A smooth pitch is indispensable for any start-up, whether you need to introduce yourself to investors, an accelerator or to potential customers. Nevertheless, we saw at Birdhouse that start-ups don’t always know how to get started. In this blog post, we share our tips and key hacks for a smooth pitch, including pitch deck template.

Build a tension curve

Pitching is a bit like performance art or storytelling. You bring, as it were, a story or a performance to a critical audience. So you can use principles from both disciplines in your pitch, for example by building in a tension curve. A tension curve looks like this:

  • Start with a bang that grabs attention. For example, with an impressive statistic or a compelling story. This introduces the problem you are solving with your start-up.
  • Then build your proposal with your arguments and answers to solve the problem.
  • Save the best for last: guide your audience to a convincing climax at the end of your pitch.

Provide good content

This may sound obvious, but the content of your pitch is the basis of what you bring. This can either convince or scare your audience. Some things to look out for:

  • Make sure your story checks out. You will need to build a relationship of trust with the people you are pitching for. If they see you put unrealistic information or even lies in your pitch, you’ll break that trust immediately.
  • Keep your story understandable and simple. The KISS principle always applies here: “Keep it simple, keep it stupid.”
    This can be done, for example, by using an analogy with another company. In this way you build on what people already know and you make your idea clearer more quickly.
  • Don’t make your audience think too much. So guide them through your pitch and don’t leave too much to them. That way you won’t lose their attention.
  • Ensure consistency. It is important that the different parts of your presentation are in tune with each other. Make sure that slides do not contradict each other!
  • Reread! Review your presentation several times to take out errors in content and spelling. Another good idea: have someone else proofread your presentation.

Use pitch decks

A pitch deck provides a handy overview of your presentation and business plan to your audience. Our tip is to make three:

  • One pitch deck as a teaser, to be forwarded in advance.
  • One you use during your presentation. It is visually strong and supports the speaker.
  • One to send afterwards or to hand out during your presentation. This pitch deck provides with more text and explanation, such as figures and graphs.

Presentation hacks

We’ve listed a few hacks for a successful pitch

  • Keep the design of your presentation as minimalistic as possible. Limit the amount of text and use images as much as possible.
  • Only move to the next slide after you have already given its message. A slide can distract your audience, especially if there is text on it. By delivering your message first and then showing the slide, your audience follows your story better.
  • That previous hack does mean you’ll have to practice a lot, just to know what’s coming. You can also “cheat” by having your screen already show the next slide, have cheat sheets or even use mirrors.

Note: this presentation is particularly suitable for a seed pitch aimed at investors, and possibly accelerators. For example, if you have to pitch for Birdhouse, this presentation is an excellent fit.