7 things women should know before pitching to VCs


Chris Walters

Chris Walters

Blog author Chris Walters

Chris Walters writes for Policygenius, a digital insurance brokerage trying to make sense of insurance for consumers. He previously wrote for The Consumerist.

Published July 1, 2015 | 2 min read

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This week, the popular VC and tech blog The Next Web published a terrific "how to pitch to investors" article by our co-founder and CEO Jennifer Fitzgerald. If you're a woman leading a startup, you'll find her 7 tips invaluable. If you're a man, you'll still want to take a look and make sure you're doing everything right.

We're pretty proud of the fact that we raised $5.3 million for our Series A round earlier this year, but that success was hard won considering the number of pitches our co-founders had to make to VCs who decided to pass.Pitching is never easy, and every startup has to work hard to convince an investor that not only is it a good idea to invest in the company, but you'd be a fool not to. But PolicyGenius faced a couple of additional challenges.The first was that the insurance industry remains a mystery to many. Investors are finally starting to pay attention to this space--they’ve invested $1.4 billion over the past 18 months--but there are still plenty who have yet to discover it, which can make for a difficult pitch session for both sides.The second is that, despite progress, it's still a rarity to see a woman lead a startup; fewer than 1 in 10 founders in 2014 were women. That makes it hard to find good pitching advice from women who have already gone through the process, which is exactly the reason why Jennifer wrote "7 tips for women pitching to VCs."Here's the dehydrated and paraphrased list, in case you’re about to step into a pitch meeting right now. But if you're still putting together your pitch deck, you owe it to yourself to click over to the full article for detailed explanations and examples.

  • 1. Get your performance metrics ready. Understand the metrics investors will want to see so you can plan ahead.

  • 2. Line up your coaching staff. Make sure you have some seasoned vets, and maybe a legal expert, on speed dial.

  • 3. Tell a great story. Everyone responds better to a well-crafted story than to a slide of statistics.

  • 4. Do some target practice. Pitch to low-stakes investors first, so you’ve got some practice under your belt by the time you meet with the ones you really want.

  • 5. Find a pattern of success. Odds are you won’t be pitching to a woman, so find other ways to connect to your audience.

  • 6. Get organized for due diligence. Get everything in order before you start pitching, because you won’t have time once you start.

  • 7. Be prepared for a slog. It’s a long and grueling process, so stay focused and remember what’s at stake.

Read the full article at The Next Web: "7 tips for women pitching to VCs"