Pitching Tips by Amazee's Dania Gerhardt
Pitching your company to investors is a nerve-wrecking experience. It is a chance to put your start-up in the light it needs and to get the necessary financial incentives or expert feedback you require.
Dania Gerhardt, of online social collaboration forum Amazee, knows this very well, having participated in start- up events such as Techcrunch in London and Pitchcamp and Startup Ignite in Berlin.
TheNextWomen asked Dania for about her experiences of pitching the company she co-founded and what others can learn from it.
How much money have you already obtained through external funding?
1 million Swiss francs
Who funded your company?
How did you come in contact with your investors?
Through recommendations of people hearing about our concept/product and
How much do you still need?
We are very open regarding the next financing round but aim at an additional
total 3 million Swiss francs of external funding.
What do investors seek in a pitch?
That varies a lot. In our case I assume: innovative new business that can
make a difference to a big enough group of potential users; passionate
team/presenter; clear message; existing revenue model
Why are there so few women in the competitions?
Because there are few women in the business. I don't think that there is a
smaller percentage of women in the competition than generally in the
management of web startups. There are really not many female web startup
founders I know about in Europe. Now I started reading TheNextWoman and find
more of them.
I also noted that there are woman working at startups, but they are often
doing PR or marketing & sales, and the pitches should ideally be done by a
founder or someone in the core management team. That's why I guess there
aren't that many women presenting.
Is there a difference between men and women pitching?
I see good and bad presenters among men and women, but I do believe that the
women automatically get more attention. If the audience hears a woman
speaking they'll give the female speaker attention, just to find out what
she has to say, because a woman on stage is rather rare. Maybe there is a
small difference: I generally believe that woman have a higher sense of duty
and therefore among the female presenters you will find a higher percentage
well-prepared than among the male presenters.
How do you prepare for a pitch?
I try and prepare well: who is my audience, in which aspect of our business
are they interested and what is the core message I want them to take home?
So first I prepare the slides and then I think of the core message of each
slide. If it is a short pitch (e.g. 5 minutes until the "gong") then I
practice my pitch for myself or even in front of a colleagues. I'm getting
more and more experienced which significantly reduces my preparation time.
What is the best advice that you can give a start- up about a pitch?
By passionate about what you do and try to transfer that energy to the
Why are pitch competitions useful?
For us the pitch competitions are actually quite helpful: we already had a
few interested potential investors and journalists approaching us after such
pitches. People blog about the startups and therewith help us spread the
word about Amazee. So it somehow changes the selection process a bit: people
interested in our startup and product start approaching us and it's not only
us hunting for potential partners
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