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Five Things Only Dickheads Say in a Pitch

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Lean Hackman

I’ve seen plenty of pitches in the last few years. About as many as I have had drunken blackout nights in the same period. Wait, there’s a connection I’ve just realised. I tend to hit the late night bars after being put through the pain of watching these pitches. The pain of knowing that those hopeful entrepreneurs are so full of shit.

The smell of desperation is so great, I have to wash it out of my throat with hard liquor. Next time I see a doctor, I’ll blame my alcohol abuse on the startup community.

Anyway, rather than sit through yet another painful pitch, wondering if I can view more stupid cat videos on my phone whilst pretending to be taking notes, I’ve collated five things that you should never say in an investor pitch. Unless you want to get a punch in the face. It may happen, believe me.

  1. Don’t say “I don’t really need the money”.

    Yeah, you don’t need the money, sure thing. Why are you pitching to potential investors then? You and your fancy $59 Target suit that has never been dry-cleaned is all I need to see to prove you aren’t very close to being the next Warren Buffet. Face it, you need the money. If you can’t get past your own ego, then it’ll be tough for any investor or partner to, either.

  2. Never say “We’ll go viral”. Like, never say that.

    What the hell does that mean? You’ll be a venereal disease? You already have a burning rash? There are about five trillion advertising agencies, growth hackers and wannabe Zuckerberg’s slaving right now on making something go viral.
    It’s hard to predict, and certainly not something you just say will happen. The only thing viral I’ll get listening to your pitch is some stress rash from your bullshit.

  3. Don’t tell me your idea is “worth at least $750k” when all you have is a dodgy landing page and half-baked idea.

    Your idea is worth what an investor will value it at. It’s not worth how much money we’ll pay to stop listening to your exaggerated self worth. An idea is just that; an idea. I can buy a domain name for less than a drink.
    You better have great proof of worth before you spout something just as high (or move to Silicon Valley; they were throwing millions at stupid ideas until the 2016 reality curse struck).

  4. Don’t introduce your startup with “The Uber of…”

    Let us pretend for a moment that I think Uber is a hyped-up taxi app on an iPhone. Wait, that’s not far from the truth.
    I believe when you say “The Uber of”, you actually mean you believe that with the right execution, it could be changing an industry, shaking up competitors. Say that instead of brand dropping a startup I wished I’d invested in so I wouldn’t be here eating cheap canapés and listening to people in cheap suits flog their bad ideas.

  5. Don’t say ‘boot strapped’ if you are raking in $250k a year from your parents trust.

    That ain’t bootstrapped, that’s a great position to be in. Boot strapped isn’t some fairy tale “Look at me, I wore the same suit twice to a black tie event, how pedestrian am I?” situation.
    It’s what plenty of people are actually doing out there; pouring sweat, tears and sometimes a little blood (broken fingernail on the keyboard anyone?) into their grand idea – not just spending their swanky large pocket money and cutting down to half a kilo of cocaine a month “woe is me” life.

There you have it. Five things you’d better not say in an investor pitch for being fearful of mockery, or worse; appearing in a future rant by me. And there will be future rants by me.



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Picture of Lean Hackman

Lean Hackman

Lean Hackman is a pseudonym for a West Australian startup person who likes anonymity. When Lean isn't ranting here, you can find him near pizza, beer, startups and antisocial behaviour, often all at the same time.

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