A few things are going on in startup land, especially for consumer facing apps:

  • It takes less and less money to launch a product (who could have thought 10 years ago that 1 person could self-finance and launch a PowerPoint alternative)
  • Startup ideas and pitches are fragmenting and are everywhere around us. Most ideas are variations on existing concepts that everyone is using. "Uber for gardeners", got it.
  • Business communication gets more efficient. Phone calls, coffee chats, Hangouts: the big, formal standup presentation where everyone patiently and politely let's you finish your bullet points is on its way out.

What does all this mean for investor pitches?

  • Do not feel worried if you can explain what your idea is in just 2 slides. If you are done, there is no need to add padding.
  • Since it is so easy to get an app up and running, the actual beta/prototype web site/app is a large part of the product pitch. Does it look polished? Does it work? Do you feel like signing up?
  • Related: market size analysis is increasingly replaced with "what % of your user base are willing to pay the $10 per month for this, and how fast you growing?" 
  • The big, big, big, question is: do users like it. User growth, traction, user behaviour analytics. Numbers, data. All this matters a lot. The qualitative upfront part of the presentation (emotional pictures that show the problem) gets smaller, and the quantitative what is your LTV, CAC, churn, etc. gets bigger. Pitches start to look like consulting decks again.
  • Success/failure will be evident in a shorter period of time, so you need to be sure what you are doing with the money you are raising. (You are no biotech startup that raises a lot of money to "continue doing clever R&D"). Know where you spend things on shows that you are mature to investors, but is also protecting you. If you do not have good customer conversion rates, it is a waste of money to raise capital to spend on marketing and attract lots of people at the beginning of the funnel, who will then leave.

In biotech, enterprise IT, I continue to see the traditional startup pitch (pain, market, etc.). In consumer, things are different.


Art: The Rainbow Landscape or is a c.1636 landscape painting by Peter Paul Rubens