Scientist asks a VC: What invites curiosity in a pitch?

Welcome to a new part of a Venture Capital Primer for Scientists series based on hundreds of workshops I have given during my work as a deep tech VC at Main Sequence.

Every pitch needs at least one hook that will endure when you have left the room. Topics that make the investor curious will stay in their mind and most likely be the parts of your pitch that they share with others.

#1: Click, Boom, Amazing!

The famous Steve Jobs summary of a great demo. You can spend a long time describing what you do, or you can just show it. What aspect of your technology can you show to amaze your audience and make them want to know what happens next?

#2: “Here’s something that happened”

What is something that happened to you which is a beautiful story that reveals something important about your company?

Stories are the medium in which ideas spread.

#3: More movement than expected or normal

“We aimed to get X done… but 10x happened. Here’s our advantage…”

Traction is the currency of venture.

#4: Crystal clear context

“Here’s what is normal for our industry… and here’s what we did.”

Make sure that every evidence point has context. Don’t assume the investor knows what normal looks like.

Ask yourself “So what?” after an evidence point. What does that mean? How close does this get you to a breakthrough? What does this mean for your customer?

#5: Insight into a thesis or market

Investors think a lot about markets and develop theses about what is happening within them. This is our advantage.

Help us to understand something that no one else knows.

#6: 60 second setup

In the first 60 seconds, tell the investor a short version of what you are just about to talk about including some teasers on the curiosity points that are coming up in the session.

Now we’re listening for those moments. We’re alert.

Every day, I write about what I am learning in deep tech venture building. I hope you will follow me if this is valuable to you ⇢ @philmorle

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Phil Morle

Phil Morle

Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.