Pitch Practice with Seattle Angel Conference

Another Seattle Angel Conference, another pitch practice. We invited Seattle's local startups to come and practice their pitch in front of three seasoned Angel investors to get their feedback; John Sechrest, Elaine Werffeli, and Javier Soto. Thoughts from the evening:

Presence & Poise

John: Why don't Angels want just look at a printout or read about your business online from your Gust or AngelCo profile? Angels are here to evaluate the team. Can you communicate well? Can you resolve problems? Presence, projection communications, all of these come out in the first minute you start to pitch.

Elaine: Did you build rapport with the audience (looking them in the eye, not at notes)?  Did you speak clearly and slowly?

Javier: Slides should be the background, people should be looking at and listening to you.

Be Compelling rather than Complete

John: What is the point of pitching? To get the next meeting.  We do a one minute pitch to get invited to coffee.  You don’t need to be complete, you need to be compelling. Somewhere at the beginning of the pitch, you need a big ‘get your attention’ moment, something remarkable, like a purple cow.

Have Passion for your Business, not your Product

John: Almost all of the pitches were for your product, not for our investment opportunity.  Why?

Javier: In the one minute, where your passion lies shows through — is it in yourself, your product, or your customer?  I’m looking for your customer.

Elaine: You’re in love with your product, I want to be in love with your business.  Be 80% about your business, 20% about your product.


John: People with money tend to be older and can be hard of hearing.

Elaine: and have poor vision — your slides should be simple and clear.

John: See the Kawasaki Rule 10:20:30: 10 minute pitch, 20 slides, 30 point pitch.  Haiku Deck helps guide you to this.


Elaine: If you talk about your competition, you have to frame them.  How are you better than them?  Otherwise you’re bringing up questions.

Elaine: Be careful about talking about AI without being clear about how it applies. Many people just talk about AI.

Javier: Don’t get political when you are pitching to investors if you don’t know where they stand.