Pitching is 90% about confidence and 10% content

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After we closed our round of financing, a lot of people asked me how we did it. Out of all the questions we get asked, this is by far the most common.

If I had to summarize one word which helped us get the money, it would be confidence.

Don’t get me wrong, you have to have a great story, traction, product, team and market as well – but if you can’t convey this with confidence, no one calls you back.

Let’s do a role reversal. You have $500,000 in your bank account and you are only allowed to invest it into one startup. Two are presented to you. Company 1 has a story/product/team and traction that is 30% better than Company 2. Company 2 however presents much more confidently. More often, it is Company 2 that you would put your money into (I know I would).

Why is that?

Because confidence is a key indicator of tenacity.

Founders need to be tough son of a b*tches (ESPECIALLY first time founders). You are always venturing into unknown territory. There is rarely a clear road map. It requires stepping out of your comfort zone almost daily.

If you can display that you can take a beating and still come back – then I want to put my money into that person. People who lack confidence and take a beating have a harder time bouncing back quick enough.

As I look back at the very first pitches and compare it to the later ones – the content did change slightly, but the company was still the same two people running it, with one developer, with the same traction. As we got better at telling our story, we got more confident in telling it.

I want to thank our friends at MaRS who helped us with out pitch in the early stages. Sue McGill, Peter Evans, Nathan Monk, Robert Carter.

If you need some help on confidence – check out this reference