Being able to formulate a structured pitch that captures investor interest is critical for startups in the competitive arena of selling ideas, but many founders struggle to get it right. Which angle or aspect of the business and team should be highlighted? What makes a pitch stand out? What are common mistakes to avoid?

We’ve spoken to leading climatetech investors about what it takes to produce a great pitch to help you knock your next presentation out of the park, here’s what they had to say…

Jacob Tompkins – Co-Founder and CTO at the Water Rail Company

Don’t bore your audience

Define the problem you’re going to solve. Frankly, if you’re a tech company with really good tech, then the story bit isn’t that difficult. That’s the point people always miss.

I’ve seen so many presentations where it’s just unbelievably boring. Once you get onto the 14th slide of how the tech works, I don’t care, just tell me why and what it’s going to do. I don’t need to know how, I will afterwards, everyone does their due diligence. But tell me a compelling story first.

Sarah Applebaum – Partner at Venture Capital Fund Pangaea Ventures

Understand your market

The best pitches are with teams that are prepared and have a good understanding of who we are, what we do, and what we invest in. They know their market, have deep conviction around what it is they’re doing and understand the economics of their business. It has to be cost-effective and there has to be a customer there.

Kevin Loo – Vice-President of China Hi-Tech Fund

Be prepared to be asked the question; ‘How easily can your product or service be leapfrogged?’

If you’re looking to scale, scaling is not a matter of a year or 2, it could be 3-5 years and in that time, the exponential decay of product costs could definitely replace your market share. Be ready to address the leapfrog question. Do you have a great sales team?

If you have a great product, we’re willing to buy your IP, but a great company requires knowing how to sell the product.

Giancarlo Savini – Investment Director at Honeywell

Think about the intermediate steps’

It’s important that…the leadership team has the right mix between enabling technology and domain expertise. The team have worked together in the past. Their go-to market strategy is not only about having a great technology or business model but they have also carefully thought about all intermediate steps. They are extremely detailed and sound on unit economics.

They have validated the numbers with other corporations and other subject matter experts who are knowledgeable about their market.

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