Ben Jones, AberInnovation, shares tips on pitching:

As your startup develops there will come a time when you need an injection of capital to help you scale the business. This will probably mean pitching to a panel of investors.

Let’s be realistic. Investors and business angels hear many pitches. A good rule of thumb to bear in mind is that only 1 in 10 pitches are deemed investable propositions.

Investors rarely beat around the bush and will soon tell you if they’re not interested. That said, promising ideas are funded all the time, and the accelerator and incubator models that culminate in pitches for investment are becoming increasingly ubiquitous.

Here are some tips for pitching and increasing your chances of successfully gaining the investment needed.

Get to the point

Presenters sometimes think that a longer pitch makes them sound more knowledgeable and credible. On the contrary, the best pitches get straight to the point and don’t waste time meandering about.

You’ll need to hit all the key points of course, but the extra stuff is often best shared during the Q&A. Investors like being a part of proceedings and love to talk, so give them that opportunity.  Having a conversation with potential investors rather than delivering a one-way pitch will help build rapport quickly.

Practice is essential

You really do need to commit to rehearsing and fine-tuning your pitch. We’ve seen many BioAccelerate participants come on leaps and bounds over the course of an accelerator programme only to come unstuck at the final pitch day because they haven’t practiced enough. It’s a shame to make all those great strides and then not stick the landing because of something so avoidable.

There are no ways around it: you’ll need to deliver the pitch a few times before the real thing takes place in front of investors. Good accelerator and incubator programmes should allow times for rehearsals with your cohort peers to get you used to presenting to an audience. If not, make sure you practice on your own or with friends.

Tell a story

While your facts, figures and forecasts are important, try to avoid delivering a forensic, dispassionate pitch lacking emotion or personality.

To really engage your audience, you need to tell a compelling story. This will make your pitch memorable and in addition, a story that conveys your background, your inspiration, your expertise and your passion will also sell you. Remember, investors are investing in you or your team as much as your business idea, so any rapport you can build will stand you in good stead.

Know all the relevant detail

While potential investors will know a lot about the business world in general, it’s highly likely that they won’t know much about the specific sector that you’re seeking to disrupt. They will want and expect you to know your industry inside out.

This will include having information on the market size, market value, competitors in the same space and prospective customers to hand. In short, you need to come across as the expert in the room to inspire their confidence in you and your product or service. 

Focus on the ‘exit’

A common mistake is to neglect offering a compelling and attractive exit to investors. Having worked on something for so long and become so emotionally invested, it’s easy to forget that investors won’t have the same attachment to your new product or service. They’ll want to know how you plan to monetise your product, and, deliver a return on their investment. Startups can sometimes get so seduced by their own dazzling new product that they cannot possibly conceive of there ever being an ‘exit’, but failure to show due consideration here is a mistake.

It’s always worth bearing in mind therefore that while you may have developed the product for a variety of reasons, an investor’s primary concern will be maximising his or her returns over an acceptable timeframe.


Pitching for investment can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it’s something that represents an important phase in the lifecycle of any startup. Knowing how to do it well can set your idea apart. In the process this will greatly increase your chances of securing the investment that could dramatically and positively impact your business.


About the author:

Ben Jones is from AberInnovation. Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AberInnovation) provides world-leading facilities and expertise within the biotechnology, agri-tech, and food and drink sectors. Set in stunning scenery between the Cambrian Mountains and the Irish Sea, the £40.5m Campus offers an ideal environment for business and academic collaboration to flourish