The Elevator Pitch: Describing Your Company in 4 Sentences or Less

In my last post – The Deck: Pitching VC’s and Looking Under Rocks, I talked about putting together a few meaningful slides that can frame a productive discussion about your business. Thinking more about the topic, I wanted to share some brief thoughts about a big part of that discussion — the elevator pitch. Yes, we all know what it is and understand the importance of illustrating our value proposition. This is not a new concept and has been widely covered, but nonetheless it is still very important.

Often times when I call a company, it starts with the elevator pitch, view from 30,000 feet, high level breakdown, or whatever you would like to call it (I prefer the aviation analogy). Either way, this is meant to put your company in the best light possible, in a succinct manor that should peak further interest in learning more. It is an art of not oversharing an unnecessary amount but also providing enough information so that you stoke the fire a bit. Here are a couple takeaways from conversations that I’ve had that have left me wanting to know more.

  • Four sentences max. After that the attention starts to wane, and to be honest I’ve probably stopped listening because I am still thinking about what you have just said. It is difficult to narrow down an entire businesses (especially one that is very interesting) in a small block, but it is definitely achievable. I suggest taking out the notepad and just writing it all down and then chisel away and refine as needed.
  • What pain point do you solve, for whom, and how do you accomplish it? In the simplest way possible, you provide “A” for “B” by doing “C”. Boom, now I know what I’m dealing with.
  • Next, differentiation. Maybe it is implicit in from A, B, and C but you still need to nail down how exactly you separate yourself from the pack. Whether it’s the technology, your team’s experience, or some other factor, I need to know what your secret sauce is.
  • Finally, the current state of the business and what the next steps of the companies evolution look like. Clearly, calls that involve myself surround raising expansion capital. So giving a sense of what you are looking for in terms of an investment; size, time frame, and type of investor you are looking for.
There is no doubt this something that takes time to craft and will continue to reshape itself as your business grows. But is very useful in setting the framework for a constructive conversation and it will facilitate meaningful questions so the important details can be explored.
Dan Lane
Dan Lane

Dan was an analyst at OpenView Venture Partners. Currently, Dan is an Investor at General Atlantic where he is focused on growth equity investments in the internet and technology sector.
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