Entrepreneur and VC Steve Case shares the 4 things you should emphasize in any virtual pitch to win over your audience

  • Since 2014, Steve Case has seen thousands of pitches as he took his Washington, DC-based venture capital firm Revolution across the country to meet entrepreneurs outside of Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston. 
  • This year, his startup competition is going virtual and Case, the cofounder of AOL, says there are four things that really make a pitch stand out even if founders are contending with a virtual meeting.
  • Effective virtual presentations and pitches are an essential part of the digital toolkit for small business leaders and entreprenuers —not just during the pandemic. 
  • Given the difficulties many companies face now, Case says you should lean into any hardship you've faced, as resilience is an attractive quality.
  • Here are Case's five tips for pitching virtually, including showcasing your team and clearly identifying your focus.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Steve Case has seen thousands of presentations. Since 2014, he's taken his Washington, DC-based venture capital firm Revolution across the country to meet entrepreneurs outside of Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston.

This year, his startup competition is going virtual and only looking at Black-founded companies. Revolution has partnered with the ecosystem-building platform Opportunity Hub and VC firm 100 Black Angels and Allies to offer winners $2 million. 

Case, the cofounder of AOL, knows what makes a great pitch stand out even if founders are limited to communicating virtually. For starters, it's actually an asset to highlight any hardship you've faced, as resilience is an attractive quality, said Case. Additionally, founders should highlight why now is the time to invest in their company. 

"It starts with having a great idea, building a great team, solving a big problem, or seizing a big opportunity," Case told Business Insider. When you can't be in the same room as your audience, it's important to over-emphasize your most important messages.

Here are Case's tips for pitching virtually, including showcasing your team and identifying your company's focus. 

Show your resilience

Entrepreneurs across the world have dealt with the consequences of the pandemic, such as layoffs or temporary closures. Case strongly advises founders to talk about the struggles they've overcome as a way of touting their perseverance and resilience. 

Your audience wants to know if you're someone they can bet on in the future, said Russ Wilcox, a partner at the Boston-based venture capital firm Pillar VC. To do that, founders should introduce themselves with a short bio that explains why they're equipped to lead a successful company. 

Clearly define your focus 

Start your presentation by emphasizing why your startup's focus is important, Case said. He called this part of the meeting critical. 

This includes addressing what opportunities are available, how businesses can have a significant impact on people's lives if they're successful, and whether they can disrupt a big industry, he added. "Is it a battle worth fighting or a mountain worth climbing?" Case said. It's your job, as the presenter, to convince the audience that the answer is yes.

Tell them why they should care now 

Every presentation should emphasize why now is the moment to care about your company, Case said. This includes any recent news or upcoming tipping points for the industry, he added. 

Christina Carbonell, the cofounder of children's clothing brand Primary, echoed Case's advice. "It can be very helpful in persuading an investor not only that you have a good idea, but why now is the right time to pursue it and why it hasn't been done before," she previously told Business Insider.

Highlight a strong team

Running a business is a team sport and founders must have a capable team alongside them to succeed, Case said. Partners, investors, and customers alike want to see how founders are planning to grow and entrepreneurs would be wise to highlight the collaborators or allies that will help them achieve these goals.

When Andrew Parker pitched his eldercare startup Papa for investment, he included a slide about his C-suite and where they previously worked. Parker wanted to show relevant industry experience or some of the noteworthy companies where they previously worked, he said. The goal was to show he was supported by a qualified and robust team. 

"Despite being in a more remote environment, make sure the key members of your team stick with you," Case said. "Even though things might be getting a little bit more difficult."

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