An entrepreneur once requested feedback about his pitch from a total stranger. They met while he was waiting for a connecting flight. This is problematic for two reasons. Practicing Your Startup First off, he was building a healthcare startup in a country far away from the man. Second, the man knows little about his fundraising environment.
Based on these issues, such feedback would not be useful. How can an entrepreneur trust anything a
stranger says to him without relevant experiences? What if the stranger gave him bad advise and he took
it? That would be even worse. Such feedback would steer him in the wrong direction. He did the right
thing in asking for feedback, but he asked the wrong person.
A great presenter or a great pitch
Many a founder early in his startup career would give his fundraising pitch to anyone who would care to
listen. Including investors that he can convince to listen to even if they were not good potential investors.
Then speak of fellow entrepreneurs, startup gurus, and friends.
They don’t hesitate to give their pitch because they are convinced that they need the practice. Like the
athlete who wanted constant reps. They believe that by doing so, when it is time to give a pitch to
potential investors, they would be comfortable and flow naturally.
Practicing Your Startup
To an extent, all the practice would help. They become great at delivering their pitch. When they bump
into an investor at a conference or on the subway, they can pull slides up on their phone and run through
their deck smoothly. But all the effort is not targeting the right outcome. Being a great presenter and
having a great fundraising pitch are not the same. With constant practice, you can achieve the former but
not the latter.
Great presentation skills are important, but investors are not budged by how great you are at giving a
pitch. If you are not going in the right direction with your great pitch, it is not useful to investors.
Practicing Your Startup Bad feedback is hard to ignore
The issue with pitching to the wrong people is that you wouldn’t be able to prevent the practice session
from being a time for feedback. Your audience is giving you feedback. Unfortunately, regardless of their
good intentions, it is not the right feedback. They do not wear the hat of your potential investor.
Where to get the best feedback on your pitch
This brings us back to the question who is the ideal person to get feedback from for a fundraising pitch?
The best feedback comes from the investors you want to raise money from. They are the right people to
pitch to for actionable feedback. It is counterintuitive that even when your pitch is not perfect, you should
still give it to a potential investor.
The reason is that fundraising pitches are not performances. You are not a violinist taking the stage in a
concert. You are an entrepreneur trying to build a startup. Every startup is a work in progress. Investors
know there would be adjustments before the final product. Your pitch idea could even change. In many cases, The final product looks nothing like the first iteration. If anything, a perfect pitch should make investors suspicious because they know better.
The right approach is to get in front of potential investors as early in your fundraising process as you can.
This would give you the privilege to get their perspective and fix your errors.