Pitching 101

You have your business plan and funding options to get you started. To grow and secure your business, you’ll need to secure funding. Preparing various forms of pitching attracts the rights investors for your business

Minimum Viable Pitch

The Minimum Viable Pitch is a one- (to two-) line pitch aimed to grab an opportunity to connect with potential investors. It is a short message that piques interest and leaves a first (and lasting) impression of you and your business.

Why do you need it? It continues the conversation you have with potential investors, and even your industry network and target market. In networking events, you get to convey your business goals whilst controlling your reputation.

We are using the manufacturing techniques of the computer industry to make better vaccines

Joe DeSimone’s (Liquidia) pitch that secured funding from the Bill Gates foundation

The message of your pitch should:

  • convey one specific and clear purpose to encourage another conversation;
  •  be very specific but concise

Some sample messages or content that you can use are the following:

  • Your unique value proposition in 1 short sentence
  • An industry challenge, question, fact
  • Your business’s mission statement, tagline or slogan, and values
  • Describe your skills, specialty, and/or personal mantra
  • A combination of your skills and company’s mission in 1-2 sentences
  • A powerful quote that represents your brand

Structure of a Minimum Viable Pitch


What you're doing and why

More people than ever (78M!) have dogs. They spend $2bln/yr putting dogs in kennels but it’s expensive and dogs hate it. We are “airbnb for dogs.”

Who are you

Samir- VP Engr, prev. @Adobe; Samanth- Designer, prev. @Apple, NYU; Stewart- Standford, MBA; Advisors: Steve Blank, Andrew Chen.

What's going on

POC in SF, NY, Atlanta (now); Adding 3k members & 120 boarders/wk via events, AKC partnership, select GOOG ads. Avg booking $55 x 7% = $3.85

What you want

$4m Series A to hit 6 more geographic markets burning $75k/mo. Cashflow B/E @2k bookings/wk (2013). LTV>CAC ($145 vs $33)

Remember: Creating a compelling yet short pitch establishes an instant connection and interest with your business.

Here are a few specific real-life examples from less-known startups:

Zebecs is creating a movement to connect families, celebrate children and change companies by breaking the rules; teaching children to love to learn and adults to recognize what is right about them.

Lisa Baker-King, an author and family coach

NowMoveMe is a neighbourhood discovery platform, allowing users to find real estate based on their personality, not just zip code & price range.

Pitch by Miriam Diwan that secured a meeting with the head of Zillow M&A

Pressed is an intelligent personal assistant designed to keep people focused on whatever goals they have; like working out, eating healthier, or even just drinking more water…

Matt Bremerkamp from Pressed, a time management app
Here are more resources on Minimum Viable Pitch:

Elevator Pitch

The most important thing is to be concise. My own feeling is that a good idea can be written on the back of an envelope.

Richard BransonFounder of Virgin

An elevator pitch is a quick, clear and straight-to-the-point overview of you, your business goals and your edge in the market over the competition. It is basically your initial pitch potential investors and/or business partners usually used in networking events.

Here are the essential parts of an elevator pitch:

  • A quick self-introduction that showcases your skills and specialty
  • The hook–what problems you aim to solve or your unique value proposition
  • Why you are unique or the specific impact you made to the industry
  • The immediate goal you are aiming for within a specific time frame
  • A ‘call-to-action’ in the form of a next meeting, contact details, referral, etc.

A simpler format of the elevator pitch from 500.co is:

We solve [problem] by providing[advantage], to help [target] accomplish[target’s goal].

We make money by charging [customers] to get [benefit]. (optional depending on current status)

Founders of startups in the early stages may also include feedback from potential customers or early adopters who have tried/ interacted with the prototype or initial version of the product (see our Prototyping & MVP0 resource).

Cutting down all the elements above can be very challenging. Here is a quick guide that  an entrepreneur can use when constructing an elevator speech:

Drafting the Pitch

  • To start, draft all ideas and necessary details
  • Shorten and connect your sentences
  • Remove unnecessary details
  • Replace or remove industry jargons, buzzwords, slang, etc.
  • Practice your pitch with friends and at events, then improve it

Tips for the Entrepreneur

  • Use facts
  • Keep your listener in mind–what’s in it for them?
  • Don’t ask too much (too soon)
  • Capture and command attention
  • Keep it natural

Elevator Pitch Examples

Real-life Pitch used by JustPark–a parking app that won the “Pitch to Rich” competition hosted by Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group

Let’s face it. Parking can be a real nightmare. It can be infuriating to find, extremely pricey and by the time you find that spot you would have lost time, petrol, and caused a lot of unnecessary traffic and pollution. Well, there’s an answer, parkatmyhouse.com. We are an awesome little company, backed by an awesome big company called BMW. Now, listen in: You can reserve parking in a private property and save up to 70%. Need to park at a sports match or local station? Sorted. … Just go to parkatmyhouse.com and simply type in where you want to park and what dates. It is that simple.

A fictional example of an Elevator Pitch from Bplans

Did you know that nearly 30 percent of trucks in the U.K. aren’t carrying any cargo because they can’t find a load to carry on return trips? This leads to more than $500 million in wasted fuel costs alone. We’ve created a technology company that matches empty trucks to companies looking to move cargo, so trucking companies can generate business from previously empty trips. So far, we’ve landed contracts with two of the largest trucking firms. Now, we’re hoping to raise additional capital so we can expand our operations and grow into countries outside of the U.K. My team and I have more than 30 years experience in the trucking industry and are well positioned to grow this business significantly.

Pitch Deck

A pitch deck is a written investment proposal — typically of 15–20 concise, visually appealing and non-wordy pages — that is used to solicit investment from prospective angel or venture capital investors. Having a good pitch deck can make or break your startup, as it is often the difference between getting investment and not getting investment.

Jeff MossCEO and Co-Founder at Focus7 Shot who’d secured over $200k seed funding from different investors

The “Pitch Deck” is a presentation with a detailed overview of your business plan. It is an investment proposal used secure funding at any stage of a business.

Although the content varies depending on the current stage a business it at, the elements of a Pitch Deck generally include the following:

  • Quick Intro
  • The Problem
  • The Solution
  • Target Market, Opportunity and Market Traction
  • Evaluation of Competition
  • Business (or Revenue) Model
  • The Team and Expertise
  • Specific Challenges including Financials
  • Use of Funding from Investors (may include exit strategy, partnerships)

Creating Your Pitch Deck

Showcase your knowledge and skill but don’t overdo the details

The framework might be comprehensive but should be concise enough to emphasise the highlights.

Be realistic in your estimates and goals.

Paint a more accurate picture for both your company and potential investors.

Establish your identity.

Show that your brand is a solid entity throughout the whole presentation. You can show more of the branding personality, its foreseeable path, and vision.

Tell Your Story

Use relevant data and significant human experiences from your own team or target consumers.

Pitch Deck Examples

Remember: Don’t get caught up in details–everyone knows that modelling startup financials is basically guesswork but it shows investors your understanding and whether your grounded and realistic about what’s achievable
Below are more articles on how you can create your Pitch Deck (more real-life examples and templates included):

Using the Different Pitching Methods

Minimum Viable Pitch

What it is:

Snappy business description that piques interest


  • Unique value proposition
  • Key differentiator


When to use:

  • First introductions
  • Brief encounters
  • Entrepreneur mixers
  • Networking events

Elevator Pitch

What it is:

A 2- to 3-minute quick summary of the business that aims to attract and capture investors’ attention


  • Self-introduction
  • Problem identified
  • Proposed solution/ unique value proposition
  • Target market, traction, current progress
  • CTA for next discussion or pitching

When to use:

  • Brief encounters
  • Entrepreneur Mixers
  • Quick pitch to potential investors
  • Networking, business or industry events

Pitch Deck

What it is:

More detailed overview of the startup or business


  • Unique value proposition
  • Market opportunity
  • Competition
  • Business model, goals, and roadmap
  • Marketing plan
  • Finances–projections and funding needed
  • Team background and expertise

When to use:

  • Face-to-face or online meetings with potential investors and stakeholders
  • Follow-up appointment after initial contact/pitch at events or other communications

The usage of each method of Pitching depends on purpose, timing and usage. Here are some key points to note:

Your pitch should always have a clear and concise message.

Convey your business’s unique value proposition as well as your company values.

Do your homework

Clearly define your business goals, research the industry and target market as well as the background of potential investors.

Maximise your connections

Create a system for all communications, meetings and presentations that allows you to follow-up and track the status of each potential investor or connection. You can even use basic CRM tools to strengthen relationships with possible investors or collaborators.

Remember: Getting investors to support your business increases your chances to be successful not just in creating your product or service, but also in achieving your specific business goals and milestones.