A Startup Pitch is NOT a Sales Pitch!

Paul O'Brien
2 min readOct 24, 2022

More than half the pitches I heard this past week went like this, and I want to share this to stress how significantly you should understand how this is NOT a good pitch if you need investors:

1. This is our solution
2. This is how it works and all our great features
3. We’ve sold it a lot already
4. We need a little bit more money in order to add more features and some salespeople to sell it more

I spoke with half of the founders after this pitch, and I admit I’m amazed and how hard it is for some founders to understand why that isn’t a great startup pitch

It’s a great sales pitch. But we’re not buying.

Here’s the problem with it as a startup pitch. I call it the “pitch dilemma” and you can think of it as a catch-22

You’ve told me the product is live
You told me you can sell it and people are buying it

But you need more money so more will buy it??

See the catch? Selling it = more money
So… Do that.

Unless there is something you’re not telling us. Something wrong.

If you’re excited that you’re pulling $10k MRR already, and you just need $50k to build even more, to close more business, and pay yourselves… Um, no.

No, because why would you not just focus on selling, 2x as much, and have your $50k in a couple of months?? Instead, you want someone to take a risk on you and give you the money in hopes that you just do more of what you should be doing anyway.

Catch-22s

In my experience, Product, Engineer, or Sales oriented founders pitch this way. They want to explain that what they built is what people want. And don’t misunderstand me, that can be a great [Sales] pitch to people who want it. But investors don’t want it, they want to know you’re not going to fail and how an investment is going to 15x your company, not just keep you going.

And in that Sales Pitch, you actually torpedoed your effort to convince people you won’t fail, despite having sales, because we’re now wondering why you’re not just selling it more.

A startup pitch is NOT a sales pitch!

Pitch the opportunity, the market, the team, and why you can’t easily leap from what you are to what it should be, without investment. Refer to sales as some traction, not evidence, showing you how and why you need a lot more capital to go from where you are to 15x as substantial.

Originally published at https://mediatech.ventures.

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Paul O'Brien

CEO of MediaTech Ventures, CMO to #VC, #Startup Advisor. I get you funded. Father, marketer, author, #Austin. @seobrien & @AccelerateTexas. https://seobrien.com