An October 2013 pitch night at theHive3
At Wasabi Ventures, we hear 126 pitches per week, 52 weeks per year — that is more than 30,000 pitches we have heard during the last five years. While I have not heard all of them personally, I have seen my share of founders telling their stories.
When people ask me what is the biggest thing I look for when I hear a pitch, the answer always comes down to the person giving the pitch.
Wasabi bets on early stage companies, and in that arena nothing matters more than the quality of the founders. How will these founders react to the way the market thinks of their product? What will they do when one of their key people quits? How will they look at the world when revenues are lagging by 75 percent?
These are the questions that go through my mind as I hear a founder pitch. I am trying to determine if I like this person and will want to work with him/her every day for the next three years.
This month, I heard a pitch from a gentleman who was currently active duty military and deployed in Afghanistan. In 20 years of being part of startup pitches, I had none where someone was pitching from an active war zone. While the idea of his startup was not something I think has a high level chance of success, the founder showed me his amazing amount of fortitude.
If he is able to take the time to make a VOIP call and tell me his story from a battle zone, I want to figure out a way to work with this man. His character trumps everything else.
While understanding a market, presenting the product solution and showing a market potential are all key to a successful pitch, these presented aspects are only a reflection of the person presenting.
How a founder presents himself/herself and handles questions goes a lot further in showing chances of success than having the best looking slides.
The next time you are trying to convince someone you have a great startup, make sure you highlight how great of a founder you are. You are the most important of any great pitch.-30-