Angel’s guide to listening to pitches
I’m a small Angel investor, but I’m first an entrepreneur. I’ve been the pitcher and the pitchee over 100 times. Having this perspective has taught me something that I wish to share. I offer this advice up in the best interest of both entrepreneurs who detest the experience of pitching to a group of angels, and Angels who are (hopefully) looking to find a great place to invest some of their money.
Becoming a good pitcher during your first few months on the job is not a prerequisite to building a billion dollar organization. There, I said it.
Think about it. Most pitches are done by first time founders, who have never pitched before. I remember back to the time I delivered my first pitch. It was terrible, but I got better. And by the time I finally convinced someone to take a chance on me, I was pretty good. BUT, the company was exactly the same underneath. The only difference between the first group of Angels who heard my terrible pitch and turned me down, and the later group who finally invested, is that the first group missed out purely because of a poorly delivered pitch. Who gives a $%^&* how well the CEO delivered his pitch? Instead, ask yourself “Do I want to know more about this business?” By definition, you are a smart person; You should be able to fill in some of the gaps on your own, or at least form some intelligent questions to ask the CEO afterward.
A side note: There is more often than not, at least one know-it-all, loud-mouthed, wannabe-almost-angel who takes pleasure in criticizing and humiliating the entrepreneur in front of a room full of strangers. Please, do not listen to people who comment on the presentation. Yes, there are actually people who do this, and it’s more common that you think. To this (probably consultant) guy/gal, who seems to always sneak into the Angel Forums: I ask you to please stop. You’re not helping. You’re there to learn about the business, not give a public lesson on pitching styles. We don’t want to hear from you.
Just remember, that it takes two people to effectively communicate.