Investor Talk: What makes or breaks a pitch

Pitching to investors is one of the most important – and nerve-wracking – experiences for startup founders. To help you prepare the perfect pitch, Disrupt Africa spoke to some of our investor friends across Africa, and asked them for advice on what makes or breaks a pitch.

Brett Commaille, co-founder and lead partner at AngelHub Ventures:

“What makes it:

  • A sense of reality: a believable team that speaks with enough experience to give you the comfort that they have the capability to execute on most of what they are saying;
  • Crisp clear message: no information overload. I need to get what this is all about right upfront;
  • A clear, well defined market opportunity with a proper plan to get it;
  • A lean approach that test and validates assumptions as they go, meaning you don’t lose everything on small mistakes;
  • Ideally some evidence of market traction;
  • A clear idea of what the business needs to achieve its ambitions and a deal that leaves upside for all parties.

Any of those done poorly affects things, but what specifically breaks it:

  • Inability to explain what you actually do and how it works as a business – 20 slides in, 30 minutes gone and we’re still getting background stories;
  • Crazy claims and generalisations;
  • A poor understanding of who else is out there and how you are different. Thinking you’re special because you didn’t look to see if you are;
  • Not knowing what you want and what you will do with it;
  • Crazy valuations, overly complex and suspect structures.”

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