Y Combinator, a successful early stage investor, is opening its applications for the Winter 2015 program. Their advice on how to apply successfully (2009) is full of valuable advice that I apply daily when helping people to design investor presentations.

The advice is targeted at the first phase of the investment funnel: sending in a cold email with your pitch in the hope of getting an opportunity to talk in person. Paul Graham mentions a few times that writing a pitch to an investor is different from writing a CV to an HR person in a huge company.
  1. Be extremely concise. Cut fluff, buzzwords, jargon. “every unnecessary word in your application subtracts from the effect of the necessary ones” These people read about 100 applications a day.
  2. Say what you are doing, people need to put you in some sort of box to start thinking about your idea. Even if this means that you run the risk of limiting/narrowing down the upside potential of your idea.
  3. Realise that your write-up is an excuse to figure you out, see how smart you are, how good you are at getting things done. It is not about your idea, it is about the insight you bring with the idea. Did you anticipate the obvious questions any intelligent person might have?
It is well worth to read the whole article.

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