As one of the early investors in Pinterest and Chairman of The New York Angels, veteran venture capitalist Brian Cohen has heard thousands of pitches and knows within seconds if he’s in the midst of an ace presentation or a disaster.
Entrepreneurs who follow his advice on how to construct a bullet-proof presentation can successfully secure start-up capital, he says.
In his new book, “What Every Angel Investor Wants You to Know: An Insider Reveals How to Get Smart Funding for Your Billion-Dollar Idea” (April, 2013), Cohen offers nuts-and-bolts guidance and invaluable intelligence from a long time early-stage investor who knows exactly what an angel is looking for and how an entrepreneur can deliver it.
Cohen offers five expert tips on how to pitch angel investors.
Show Us You’re in Control - Take control of situation and anticipate the important questions. Angel investors will be impressed and you will come off as more prepared and ready to handle the more in-depth follow-ups.
What’s the Business? - Tell us why customers are excited enough to fork over good money for your product. We want to know what the drivers of sales are. It’s okay to admit that you’re thinking through various scenarios and by all means identify assumptions as assumptions.
How Will Our Investment be Spent? - We want to know how our investment will be spent and how it will make you better. We’re happy if you describe product development. Not so happy if you talk about marketing or, worse, advertising.
Make Us Smarter - Angels are intensely curious, alert to the facts and fast changing trends that are shaping new markets like your own. Knowing about and understanding these changes lets us be smarter investors. Help us up our own game
Don’t Forget the Bid for Action - Tell us how much money you actually want to raise and ask us to invest. There’s no sense in being coy about this. We both know why you’re pitching us.