help first-time startup founders determine who they should start building relationships with. For a small seed round, which I define as less than $1.0M, I’d focus my energies on smaller funds. Though, you shouldn’t turn down a warm introduction to an investor at a large fund (which I am defining as current fund > $150M or so) or an invitation from someone who wants to connect for the future . . . Just know that they will be less likely to invest in a round that’s smaller than $5.0M or so. Funds that invest $50K – $500K in seed stage startups would be great to start speaking to now. (Yes, I know KEC Ventures is not on the list. I can’t explain why.)
    • Series A startups should target funds that have $100M or more in their current fund, not in assets under management (AUM) across a number of funds.
    • Some large funds have initiatives to write small checks in startups they like that are too early for a “core-investment” . . . I do not understand the rationale behind the “non-core” designation for some investments. I think every investment should be analyzed with the same rigor. Every investment should be a core investment, irrespective of the amount of the investment.
    • Investors with a full time investment professional in NYC
  2. Mapping Out Micro-VC by Samir Kaji at First Republic Bank – For your purpose; A “micro-VC” typically invests $50K – $250K in rounds that are less than $1.0M in size. Any fund under $25M in size probably fits the bill. Note that this may not match Samir’s definition. They’ll typically describe themselves using terms like “we want to be the first external capital you raise” or they might say things like “you should have raised less than $750,000” or some permutation of language like that.
    1. Google Spreadsheet of Micro-VC
  3. Business Insider: Complete List of Early Stage Investors in NYC (2012)
  4. Introduction To the NYC Tech Community
  5. AlleyWatch – 15 NY-based Angel Groups
  6. AlleyWatch – 14 NYC Startup Accelerators
  7. What do you need in order to get funded by a VC?
    • Note: I assume this answer does not take into account the seed stage VCs who want to be the first outside capital that a startup takes.
    • Note: These are heuristics used by early stage investors, not laws of physics or mathematics. There’s always an exception . . . The question is; how do you find that “exceptional investor” who will bet on you in the absence of the kind of evidence other investors need to see before they invest?
  8. Angel Capital Association – Directory
  9. Lessons From A Study of Perfect Pitch Decks

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