#BehindthePitch: Advice From Women VCs


women vc's in new york

Don’t ‘pitch.’  Tell a story.

Mary Lemmer

For a quick pitch, make it simple and clear.  Tell me succinctly and directly what it is you’re doing and what problem that solves.  Try out your simple elevator pitch on friends in and outside of the startup scene and see if they understand what you’re talking about.  It’s okay to use analogies if they hold (‘this for that’) — anything that allows someone to quickly understand what you’re doing can help.  You must then be prepared to own that positioning (‘…right, so like an airbnb for cats, but we’re focused on…’).

– Ellie Wheeler, Greycroft

Be confident and be yourself.

Mary Lemmer

My words of wisdom for females seeking funding are to assume they will be pitching their ideas to men who might be unfamiliar with their concepts if their companies are targeted towards women.  For example, a male investor might not understand how many women will spend thousands of dollars a year on blow-dries.  Female co-founders, founders, etc. have to explain their case, potentially using comparisons the opposite sex can relate to!

– Caroline Scheinfeld, Zelkova Ventures

Be resilient.  Be ready to hear ‘no’ but don’t let that bring you down.

Mary Lemmer

Women need to have more swagger during fundraising time.  Male founders typically say, ‘Hurry up, there’s only $250K left of my $500K round!’  Women will say, ‘Crap, I’ve only raised $250K towards my goal.’  To use an over-the-top anecdote for a moment, if a pair of jeans doesn’t fit, remember that it’s because your waist is too small, not that your rear is too large.  Women need to focus on the success demonstrated by their in-progress achievements.  So be proud of the fact that you raised 250,000 FREAKING DOLLARS, and realize that investors are lucky to get in on your project since you’re limiting the amount you will raise.

– Christine Herron, Intel Capital

Be confident – you have been invited to pitch and your audience wants to hear you present.  Also, listen.  If they are asking questions, be flexible to respond.  Let them see your vision and get interested in it first – there’s time for details when you have subsequent meetings.

– Kathleen Utecht, Comcast Ventures

Reprinted by permission.

About the author: Women Innovate Mobile

Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) is the first startup accelerator focused exclusively on launching and accelerating the growth of women-founded companies in mobile technology. Through its network of mobile experts, mentors and investors, WIM provides women entrepreneurs with the tools, feedback and connections needed to launch and scale their mobile ventures.

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