11 Tips for Women Pitching Investors for the First Time


Question: What’s one thing female founders need to know before pitching their company to investors for the first time?




“Be clear about your company’s vision, mission and values – these are your non-negotiables.  If investors believe in the strategic direction you’ve set, they’ll want to see more.  I see too many women wait to pitch until the business plan is at 80 percent.  If you know the fundamentals of your company, the business plan can evolve.  Get out there, tell your story, get feedback and iterate.”

Laura Calandrella | CEO, Laura Calandrella, LLC


“Unfortunately, women are underrepresented in the startup space, particularly for businesses that require large amounts of startup capital.  Female founders must do their homework and know their product/service, their industry and their options inside and out.  Some people will assume that a young female isn’t qualified, but preparedness can prove this assumption wrong.”

Lisa Nicole Bell | Founder / CEO, Inspired Life Media Group


“Many women get nervous when pitching to investors because of the statistics that show how most funding goes to men.  However, women should realize that being female can actually work to their advantage, as many women-led startups have seen huge successes recently – like Gilt Groupe and Rent the Runway – and investors are eager to identify the next female entrepreneurial leaders and back them.”

Stephanie Kaplan | Co-Founder / CEO / Editor-in-Chief, Her Campus Media


“Pitching investors is not for the faint-hearted.  Get ready to be persuasive, tough and persistent. If you hear ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ from an investor, press to understand why a particular response is given. Pushing to get into the feedback-loop will help you improve your business, gain mentors and garner respect while navigating the fundraising process.”

Doreen Bloch | CEO / Founder, Poshly Inc.


“Want to really prepare to pitch as a woman?  Go find that relative who has made it clear that you should be home, raising a family, with no other interests.  Tell him your idea, and keep calm through what comes next.  Some investors want to see how you’ll hold up under tough questions, but if you’ve already calmly faced someone who doesn’t believe women need college degrees, there’s nothing worse.”

Thursday Bram | Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting


“If you don’t believe in yourself, why should I?  Be confident and assertive.  If you don’t entirely believe in what you’re pitching, no one else will.  You have a great idea – don’t be shy to tell people why it’s a great investment.  Man or woman – it doesn’t matter who you are or who you’re pitching, a good idea will sell itself.”

Yael Cohen | Founder / President / CEO, Fuck Cancer


“It’s one thing to be excited and pumped about your idea or business, but if you don’t know the numbers then you’re in trouble.  Knowing your sales figures and projections is not only good for the pitch, but it’s also what helps you scale your business as you go.  A real businessperson knows their numbers backwards and forwards.”

Ashley Bodi | Co-Founder, Business Beware


“Take advantage of pitch coaching online.  This will help you prepare and provide you with the proper framework to pitch to investors for first time.  For example, pitch coach Nathan Gold offers free virtual round tables every Wednesday, providing live feedback on your short pitch.  You will also hear live feedback on other founders’ pitches.”

Nancy T. Nguyen | President / CEO, Sweet T Salon


“It’s okay to talk about your feelings – with your shrink!  Emotions are not for while you’re pitching your company to investors.  Stick to the facts.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the emotional aspect of building a successful company, but focus on factual customer validation, business models and execution plans instead.  Let your passion and zeal serve as an added bonus – not the main event.”

Erica Nicole | Founder / CEO, YFS Magazine: Young, Fabulous & Self Employed


“Find a way to make your pitch relatable to those you’re pitching.  I find that using examples and analogies can bring any story to life, especially if your product or target market is female-centric and you’re pitching to a male investor.  Compare user or consumer behavior to something they might recognize in the women in their lives to help them make the connection.”

Lauren Perkins | Founder / CEO, Perks Consulting


“Go watch episodes of Shark Tank on ABC online and consider how the women pitching their business interact with the ‘shark’ investors.  These experts are not any less direct or demanding of female founders.  Watch and learn from how the women react to the feedback and inquisition when they’re in the hot seat!”

Kelly Azevedo | Founder, She’s Got Systems

Reprinted by permission.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs.  In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

About the author: YEC

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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