Pitching is a necessary experience for every budding startup who wants to launch their ideas into the global spotlight. There’s no better way to hone your skills when it comes to selling your business model to a potential investor.

More importantly, pitching gives your startup the opportunity to connect with venture capitalists (VCs) and corporates, which are often on the lookout for partners to co-innovate with and fund.

If you’re new to the concept of pitching, not to worry. Here are some tips from investors and corporates on what they look out for in a startup pitch, and what you should avoid!

Also read: SLINGSHOT 2019: A launchpad for promising startups across the world

How to impress with your pitch

It’s important that your pitch offers unique insights. Investors and corporates are on the lookout for uncommon solutions that tackle markets ripe for disruption.

Paul Santos, SEA Managing Partner for Wavemaker Partners, said: “Pitches that wow me are often the ones that can explain tremendous opportunities that aren’t so obvious. The challenge is that you have limited time to do this. This is why pulling it off makes it impressive.”

For Kelvin Ong, Founder and CEO of FocusTech Ventures, what gets his attention are “well-defined or re-framed problems in underserved markets that are solved with differentiated approaches.” This includes proposing multi-faceted solutions that span from business model analysis, channel strategies, to user experience.

Graham Howes, Managing Director of BP Ventures Asia, echoed similar sentiments. As BP Ventures Asia aims to invest in solutions that can produce energy more efficiently and contribute to a low carbon future, his firm looks for startups that have a differentiated technology or business model, on top of a clear and realistic business plan.

Examples of such innovative efforts include the electrification and digitisation of mobility, as well as the move from individual vehicle ownership to fleet.

Also read: Joining pitching competitions is good for founders and startups

Key traits investors look out for

Kelvin Ong from FocusTech Ventures said: “When it comes to early stage investing for us, founding team dynamics and positive traits that signal execution ability, commitment and conviction are table stakes.”

He added: “With the right market dynamics, customer understanding and product mindset, positive validation of key assumptions and traction will follow.”

Daniel Lin, Co-Founder and Executive Director of FundedHere, has four key criteria in mind when selecting the kind of startups he’d like to work with: (i) founder’s experience and executional capabilities; (ii) industry of the startup; (iii) scalability of the business; and (iv) valuation of the startup.

What to say and avoid during pitching

You’re confident in what your startup has to offer. But now you need to tackle the execution. Here’s a list of things you should say and avoid during your pitch session:

  • Avoid saying “we have a passionate team”. Instead, prove why you’re the best team for this opportunity, convey how you spotted the opportunity, why it was meaningful, and why you’re the right team to pursue it.
  • Articulate and divide your time around market, product and business areas, while framing your pitch around what your startup has achieved so far.
  • Be humble in listening, and flexible enough to let go of pre-conceived assumptions. At the same time, you must remain confident, firm, and stay true to your vision and unique way of thinking.
  • Rehearse your pitch and ensure that your slides bolster your verbal presentation. Never underestimate the power of first impressions for your audience. Begin with a bang.

Test your pitch out at SLINGSHOT 2019 – Asia’s most exciting deep tech startup competition!

Want to earn the chance to pitch to some of the world’s best and brightest? Check out SLINGSHOT 2019, Asia’s most exciting global deep tech startup pitching competition powered by Startup SG, organised by Enterprise Singapore. More than US$1 million in prizes are up for grabs!

Good news: the application deadline for SLINGSHOT 2019 has been extended to 12 July 2019! Don’t miss the chance to pitch your startup to more than 160 of the world’s biggest investors and corporates – apply here!