10 Common Mistakes Startups Make in their Investor Pitch

At Capital Pilot, reviewing the investor pitch is a critical part of our process... and we've reviewed our fair share. In the process we've built up some good insights on typical errors and omissions, as well as approaches that are better than others. In light of this, we've compiled the most common

comments we make in our investment committee to help startups avoid the mistakes and apply better strategies when formulating their pitch.

Top 10 list of Frequently Recurring Comments on the Investor Pitch

We are publishing this for two reasons. First, so that whether or not you have decided to work with Capital Pilot our experience is available to you. And second - much more selfishly - so that you can check your materials before you submit them to use, catching and correcting things that can be corrected. This helps make us more efficient, help more companies, and provide quicker and more targeted feedback.

1. Your pitch deck is targeted at your customers and not at investors

Investors have pretty specific and standard information requirements. Ensure you are addressing them. We have a resource/template that addresses what we think needs to be in every pitch.

2. Your deck does not stand alone as an introductory document

The assumption is that your pitch deck is the first document which a potential investor will review - typically delivered by email. It needs to convey all the key points concisely and powerfully.

3. You haven’t highlighted sufficiently what is unique about your business proposition within its target marketplace and, most importantly, why YOU and YOUR TEAM are the right people to execute on your business model

Remember your audience needs to be convinced about your business and about the passion of the team which is delivering it. You can't do it all in an investor pitch deck -- they will still want to meet you -- but you should convey a pretty good idea of the team's pedigree and background.

4. You haven’t dealt with your traction with customers

This is the second-most important feature after team. Where is the evidence that your target customers want what you are delivering? It doesn’t matter what stage you are at. Customer survey data, testimonials, growth in user numbers or subscribers (free or pay), and of course revenues are all vital to include to strengthen your proposition and bolster your investment case.

5. Your financial model does not demonstrate clearly your revenue build-up - what the key drivers of revenue growth are, and associated costs

The model should support the pitch, and demonstrate clearly the dynamics of revenue and costs over the 3-5 year projection period. See our resource page for more suggestions.

6. Sales, marketing and go-to-market strategy are different and need to be addressed separately in your strategy for growth

“Digital Marketing” or “Social Media” are not sales or go-to-market strategies. How are you going to grow your customer base, and what is the realistic addressable market which you are going to target initially

7. Your pitch deck could look better

First impressions really do count. You’re a disruptor; new kid on the block; looking to punch above your weight. Make your deck looks as good as it can. The flipside is, a great looking deck will not make up for bad content and a weak business model, customer traction or team.

8. Too many words and too many slides

It’s an investor pitch deck, not a research paper. Think about if you were sitting across the table and had to review a tonne of pitches. Hit the key points in a concise and visual way wherever possible. Images and charts are better than dense text. It’s tempting to throw everything but the kitchen sink in. But initially the investor just wants a cohesive and complete view of your business in a digestible format, and it will need to stand out from the other 30 they are looking at that morning.

9. You haven’t addressed the competition or the market players you are looking to disrupt

An objective assessment of the competition demonstrates that you have done your homework and are realistic in your expectations.

10. You’ve forgotten to include details of your fundraise

How much are you raising? Are you SEIS or EIS eligible? What is the use of proceeds? What milestones will you aim for following the fundraise?

We hope that is helpful! If you haven't already, we invite you to register with and share your pitch - if you follow the above points you should be in pretty good shape!