Pitch Perfect

The Tribe team knows pitching for investment is hard and often frustrating. We’ve been on your side of the fence, and as an asset manager, we are ourselves always pitching our own investors on behalf of potential investee companies.

Our process: Pitching to Tribe

We ask founders to complete a simple online form with details of their venture and the investment they are seeking. We then review the information and do a little research, and if we like what we see, we invite you to an initial ‘pitch call’.

We structure our initial pitches as a 40min session:

  • 10-15min overview: Your backstory, the problem you are solving, and a summary of key points of the investment opportunity.
  • 20-25min Q&A: going deeper into what you have presented.
  • 5-10min questions to Tribe: anything you’d like to know about us?

Tips when presenting to investors

Below are some ideas that may help for the intro pitch to investors.

1. Simple, linear, flow.

At the first pitch we have limited time, plus we don’t know your market or business anywhere near as well as you do. So you need to treat us like we’re 5 to be honest. Here is a suggested flow and sequence we find can help us rapidly understand the opportunity:

  • The market/ sector you are in
  • Your ideal customer and the problem/s they face
  • Your product/service including business model (how you make your $)
  • How your product/service solves the problems of your ideal customers
  • The traction and results you’ve achieved (monthly growth charts are best)
  • How your find leads, and how you convert them into paying customers
  • Competitors and comparisons
  • The key risks you foresee
  • You and your team
  • How much money are you seeking, what terms, and where will it be spent

The flow doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but we find the above more or less helps us unpack the opportunity faster. As an example, in order to evaluate you and your team, it really needs to be in the context of the market, the product, and the problem you are solving. If we don’t first really understand that, we can’t really make an assessment on how your skills and experiences match this opportunity.

But if you would prefer to put competitors after product/service then that’s probably fine. The main thing is to try and create a story that links things together as simply as possible.

Here are some other issues we see in the first pitch session:

2. Avoid sharing ‘too much too soon

The purpose of the first investment pitch paradoxically is to not get money. It is to get interest. There is no way anyone is handing over money after a single pitch. But often great opportunities get lost because you try and get too many points across and it just becomes too confusing.

3. If you confuse, you lose. Less is more.

If we understand the market, the problem, your product, and like your traction, we’ll seek to engage more. We promise!.

The points listed above should take no more than 10-12min. If it’s taking more than 12min, it is likely you are trying to go too deep too soon.

The A and Q time allocated should also be a great time to go a bit deeper. Once you’ve provided your summary run through, go deeper with key information as we continue to digest the opportunity.

4. Avoid lots of moving parts

This may be more of a Tribe thing, but we are not excited by lots of moving parts at once. Our experience is that the “riches are in the niches”, rather than trying to execute on 10 different opportunities. “And we can do this, and that, and this, now that” makes the opportunity seem bigger, but we often find the opposite.

We love to see focus

One market, with one big problem, that loves your one product, that you sell through one channel is far more exciting than something with lots of problems, products, channels etc.

The greatest companies all started with really focused products for really niche markets. Once they had exceptional success in these niches, they then expanded wide. Today we look at them and they have lots of different products/services, and often for multiple markets. But they didn’t add new markets and products for quite some time. If they did, they wouldn’t have had the intensity of energy to get their initial successes.

We want to support and back strong entrepreneurial energy which by default likes to have a lot going on at once. However in early stages of high growth, the more you try to execute on, the less likely you will be successful in our experience.

When to pitch to Tribe

Tribes focuses on B2B companies with proven demand, that have UK and US expansion on the roadmap.

The “proven demand” bit can be tricky as it can be different for different markets and products. In its simplest form, your business has found some level of product market fit and is growing revenues. You can demonstrate an ability to find new leads in a scalable manner, and when leads hear about the product, a good percentage engage.

But sometimes it’s not that black and white, and revenues aren’t growing yet but you have other traction that will lead to revenue growth in the future.

Our team prides ourselves on being as helpful as possible. So even if we find the opportunity is not a fit for Tribe, we do our best to refer you to places where it may be. And just because it isn’t a fit today, doesn’t mean it won’t be tomorrow!

About the Author

Portfolio Support & Co-founder

Don brings extensive experience as a founder and investor to lead our hands-on support for portfolio ventures.