One Key to Improve Your Startup PitchApr 12, 2021
Most founders know they need to refine their fundraising pitch in order to raise the money needed to fuel their startup's growth. Dozens of weekly pitch events provide founders with opportunities to practice their pitch delivery in order to improve. But many founders fail to maximize their refinements because most pitch events only dispense verbal feedback. Structured, written feedback provides founders with more actionable, complete and detailed guidance.
Verbal Pitch Feedback Alone is Sub-Optimal
Pitch events tend to move quickly, with a different startup delivering their funding pitch about every 10 minutes. The event moderator usually plays the role of time cop to keep things moving along. This usually means most feedback is rushed, limited and only provided verbally. However, impromptu verbal feedback is sub-optimal because:
- Most founders are so stressed or focused on telling their story that they forget to take copious notes when the feedback is given
- The lack of structure in the verbal feedback makes it easy to omit key suggestions that came to mind during the pitch delivery
- Verbal feedback tends to be general and high-level in nature
- Detailed, written feedback is best for founders to take specific actions
Written Scorecards Provide Much Needed Structure
Founders aren't the only parties at pitch events who are under the gun. Pitch judges also struggle because they play the dual role of evaluating potential investment opportunities while also trying to provide useful, clear feedback with little advance preparation. Pitch judges must split their attention between listening to what's being said while compiling strengths and weaknesses of each founder's story. A written scorecard helps both panelists and founders by:
- Establishing a structured set of criteria to evaluate the fundraising pitch
- Providing a framework to provide summary grades on each criteria, with an overall rating for the pitch
- Simplifying the process of capturing and delivering feedback
The Fundable Startups Pitch Scorecard
With this in mind, Fundable Startups created a pitch scorecard to help judges evaluate and founders learn from each pitch delivery. Our pitch scorecard features:
- Twelve criteria compiled from extensive research on pitch guidance and advice, sorted in the rough order that many founders use to deliver their pitch
- Details that provide additional insight on the nature and expectations of each evaluation criteria
- Automatic calculation of a summary score based on the scores of each criteria
- General perspectives on the shape of the scoring "bell curve". The reality is a very small percentage of founder pitches result in funding, which usually means only the top 2%-3% of pitches will lead to a term sheet.
Pitch Criteria Changes Based on Startup Maturity
In addition, our pitch scorecard includes a very unique feature: the ability to mark the stage of the startup, which affects the weighting assigned to each criteria. Investors typically weigh each criteria differently depending on where the start is at in its lifecycle. For example, most early stage investors place a premium on the quality of the team. In contrast, many mid- and late-stage investors place a premium on demonstrable traction, metrics and unit economics.
The Fundable Startups pitch scorecard includes three possible settings for the stage of the startup, which affects the weighting of each individual criteria:
- Pre-Seed and Seed
- Series A
- None or Other (which results in each criteria receiving equal weighting)
Leverage Our Pitch Guidance
We encourage all founders to use our startup pitch scorecard to plan and refine their pitch delivery. Entrepreneurs can get a copy of our pitch scorecard at no cost by signing up for the resources in our Basic Tier. Founders can also get live pitch feedback with this scorecard by signing up for our group coaching sessions, which are typically scheduled about two times per month.
Don't settle for verbal feedback alone. Most pitch judges have good relevant experience -- their feedback can really help the founder improve their storytelling. Step up from simple, static PDF forms that capture only a fraction of the feedback possible. Take advantage of the Fundable Startups pitch scorecard -- as well as the expertise captured in our free resources and premium founder training classes -- to build a very healthy startup company.