Adjusting the Pitch on a Stalled Fundraise

Had a great chat with the founders of a new start-up. They’ve been pitching investors and trying to close their current fundraising round. They’ve had some success but haven’t been able to raise all the capital they need. Part of the challenge is the fundraising environment. The founders can’t control that, so today we focused on what they can control. Here’s what we discussed:

  • Origin story – Their pitch jumped right into the problem. This didn’t do the founders justice and was a cold way to begin the pitch. They’ve been in this space for two years, learning and experimenting. One of the founders built a large company before starting this new business and is applying the learnings from that start-up to build this one. We refined the origin story and made sure it includes how the founders discovered the problem they’re solving, how much time they’ve spent obsessing and tinkering with solutions, and how their experiences uniquely qualify them to solve this problem.
  • Analogy – The solution made sense, but it took time to understand. I had to ask pointed questions about the value of the solution. Eventually, I said they’re “XYZ for 123 space,” and it clicked. That analogy was to the point and will connect the dots for any investor they pitch.

With these tweaks and some practice, I think these founders should be able to raise the capital they’re seeking.

Pitching isn’t easy. It takes time to refine a pitch. Sometimes going over the pitch with friendlies who can provide honest feedback will accelerate the refinement process. For early-stage founders, I highly recommend including the origin story in the pitch.