The Secret Ingredient to the Best Startup Fundraising Pitches

I’ve listened to thousands of fundraising pitches in my six years so far at Redpoint. Some with demos, some without. Some with hockey-stick charts, and others just an idea. I’ll never forget one meeting when the founders presented an entirely hand-drawn deck on 12 pieces of paper. The extent of founders’ creativity is hard to over-state.

Most founders do cover the essentials of a pitch in their presentations. But what distinguishes the best pitches? It’s a question I hear all the time from founders looking to polish their pitch.

In addition to assuaging the 11 Risks VCs Evaluate, the best fundraising pitches convince prospective investors of inevitability.

The most successful pitches argue the market will unfold inexorably in the way the founders envision on a relevant time scale. And, that this startup in particular will dominate share in that new world.

There is no prescriptive way I can recommend to consistently argue inevitability. Some founders use data. Others use logic. Still others use emotion and passion to do it. But in the end, these exceptional storytellers make you want to believe, suspend doubt, and disregard the great risks that all startups face all along their journey, and get involved with the business.

The best resource I’ve found for understanding the techniques of great storytellers is Nancy Duarte’s book, Resonate. It’s the only book that explains the cadence and structure of great storytellers, comparing and contrasting Steve Jobs’ style with Richard Feynman’s and many others.

There is a craft to creating a pitch that conveys inevitability. It takes time and thought and effort. But, investing the time to sculpt that story is well worth the work. The story will yield dividends during every investor meeting, press conference and candidate interview.

Published 2014-08-01 in Fundraising  Best Practices  Startups 


Tomasz Tunguz is partner at Redpoint. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 20,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.


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