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Written by Rob Darwin - September 12th, 2019



I sit on a number of pitch benches, and founded, and have discussed with other investors how we review pitches. So I hope that this will help you, let me know if you have any great ideas on improving this. Needless to say this is about being approximately right, rather than exactly wrong!

Areas that I will score:


1) Presenter Introduction

2) Product/Service Introduction
How clear and attractive the business is, is there a market gap 


3) The Team:
– Customer Side (understanding the value, sales, channel, purchasing)
– Creative Side (Make, purchase, operate, support)
– Corporate Side (Drive to Exit, Financial Control, HR, Strategy, Management, Board, Advisors)


4) How exciting the idea is

Is it interesting, or boring?

5) The Investment opportunity

The exit opportunity, the valuation of the shares, how it will be with the founders and co-investors

6) Any non-essential risks, and how to mitigate them, or if I should run...



0= Not scored
1= Not started or serious problems
2= Started, but not OK yet, problems that need to be addressed
3= Good enough, but not dramatically good, would want to keep an eye on things here
4= Seriously good, no concern
5= so good that I would mention this to friends

Tips for working the quality of the areas:

Presenter Introduction: You have 30 seconds to make that first impression. See 3musketeers of introduction. You can overlap your introduction as a person, and the business, but do not forget the objectives!

Product/Service Introduction: Explain it simply, preferably as your customer would explain it.


If you want to mention features, be really…really…really…errm…REALLY sure that they add to the presentation.


Don’t tell me that the product is great, give me the facts that let me conclude that the product is great.


The investment opportunity: What do you want, what’s the tax, what’s the history, what am I am getting, and what are your ideas/precedents on exit.


The Customer Team: Tell me about your customers, a bit about the market, make sure that you know the difference between the two! Convince me that you really understand the customers, not that you have created some convenient fantasy people who will buy your dream. Finally show experience and competence.

Creative Team: How will you create, operate, support etc, what you are supplying to your customers.

Corporate Team: How well will you run the business?

Teams in general: People do not need to be full time, use specialist companies. Do not take necessary risks. Show competence and experience.

How exciting the idea is: I like it if you are excited by the idea, but it must excite me! So it really helps to know what an investor is like.

How to get started?

Just get started:
– do your first round of elevator pitches you have to explain your idea quickly and simply
– get the right team together
– make a simple plan (I like things like Business Model Canvas don’t worry about pretty words yet)
– run it by an outsider, and maybe iterate
– Validate the market and the product, and maybe iterate (there’s rather a lot of that!)



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