I’m more interested in your competitors. Who do you lose deals to? Who do you beat for deals? And why?
Hint: “we don’t have any competitors” is rarely the right answer. Maybe no company does exactly what you do, but who is close?
5) Team. This is especially critical for early stage startups. At this point, there usually isn’t a ton of performance to sell.
So you have to emphasize the quality of the team. Why are these the best possible people to take on this challenge?
6) Ask. Here’s one of the strangest things I see: a founder telling a great story with solid traction, and then saying “thank you” and sitting down.
Umm, don’t you want something from us?
Never forget to tell the investors exactly what you’re asking for! Tell us how much you’re raising, at what valuation, and specify if that’s pre or post-money. (If the valuation includes the money you’re raising, that’s “$X post-money,” also referred to as “$X cap.”)
It’s also good to specify what type of fundraise you’re doing. Is it a SAFE, a priced round, or a convertible note?
Say something like this: “We are raising a $1 million SAFE at a $10 million cap.”
If you hit these 6 key elements, you’ll have a solid pitch that gives investors the details they need. You’ll also have a leg-up on other founders who provide incomplete or unhelpful information.
Best of luck on your fundraise!
Next, I asked ChatGPT to write an article on the same topic:
Here is its answer:
Raising money for a startup can be a daunting task, but having a solid fundraising pitch can make the process a lot smoother. Here is a checklist of items to include in your pitch to give investors a clear understanding of your business and why it’s worth their investment:
Problem: Clearly articulate the problem your business is solving and why it’s important.
Solution: Explain how your product or service addresses the problem and how it’s different from other solutions on the market.
Market size: Provide data on the size of the market you’re targeting and how you plan to capture a share of it.
Traction: Share any traction your business has already gained, such as customer testimonials, partnerships, or revenue.
Team: Introduce the team behind the business and highlight their relevant experience and qualifications.
Business model: Explain how the business will make money and provide financial projections.
Use of funds: Clearly outline how the funds will be used, such as product development, marketing, or hiring.
Ask: End your pitch by clearly stating the amount of funding you’re seeking and the terms of the investment.
Bonus: Show a clear path to exit and give an idea of what investors can expect to gain from the business.
By including these items in your pitch, you’ll be able to give investors a comprehensive understanding of your business and why it’s worth investing in. Remember to keep your pitch clear, concise, and visually engaging.
A strong pitch will also demonstrate that you understand your market, your customers, and your competition. It will also show that you have a clear vision, a solid team, a scalable business model and a sound plan for using the funds.
What strikes me most is how similar they are!
ChatGPT included all 6 of the items on my checklist. It also added 3 more.
For the most part, I think ChatGPT’s answer is excellent. Clearly stating a problem, showing how you solve it, and showing your traction are critical.
But at certain points, ChatGPT gets sidetracked. It suggests showing projections, which most investors discount pretty quickly.
It also tells us to show how the company will exit. This is wildly premature for most startups.
An exit is often 10 years off or more. There’s no telling how it will shake out.
What’s more, a founder who’s too focused on an exit is a red flag to investors.
Are they just looking for a quick win by flipping the company to Big Tech? If so, this will only be a small outcome for the VC’s.
Also, ChatGPT doesn’t provide examples. Examples are helpful in knowing how to frame a problem simply or how to describe the terms of your fundraise.
Moreover, ChatGPT lacks a personal tone. I describe experiences meeting actual founders, which a computer program can’t do.
Sometimes, you want a little of that human touch!
In all, ChatGPT’s writing was surprisingly good. But I think it has a way to go before it puts me out of business. 🙂
Which post did you like better, mine or ChatGPT’s, and why?