12 sentences to avoid when pitching a VC

As a startup founder, you work very hard to win an opportunity to pitch a VC. You prepare a deck, rehearse your pitch, and go over all possible Q&As.

You also know that institutional investors are highly selective. In a typical year, they get thousands of requests, take hundreds of pitch meetings and will invest in very few. They are constantly looking for reasons to say no to you, so don’t lend them a hand.

We at Artiman decided to share some of our “Do Not Say” list:  these are the sentences that cause us to raise an eyebrow.

Entrepreneurs, take notes.

  1. “We’ll need you to sign an NDA before we start pitching.”
  2. “All 5 of us co-founders are the CEOs.”
  3. “These are conservative numbers.”
  4. “This is what my pre-money is.” (Unless backed by a credible third party offer)
  5. “Which of the three ideas I just covered do you like the most?”
  6. “I have no competition.”
  7. “This is a hot space:  Andreesen, Sequoia and Accel have all funded competitors of ours.”
  8. “I built a world class board of 5 directors right after I raised our seed financing.”
  9. “Our exit strategy is to get acquired by Google or Apple. It’s a no brainer for them.”
  10. “Let me start off by telling you a bit about myself…” (And go on)
  11. “Here is how you should think about valuing our company…” (And show Facebook and Google as comps)
  12. “Do you know [insert name 1]?”  Do you know [insert name 2]? (You don’t know when you will end up putting your foot in your mouth by doing that.)

Do you have other sentences that we should add to the Do Not Say list? We’d love to hear them!


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