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Entrepreneurs Make When Pitching to Investors

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Entrepreneurs have to pitch investors to raise financing. Many entrepreneurs from earlier stage companies make common mistakes that could be avoided. Read below for some tips on how to improve investor interest and increase the likelihood for financing.

The mistakes are categorized as follows:

Mistakes to avoid when planning investor outreach
Mistakes to avoid in your investor pitch deck
Mistakes to avoid during the presentation of the pitch
Mistakes to avoid when planning investor outreach

Mistake #1: Sending your executive summary or business plan unsolicited
While some investors are opening their process to cold outreach in response to leveling the racial and gender equality playing field, the majority still routinely do not read unsolicited emails. They get hundreds, if not thousands, of such emails, and don’t have the time to sift through them to find that diamond in the rough.

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But what they will pay attention to is a referral from someone in their network: a lawyer, an entrepreneur from one of their portfolio companies or a fellow venture capitalist. Ask your advisors that you work with (e.g., your board of directors or law firm) to see if they have recommendations on investor referrals and can offer any direct introductions.

Mistake #2: Not doing your homework on the investor—pitching your company without being clear that you are in a space, stage, and geography the investor is interested in
Some investors only care about biotech or mobile apps; or the internet and digital media. Other investors have mandates about the stage and/or geographic location of a company. Do your homework first before pitching to make sure your company is aligned with the investors’ objectives.

The first place to look is investors’ websites, which typically state the exact stage, sector, and location they invest in. Other resources include PitchBook or CB Insights. If you were introduced to the investor, find out everything you can about the firm and individual from the person who made the referral.

Showing some awareness of an investor’s background and the companies it has invested in will facilitate the conversation, and also shows you have done some advance due diligence for the meeting.

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