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Cashwalk and Bits & Pretzels: Pitching successfully – but how?
Autumn is an exciting time for the Bavarian and international start-up scene, because of the two top-class events in entrepreneurs' calendars: the Cashwalk and Bits & Pretzels. Start-ups had the opportunity to present themselves to investors at both events, be it with an exclusive audience or on the big stage. We accompanied the start-ups while they prepared for Cashwalk and Bits & Pretzels.
Regardless of the size of the audience, a pitch is where start-ups are put to the test. A great idea alone isn't enough to convince investors, its presentation also has to be plausible. What should be kept in mind for a pitch? We have compiled some information and let those in the know add their input – start-ups which have been subjected to the critique of investors.
Short and sweet – keep this in mind for a pitch
The considerations for a pitch depend on the type of pitch, since there certainly are differences, especially when it comes to the length of the presentation.
A quick overview:
1. High concept pitch or Twitter pitch
The business concept is presented in just one sentence. It sounds easy, but this is a great challenge. Here are some famous inspirations as to how the fundamental idea of a business can be presented in a short and easy way.
2. Elevator pitch
The idea behind an elevator pitch is simple: Imagine you meet a potential investor by chance in a lift and only have 30 seconds to convince him or her of your business concept before reaching the next floor. Aside from the time limitation, the challenge is also in the lack of aids.
3. Speed pitching
Inspired by the concept of speed dating, start-ups have the opportunity here to present themselves to a changing series of investors within just a few minutes. Getting to the point quickly without technical support is also important here.
4. The detailed pitch
The classic variation where the usual aids can be used for the presentation. What also applies here is to keep it short and sweet – the presentation should not be longer than 15 minutes. The advantage is that the pitch deck can not only be used for the presentation but also as information for the investors in writing.
The right content: this belongs in the pitch deck
The perfect pitch is not very long. What's essential is for it to contain all the important information in order to provide comprehensive information to potential investors and, in the best case, to win them over.
The presentation doesn't contain more than 15 slides. The following content must be a part of each presentation:
1. The team: Highlight the abilities of your colleagues and past successes so that investors can see they are dealing with experts.
2. The problem: Which problem should the product or service solve? How was the problem recognised? Emphasise the negative effects your start-up can solve.
3. The solution: How will you solve the problem? It's best to address this item with a practical example, such as an available demo, functioning software or at the very least images that illustrate the product.
4. The technology: Which technology is your idea based on? What are the advantages of this compared to the competition?
5. Marketing: Define your target groups and market size and show which channels you are currently using to advertise your company and which you plan to use for the future.
6. Sales: Explain your business model and how you will generate income with it.
7. The competition: Why should customers choose your product and not one offered by the competition? Provide an overview of your competitors and your USP.
8. Milestones: Lay out your plans for the next year and provide an estimate of the expected costs.
9. Financing: How much money do you need for what, and where does it come from? What are your plans for the money you are making a pitch for?
Tips for the pitch: what start-ups are saying
Of course we couldn't miss out on asking start-ups on the Cashwalk for advice they can give to young entrepreneurs. Their answers:
Elad Ya'acov of TonePedia:
“Work out the pitch really well and don't just say the words, mean them and internalise them. In the best case, get done a bit early in order to answer questions afterwards.”
Zachi Flatto, Parklife:
“Focus on your expertise, leave out everything that's unnecessary. Images are ideal for supporting your ideas.”
The effort put into preparation is worth it, and not just for attracting investors. Alexander Heidt of Start-up teamstr emphasises: “As an entrepreneur, the Cashwalk isn't just great for establishing contact with interesting and exclusive investors but also for getting to know the promising young start-ups in Bavaria. There are inspiring discussions and presentations that give us new ideas.”