Understanding Investors’ Preferences: Insights from 10 Pitching Experts in June 2023

Let’s start by dispelling some myths. Firstly, the tech industry is not a meritocracy. Your chances of success are directly influenced by the size and strength of your network. Secondly, it is relatively easy to connect with reputable investors through email addresses and contact forms on most firms’ websites. The three main reasons why startups fail to get off the ground are not having a billion-dollar idea, pitching the wrong investor, or investor uncertainty about the ability to execute against the plan.

This month’s “How to Pitch Me” column featured ten participants who shared their investment thesis, tactical advice for non-technical founders, and the questions they expect entrepreneurs to ask during pitch meetings. The participants also discussed topics such as pre-revenue startup salaries, the pros and cons of pitch memos vs. full decks, and their current reads, watches, and listens.

If you are an early-stage investor who would like to participate in future columns, email guestcolumns@techcrunch.com with “How to pitch me” in the subject line. The participants this month were Vivek Ramaswami, Monique Woodard, Adam Struck, Jenny Lefcourt, Champ Suthipongchai, Latif Peracha, Rich Maloy, Harley Miller, Blair Garrou, and Kristin Wilson.

Vivek Ramaswami of Madrona invests from pre-seed to growth and is interested in investing in B2B software, cloud infrastructure, and AI/ML. He suggests that for nontechnical founders to be successful, they should leverage their strengths, including deep domain expertise, the ability to recruit top talent, and customer focus. On average, pre-revenue startup founders should consider a salary range of $130,000-$150,000 for cities in Tier 1. Founders should be asking investors about specific sectors and stages of investment, the track record of the firm, whether funds are reserved for follow-on rounds, and the talent, marketing, and business development help the firm and its network can provide. Vivek prefers to be contacted directly by the founder through email.

Monique Woodard of Cake Ventures is aggressively investing in pre-seed and seed stage companies in the US that fit into the Cake Ventures’ investment thesis of investing in companies with global ambitions that meet the needs of tomorrow’s internet users. Cake Ventures focuses on demographic change, including the aging population, increased spending power of women, and the shift to a majority-minority society. Monique is currently interested in companies that impact non-white collar work.

As for approaching Monique, she prefers introductions from people she knows but welcomes well-crafted and personalized cold emails.

The “How to Pitch Me” column offers valuable insight into what investors are looking for and how founders can better prepare their pitch to catch investors’ attention.

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