11.Mar 2022

I’ve Got 99 Problems but Pitching Ain’t One

Ready, Set, Pitch! Cashwalk – an exclusive startup pitch event – is just around the corner. German Entrepreneurship shows you how to pitch and succeed.

Download this free guide on giving your startup pitch an exemplary structure plus get tips and tricks from real-life startup pitch  experts!

Which pitch?

Pitching to an investor is one of the most important tasks for an entrepreneur. In fact, there are a lot of dos and don’ts. But most importantly, a pitch must be crafted according to the specific situation, audience and goal. In the following guide you’ll find the most common types of pitches and how to make yours (practically) perfect:

The High-Concept Pitch or “Twit” Pitch

Your pitch should be as short as the minimal space you have in a tweet. Ideally, you describe the essence of your business in one sentence. 

Use the “Twit” Pitch when talking to people who don’t know you or your startup, such as when you’re networking. If the other party doesn’t ask any further questions, don’t keep on talking. Since investors usually are confronted with a massive amount of pitches, the high-concept pitch has become more important. 

One popular approach is to compare yourself to an already successful company. For example, you might say, “We’re the Airbnb for lab equipment.” But you should avoid this approach. Too many other startups use this same pitch method, and you want to stand out, not be one of many.

The Elevator Pitch 

An elevator pitch is your verbal business card. Imagine meeting an important investor in an elevator, and you only have a brief moment to make them curious about your business before the doors open again. 

You want your elevator pitch to be around 30 to 60 seconds. Focus on the core of your business and don’t waste your time with details. Deeper questions can be discussed in (hopefully) a follow-up meeting.

The Investor Pitch

The investment pitch is an oldie, but a goldie. This is the most well-known form of a startup pitch. 

Often performed in front of one or more potential funders, an investor pitch is when a startup founder briefly presents their business model to secure funding for their company. It can involve presenting a pitch deck in person or sending a pitch deck via email. In either case an investor pitch is built from several slides covering core topics like problem, solution, competition, traction, etc. 

Despite its name, this type of startup pitch or pitch deck is also what founders should use when applying for accelerators, incubators or innovation programs.

Does your company need help with more than just funding? We’ve got you covered:

Master Accelerator

In this program, early-phase startups build a solid foundation for success with the help of mentors, experts and investors and learn from seasoned veteransreal masters of the startup ecosystem like Celonis or Flixbus.

German Accelerator

German Accelerator empowers German startups to scale globally. During a fast-paced learning journey, participants understand, discover and access leading global innovation hubs through the help of dedicated experts and a vast network of mentors.

Currently, German Accelerator offers multiple highly customized programs dedicated to markets in Southeast Asia, India, South Korea, Japan, China and the U.S. including a specialized Life Sciences program.

Not sure where you should  go yet? Apply for Kickstart International to prepare for internationalization and find the best market for your business.

For non-German startups:

EU-India Innocenter

This Euro-Indian community helps mature startups enter the Indian market and create a local network.

Scaler8

This Singapore-based team helps Asian startups and SMEs to enter and navigate the German market.

The Sales Pitch

The sales pitch is defined by a single goal: Instead of finding someone to invest in your business, you want to sell your product to potential customers. 

Be aware that you’re now talking to a different audience which is much more interested in how your product or service will meet their needs or solve their problems. Create a storyline that your potential customers can relate to.

The Competition Pitch

When entering a competition and being asked to pitch, startups usually have a time frame of three to five minutes to present their business idea to an audience or jury. It’s a high-pressure environment because oftentimes there is direct competition and limited time. 

Since a competition pitch hinges more on what the founders say – whether that’s virtual or in-person –  your pitch deck should include more visuals than text so the audience can concentrate on the spoken word. The structure and content of a competition pitch should be similar to the deck for an investor pitch. (If you’re attending Cashwalk, this is the type of pitch you should prepare!) 

Conclusion

What kind of startup pitch you need to use depends on the particulars of your situation and audience. Always take a moment to consider which pitch is perfect for the moment. 

At the same time, you should always be prepared to pitch your startup when the opportunity arises. Be sure to thoroughly practice and prepare for the core three kinds of startup pitch: High-Concept Pitch, Elevator and Investor Pitch. That way, when the moment strikes, you might have 99 problems, but pitching ain’t one. 

Secure your next funding round: Apply for the Cashwalk startup pitching event from now until 13 March 2022.

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