Entrepreneurial Institute

Lessons Learned: Pitching to Investors

Hannah Salwen and Lauren Graham are the founders of Bäro and both attended NYU. Bäro is a platform for peer-to-peer renting of everyday goods. We make it possible for people to rent items they don’t want to buy and rent out the items they already own.

As a young entrepreneur, it can be daunting to even think about pitching in front of investors. You may wonder: Am I prepared? Are we too early stage? What do they want to hear? It can be overwhelming. Pitching in front of the investors at the Leslie eLab for their Investor Feedback Forum event was no exception. Although I have pitched in front of many audiences, I was still nervous (does it ever get easier?). To top it all off, each company was given just five minutes. After our pitch, we created our top three ways to nail an investor pitch.

  1. Maximize your pitch time. We knew we needed to be really efficient with our pitch time - five minutes wasn't going to be enough to answer all investor questions in one deck. We decided to create an appendix for all our frequently asked questions. That way, when someone asks a question we have heard before, we can pull up the slide and assure them we’ve thought about it strategically and know the solution. This helped the investors feel more confident in our business plan and in our team - we had clearly thought through potential issues.
  2. Tailor your pitch to your audience. Five minutes wasn’t enough time to get into all of the details of our business, so our deck needed to be strategic. A deck when pitching to customers is going to be completely different than an investor deck; their needs and wants are on completely different ends of the spectrum. Because the Investor Feedback Forum was comprised of investors, we focused primarily on our competitive advantages, business model and projections. However we quickly realized that the investors wanted more information that we couldn’t give them during our short presentation time. We knew we needed to come up with a way to be able to address their questions easier at the end.
  3. Connect after. We didn’t want to go through all of the trouble of prepping and practicing just to have the investors forget who we are and what we do. We make a habit of having at least one team member stick around to engage with the investors and have a meaningful conversation with them. We knew the investors at the Investor Feedback Forum were there to help, so we gave them the opportunity by asking for advice, asking how we could improve the pitch or deck and so on. If you can’t stick around, you can easily find them on Twitter or LinkedIn and thank them for taking the time out to hear your pitch.

We also emailed all of the investors after the pitch giving them additional information to look at if they’re interested. We’ve gotten a couple of great meetings from the investors that we pitched to! Overall, it was a great experience for feedback and practice.