This week, Peter talked to Ben Peleg, a Pitch Coach from Pitch That Startup, who helps tech founders secure seed funding through impactful narratives and stunning pitch decks. You won’t want to miss the four essentials Ben shares on how to craft the ultimate investor pitch!
Expect to hear:
- The mistakes most SaaS Founders make when pitching
- Why many investors leave pitches confused
- What to do before creating a pitch deck
Check out all our SaaS Founder Interviews here on our YouTube channel.
Peter Loving: Okay, so I’m here live with Ben Peleg. We’re going to be talking about how to pitch the right way to gain B2B SaaS funding. Great to chat with you Ben. Thanks for your time. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
Benjamin Peleg: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks Peter, really happy to be here. So I’m Ben, from London from the UK and I am a Pitch Coach. So I work directly with startup Founders to really help prepare them to be able to go out there and pitch to investors. That’s both from the perspective of building a deck that really resonates with investors as well as being able to pitch this live and present when you’re speaking to investors.
Peter Loving: Great and what kind of rounds and what kind of businesses are you helping? Are you focusing on B2B SaaS?
Benjamin Peleg: Yeah, I mean, I would say Tech in general but the vast majority of my clients would be SaaS focused and that is my personal background as well. I come from a B2B SaaS background. So yes, that is my ideal. And I can work in a variety of different rounds, but I would say my specialty is very much in the pre-seed and Seed round fundraising.
Peter Loving: Okay, so we’re looking at the region of what one to five million dollars kind of?
Benjamin Peleg: Yeah, something like that. I mean sometimes in the pre-seed, maybe a little bit less than that. But yeah, I would say, sort of, ideal seed round one to five million.
How To Craft A Great Story
Peter Loving: Okay, brilliant stuff. All right. So you’ve put together four key points that can really help people put together a pitch that’s going to secure funding and make more of an impact. So I’d love to talk through some of those with you. The first thing that you highlighted was the importance of crafting a story. Do you want to tell us a bit about what you mean by how to craft a good story in a pitch?
Benjamin Peleg: Yeah, absolutely. I think for me the first thing to talk about when it comes to that is that I would say sort of 90% of people when they start to think about getting to prepare a pitch and need to put together a pitch deck the first thing they do is open PowerPoint or Canva or however they want to do it and they start just putting screenshots of an app and bullet points down on a PowerPoint slide, right? But really the slides and the deck really is more of a visual aid to your story.
So in order to really do this well and to do this, right what we want to do is we want to start by crafting that story. So we need to both look at…
When I say story. It’s not necessarily. Yes. There is the origin story and we want to focus on that and make that really compelling, but also just the overall story of your business, right/ That’s really gonna give investors the information that they need in a really compelling way. If we are able to craft that story first and for a live almost preparing a script then we build the slides to support that script or that story. Rather than the other way around. so hopefully that gives a basic understanding of what I mean by that.
Common Investor Pitch Mistakes
Peter Loving: That’s great. So do you find the founders tend to jump into preparing their slides and designing slides, but you’re asking to take a step back, write their story, get that resolved first and then come back to putting into this pitch deck?
Benjamin Peleg: Exactly, exactly because really you’re as I say that the deck needs to be led by the story not the other way around. We know it’s not just about preparing a bunch of slides and sending them out to people, it’s about those slides. First of all, need to be coherent. They need to register.
So for example an example of what can happen. If you don’t do this. I have a lot of investors telling me that everyone knows you need a problem slide in a solution slide, right? But very often the two don’t necessarily marry up in the way that they should. So you’ve got a solution but investors are going. I’m not quite sure how that solution actually relates to this problem? And things like that. And so you solve that issue, if you create that story first, and it’s not just individual slides that you’re sort of putting together.
Peter Loving: Yeah, That sounds really good. Okay, so that brings us to the next point which is to pitch the opportunity and not the product. So what’s the best way Founders can go about doing that?
Benjamin Peleg: Yeah, so I think one of the biggest problems that I see… I get sent lots of pitch decks and I hear similar things from my investor contacts as well, there’s a little bit too much focus from Founders on the product and I understand why that is, right? That’s what you’re doing day to day. That’s what you’re focused on, that’s what you’re building.
But when we’re looking to pitch investors, we need to take a little bit of a more holistic view on this right? it’s not just about going in there and saying I’m building this product and it does this and this and these are all the great features that I’ve been thinking about and building.
Instead, it’s about how do we present this as a really strong opportunity in the market? and that goes beyond just the market size slide, right? Of course, that is a very important piece to this. But the whole thing needs to be, we’re coming in there to pitch this amazing almost can’t opportunity, right?
Benjamin Peleg: That’s what’s going to be compelling and that’s what’s going to gather people on board. And this is both from the perspective of getting people excited about it emotionally, as well as backing that up with really justifiable numbers and facts and figures.
We need to make sure we have both but the point is it’s not just about going in there and saying we have this amazing product that does this, this and this is the tech behind it, right? When I’m working with Founders, the amount of time that we spend on actually presenting the products is almost a small part of the pitch. Yes. We need to present the product. But if your pitch is 50% just you explaining what the product is and all the features you’re missing a huge amount.
Peter Loving: Yeah, it becomes more like a demo rather than actually pitching a business investment opportunity.
Benjamin Peleg: Exactly
What Investors Often Say About Pitches
Peter Loving: Okay, so our third point is about simplicity making your pitch super clear and simple. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Benjamin Peleg: Yeah, absolutely. This is one of the main things… So when I’ve interviewed my investor contacts; what are the big problems that you see? One of the main things that I get told is that the investor leaves the pitch without really understanding what it is that… What this opportunity is, what the product is, what the problem is.
Benjamin Peleg: Maybe they get a basic idea. Maybe the founder has explained it in a bit too much technical detail or it’s just not clear and it just comes sometimes from the fact that as a Founder your head is in the weeds and it can be a little bit hard sometimes to take a step back and see does everybody else who maybe isn’t as much of an expert in this industry as me does everybody else actually understand this, and resonate with this, and be able to relate to this?
I mean, it sounds cliche but really the main thing is here. We want to make it simple enough for a 10 year old to understand it. Especially if we’re talking about a niche industry. Ideally, if you are the founder, you need to be the expert in that niche industry. That doesn’t mean everyone else has as much knowledge as you in that industry. So just making sure that it’s super abundantly clear and simple.
How To Tailor Your Pitch
Peter Loving: Okay, that’s a really good point and then finally it’s about tailoring your pitch to the investor. So how can Founders tailor it specifically to each investor that they’re pitching to?
Benjamin Peleg: Yeah, so I think this is a really important point. Far too many times you see people… They create one deck and then just fire it out to every single investor. Maybe sometimes that can work. But generally you’re going to have a much higher chance of success if you really do your homework and research the investors that you’re sending these to and that you’re speaking to
Benjamin Peleg: An example could be that a specific investor is very interested in products that are focused on gen Z, for example, or Millennials. That’s just one example, right? How can you position your products in that way? How can you show this is actually something that’s based on your investment approach. You’re interested in how this relates to gen z and how this is gonna benefit the lives of gen Z. And what problems it sold for Gen Z. It doesn’t mean you have to change the entire pitch, right, but you can start modifying and adjusting things based on that.
Sometimes this does take quite a bit of effort to really research and figure this out for each investor. But you can get a great understanding of that just by looking at the posts people are doing on LinkedIn, of course if they have websites. Nowadays, it’s rare that you find someone who doesn’t have some kind of information about them online.
Benjamin Peleg: If you put the time and effort into really researching the investors should be able to get some key nuggets of information that you can use to tailor your deck and your pitch.
Peter Loving: Okay, wonderful event. Thanks for sharing those four points with us. I think that can really make a big impact for Founders who are looking for funding at the moment particularly with their pre seed or seed round. Can you tell us a bit about how you help Founders? What can I expect from working with you?
How Ben Helps Founders Pitch Better
Benjamin Peleg: Yeah, absolutely. So I take a very sort of one-to-one approach with this. For me, a big part of it is, of course, guiding Founders through the process of preparing a pitch. Often people I’m working with are perhaps going at this for the first time, not used to pitching, or not used to fundraising and so there is an element of guiding them through that process. But a big part of it as well is also just having somebody knowledgeable to be able to say: This is gonna make sense. This is too complicated, you’re being way too specific and niche to this and helping them to really simplify that message.
In a nutshell, I’d say there are three, sort of, main things that I focus on when I’m working on a one-to-one basis with Founders. The first is, how do we really craft that story in a compelling way? What I like to call this sort of the ‘Pitch Perfect’ narrative. That lends both to the deck and to the actual live pitch.
Benjamin Peleg: Then the second piece would be making sure we have really justifiable numbers. Okay, so that we’re doing the market opportunity the right way. Financial projections, valuations, key statistics that highlight the significance of the problem that we’re solving. So we’d go into detail working collaboratively to be able to put those things together. Then of course, the actual design of the deck, when we start putting these things in and making sure that it looks professional and comes across. So those are sort of the three pillars of what I work with Founders on and it’s very much a collaborative approach.
Benjamin Peleg: There are so many agencies out there that will build a pitch deck for someone and for me, especially if you’re coming at this for the first time that is not a good approach because then you don’t understand what it is that you’re doing. You don’t understand how to defend what you’re doing when it comes to speaking to people, answering difficult questions. So that process of going through it of getting your head into the game here and understanding the world you’re in is massively important. So I very much recommend…. The last thing you want to do is just outsource the building of it to someone else right you…
Peter Loving: All right.
Benjamin Peleg: If you do need help with this then you want to do it yourself, but be guided and how to do it rather than just have someone build you a deck.
How To Work With Ben
Peter Loving: That sounds great, Ben, how can people work with you? Where should they go to sign up?
Benjamin Peleg: Yeah, absolutely. So I think the easiest is probably my LinkedIn profile. So we’ll stick a link below to that. Also, feel free to check out my website, which is pitchthatstartup.com. And so yeah, those would probably be there the best two ways. I mean we are on Facebook as well. So I do have a Facebook page. So feel free to hit me up on that. We can stick the link to that below as well as those if you just send me a quick message and I’m generally happy to jump on a quick kind of consultation call with anyone who’s interested.
Peter Loving: Okay, Okay. Hey Ben, great to speak with you today. Thanks so much for sharing all your insight.
Benjamin Peleg: Yeah, thanks for being here. And thanks for the group I’ve really enjoyed it over the last year or so.
Peter Loving: Glad to hear. Cheers, Ben.
Benjamin Peleg: Thanks a lot
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