Jul 25, 2016

How to pitch your startup to investors - Best 15 Insightful Quotes

If you are a startup founder and are looking to pitch to investors for raising funding, you are going to absolutely love these quotes. I have compiled these 15 quotes from seasoned investors and entrepreneurs across the world to give you useful insights into making your startup investor pitch more compelling.

 "She (an entrepreneur) will use the first 5 minutes to earn the investor’s attention for the next 15 minutes, which in turn will interest the investor enough to listen for another 30 minutes." - Aaref Hilaly, Sequoia Capital 

“80% of the presentations… you don’t even know what the problem is till 15 minutes into the presentation.” - Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures 

"Never dismiss your competition. Everyone—customers, investors and employees—wants to hear why you’re good, not why the competition is bad." - Guy Kawasaki, Venture Capitalist 

"Your goal is not to give facts, but to fascinate your investor." - Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures

"The goal of your first pitch deck is to get a 2nd meeting with the investor. You are not trying to explain everything about your business that you think is interesting and important. You definitely are not expected (or wanted) to explain the gory details of how you will conduct your business, or to offer long-term detailed (and unsupportable) forecasts. You have to edit yourself to intrigue the investor sufficiently that they will agree to look more closely." - Dave Richards, Unitus Seed Fund 

"On Demo Day each startup will only get ten minutes, so we encourage them to focus on just two goals: (a) explain what you're doing, and (b) explain why users will want it." - Paul Graham, Y Combinator

"Open with your investment thesis, what prospective investors must believe in order to want to be shareholders of your company. Your first slide should articulate the investment thesis in generally 3 to 8 bullet points. Then, spend the rest of the pitch backing up those claims and increasing investors’ confidence in your investment thesis." - Reid Hoffman, co-founder LinkedIn

"Authenticity is important in your pitch, it cannot sound like you were reading it off a script. It has to sound natural, like you are saying the things you are saying the first time. However, you can be sure that you will fail miserably on the stage if you don’t practice beforehand because you think “Oh I will just come up with things on the stage and this way it will sound natural”. - Juhan Kaarma, Entrepreneur

"One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when pitching to angel investors is bombarding them with data and boring PowerPoint slides instead of inspiring and engaging them." - Carmine Gallo, Communications Coach and Author

"Experienced investors know there are always risks. If they ask you about your risk factors and you can’t answer, you lose credibility because they assume you are either dishonest or dumb." - Reid Hoffman, co-founder LinkedIn

"My advice for first time founders who want to raise funding is almost always to put that thought aside until you have good traction. Instead, focus completely on traction. Focus on product/market fit. When you have good traction, it becomes much easier to raise funding." - Joel Gascoigne, co-founder Buffer

"People like stories. Our brains are wired to respond them. We recall facts better when they are embedded in narrative. Hollywood is the proof of their value. We pay lots of money for stories. Entertainment is a much bigger industry than venture capital because people like stories. Even a crappy game like Mass Effect 3 sells a million copies because it tells a story. So you should try to tell one, too. Why did you start your company? What do you want to achieve? Then drape the facts around that skeleton." - Peter Thiel, Author and co-founder PayPal

"There is nothing like a perfect pitch deck. People have their individual style, so don’t get stressed about finding the formula that fits all. However, the deck should capture the power of your idea and the potential value of your business and your capability to create this business in a very short concise manner — that is the perfect pitch deck." - Vani Kola, MD Kalaari Capital

"If you are an early stage company, at an angel stage, your financial plan only makes sense to you and nobody is going to believe it." - Rajan Anandan, VP Google SE Asia & India and Angel Investor

"The first and most important element of your presentation is not a slide: it’s you. Most investors base their decisions on the passion, charisma and clarity of the founder and the rest of the senior team. If you don’t demonstrate true fervor for your idea and opportunity, don’t expect anyone else to, either." - Bing Gordon, Partner - KPCB


  1. Good and useful article Vivek. Please suggest few tips to handle the pressure better, stay cool and focused while presenting to the investors.

    1. 1. Prepare your content well. Rehearse your presentation 10 times before pitching to the first investor. That will ease out a lot of pressure.

      2. Prepare for every possible question. On every slide ask yourself, what can the investor ask me?

      3. Accept that you don't have answers to many questions. Do not make an answer on the spot. Tell the investor you will come back to them within 24 hours.

      4. Do not try to tell too many things. You will make you life easy by focusing on communicating 3 most important things to the investor.

      Best wishes

    2. Thanks for your valuable suggestions Vivek.