Mad Libs Pitch for Startup Companies (Updated)
This is taken from Adeo Ressi’s Madlibs Pitch at Founder Institute (www.fi.co). I’ve added a couple of items in the summary, the first is – how do you make money? Something important to all investors. The second is where do you need help?
What question do you want investors to ask after you’re done with your pitch?
- How can they write a check to invest in your company?
- “Wait, what do you do again?”
The continuum can be that extreme! A clear pitch and summary will start your conversation with investors. A single meeting is seldom going to generate a one-time check (though I have seen it happen). A bad pitch or summary nearly guarantees no second meeting or investment check.
Here’s what I would recommend – to use a Mad Libs version that we use in 6 Month Startup – Ideation to Revenue. This is your standard intro, you could use it in an elevator if you had to…
Hi, I’m <your name here>, and my company is <insert Company Name here> the problem I’m solving is <insert problem here>. Our product <insert product info here> is designed for our target customer of <insert target customer here>. We make money by <insert method here> and our team is the right team because <insert why you’re awesome here>. I need help with <insert help needed here>.
Let me break down the components here…
- You – in the rush/passion/enthusiasm to pitch people forget
- Company Name – say it slowly, especially if it’s a domain that is not easy to spell.
- The problem to solve – is it really a problem?
- Do you have a product or service – or a concept?
- Target customer – do you know who they are?
- How to make money – do you have a hypothesis or early traction
- Teams matter, if you’re a solo founder you’re not likely to get funded. If you’re going to brag, make it about the team.
- Where do you need help? We know you have an agenda for the meeting, it’s best to get the agenda out there early and be clear about how they can help
What’s intentionally not in the pitch:
- Your Vision – or the Billion dollar idea. You have to get from launch (where you are now) to scale (when you can fulfill your vision).
- Your Why – this is a complex idea that you need to know, but your audience doesn’t need to know yet. If they are interested in your problem/solution/customer we’ll get a chance to tell
- Your History or Founder’s Origin Story – similar to your why above, we don’t need your origin story in the elevator pitch. There will be time later – or they will ask.
- What happened today. I know, this doesn’t happen to you, but founders get excited about the last prospect call or code release.
Thatdoesn’t help with your pitch, avoid recency bias!
This structure will get you into the conversation with the investor or potential partner. Then you will be in a dialog vs a monologue. They can ask you questions that will take you into their areas of interest. Answering their questions will get you closer to a check.