Another Entrepreneurship Project of the  Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University

Secrets of Pitching as a Team to a VC

87618993_XSFinally the day has come that you have been working and waiting for: to pitch to a venture capitalist. Everyone understands the pressure and nervousness you are going through when making that pitch but besides your business idea and plan, being well prepared has a lasting impression on the team on other side of the table. The last thing that an investor wants to see is an autocratic CEO.

If you are the CEO or majority stakeholder, you may feel very strongly about the business being your personal expedition. Most likely, you won’t be making the journey along. When working with others, it is crucial to be able to work with your team as one. Your team is as good an example of your great leadership as is your pitch and business idea. Do not forget the importance and impact of team dynamics. If you are not in it together, it will be evident to the investors.

Assign and talk
In preparing for a VC pitch, it is best to have everyone own a slide and prepare for it. This will ensure no team members are left out of discussion and team tells the story cohesively. Significance and effectiveness of each team member should come out in this discussion. Investors will take it as a positive sign of a strong team working under a strong leadership. Make a plan as to who will relay the questions to the team – it could be the CEO or the second in command. This will further help you resist answering all the questions yourself.

Agree to disagree
As a team, it is natural to disagree—it’s part of human nature. It’s important not to do so in front of investors, partners and customers. Arguing in a pitch meeting can be a sign of misbehavior or miscommunication. Instead of arguing in a meeting, sort out your differences in a professional manner back at the office. Investors do not expect you to be in hundred percent agreement as business partners, but the way you handle that type of situation is important.

Body language
Body language can be a key to a person’s state of mind and emotions. Even though it can be hard to control feelings, try not to give away your thought process via body language. Keep positive thoughts even if a disagreement arises. This will ensure that your body communicates positively and does not give out signals of your sentiments and anxiety.

Prep the difficult discussions
Investors pose difficult and intense questions after a pitch in order to better understand your psyche, your leadership and your response to adverse situations. The questions are designed to push you out of your comfort zone so an investor can gauge and watch your reactions. Do your homework and be ready to answer tough questions head on.

Have you faced an investor panel? What are your experiences? How did you prepare with your team? Did you assign one person to answer questions up front? Please feel free to share your thoughts with us.

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Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!


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