Q: What is the format of a good pitch?

First, the entrepreneur should use my 10/20/30 Rule of Pitching: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font. Second, the entrepreneur should explain what her company does in the first 30 seconds of the meeting. Third, the entrepreneur should generally talk less and listen more. Most entrepreneurs over-sell.

Q: What mistakes could shoot down even the greatest pitch?

The two biggest mistakes are arrogance and dishonesty. Many venture capitalists are arrogant and dishonest people, so they hate dealing with entrepreneurs who show the same qualities.

Q: What is attractive to a venture capitalist?

What truly makes a company attractive today is that with their own money and sweat, they've created a prototype and have already proven that the “dogs will eat the food.” In more optimistic times, just a PowerPoint presentation was enough. Those times are gone. It’s one thing to show up with slides and promises to get capital to build something. It’s another to show up with real numbers to get capital to scale the business.


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